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West Ham United sets the standard for virus sanitisation 13/04/2021

West Ham United’s success on the pitch, with the club enjoying one of its best ever seasons, is being bolstered by its premier approach to combatting and preventing the spread of Coronavirus, after joining forces with ICE Cleaning – the UK’s leading cleaning expert. 

THE PREMIER League club has been working in partnership with the commercial cleaning and decontamination specialist since January to raise the bar when it comes to mitigating the spread of viruses, including COVID-19. 

As part of this, ICE Cleaning has been appointed as West Ham’s official cleaning contractor, with the responsibility of consistently providing the safest and most hygienic environment for its players, employees and supporters.

Zac Hemming, founding director of ICE Cleaning, said: “Like any commercial business that has been able to open its doors throughout this pandemic, football clubs have had, and continue to have, a huge responsibility to ensure they are implementing the strictest health and safety measures to protect the wellbeing of all individuals. 

“Maintaining a safe environment is therefore absolutely paramount. For West Ham United, we’ve taken this to the highest level, with our daily commercial cleans supplemented every 14 days by a comprehensive decontamination service that uses innovative cleaning technology for maximum protection.”

Ben Illingworth, COVID-19 Officer at West Ham United, added: "In the wake of the pandemic, we wanted a robust solution with the wellbeing of our players and staff of paramount importance, so we were delighted to discover that ICE Cleaning offered an all-in-one cleaning service that utilised industry-leading technology. From the start, ICE Cleaning have gone above and beyond to protect our teams and their families, all whilst causing no disruption to our weekly schedule. We are doing everything we possibly can to prevent the spread of coronavirus, with ICE Cleaning supporting this goal in every way possible."

Commercial cleaning 

ICE Cleaning has developed a reputation in the commercial cleaning market for providing best-in-class service. The company’s decontamination system, ICE Shield, uses electrostatic technology to effectively destroy 99.9% of traces of coronavirus and other bacteria and viruses on surfaces within a working environment. This persistent solution, which can last for up to 28 days, guarantees long-lasting protection as part of a monthly cleaning regime, at no extra cost.

“The fact that West Ham United is implementing a complete decontamination deep clean every 14 days shows just how seriously the Club is taking its commitment to combatting coronavirus and preventing any other harmful bacteria from spreading within the training and wider facilities,” continued ICE Cleaning’s Zac Hemming. 

“This is giving the Club peace of mind that their changing rooms, restrooms, training facilities and meeting rooms are protected for 14 days. What’s more, as our solutions are non-toxic and non-abrasive, they do not cause any damage to physical surfaces or human health, which enables players to continue practising just 15 minutes after the cleaning services have taken place.”

ICE Cleaning provides a wealth of commercial, industrial and domestic cleaning services, including virus containment, mould remediation, coronavirus decontamination and sanitisation, graffiti removal, warehouse and factory cleaning, crime scene cleaning and car park cleaning.

Jack Sullivan, managing director of West Ham United Women, concluded: "We’ve developed a strong relationship with ICE Cleaning. Its dedication and consistent efforts have made it clear that we’re in very good hands, and I couldn’t feel happier with the level of service provided. I'm looking forward to another great season with ICE Cleaning as our official cleaning contractor and sponsor."

Founded in 2017, ICE Cleaning provides a complete range of cleaning services to the B2B and B2C markets. This includes virus decontamination and sanitisation, commercial cleaning, graffiti removal, car park cleaning and crime scene cleaning. 

ICE Cleaning has extensive knowledge and expertise in delivering high-quality, professional cleaning services. This commitment is reflected in its partnership with some of the nation’s highest profile names, including West Ham United, Nando’s, L’Occitane, Warner Brothers and Skanska. The company's sanitisation and maintenance plans are specifically designed to fully decontaminate whole environments and touchpoints to effectively eradicate 99.9% of bacteria and viruses. 

For more information visit icecleaning.co.uk or call 02039 932940.

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The future of cleaning & hygiene 13/04/2021

How facilities and cleaning service providers must collaborate to reopen

By communicating effectively facilities managers and cleaning service providers can meet reopening targets and protect the community from COVID-19.

Now more than ever, facilities managers and building service contractors must form close, mutually beneficial partnerships to support each other through these unprecedented circumstances

Today, cleaning and disinfecting professionals are working in a whole new environment. As commercial, institutional and publicly trafficked buildings reopen, and travel begins to return, following pandemic-related closures, a new age of cleaning requirements is set  to directly impact the roles, responsibilities and expectations of facilities managers and building service contractors (BSCs) alike.

In the next phase of the COVID-19 recovery, industry stakeholders will need to take the necessary steps and precautions to ensure that they consistently adhere to strict regulations and guidelines. But following protocols is only the first step. There will also be a serious requirement to address the legitimate concerns of employees, occupants, customers and contractors. With so much at stake, effective communication and collaboration between all parties becomes absolutely critical.

‘While cleaning and disinfecting services are essential for public health at this time, it is equally important to ease the level of potential confusion in the market,’ said Mike Attig, EMEA director at ISSA.
‘Now more than ever, facilities managers and building service contractors must form close, mutually beneficial partnerships to support each other through these unprecedented circumstances, while protecting their respective employees as well as the wider community.’
During the business stabilisation and recovery stages of a pandemic, adjustments must be made to ensure that responsible cleaning and disinfecting protocols can help protect the returning workers, customers and guests. As building service contractors prepare to help facilities reopen, customers and their stakeholders will be looking for guidance and reassurance on reducing the risk of contracting the virus in their buildings.

Roles, responsibilities and expectations

Reopened buildings are going to be under intense public scrutiny, and for good reason.

Employees, occupants and customers will expect organisations to have taken additional cleaning measures that provide increased protection. Facilities managers will  rely on the expertise and support of contract cleaning service providers – not only in terms of robust and visible cleaning activity, but in successfully communicating messages about the preventative actions being taken.

Each facility has its own specific needs. To effectively achieve COVID-19 cleaning compliance, occupant protection and reduced liability, cleaning service providers need to work with their facility management customers to:

  • Revisit the original standards and scope of work for the facility, then ask the customer to redefine their goals and desired outcomes
  • Ensure the right employees have been trained in specific infection prevention knowledge, virus deactivation, and personal protective equipment and measures
  • Make customers aware of why cleaning is important
  • Perform a risk assessment for the location – as part of the risk assessment, determine what levels of cleaning will be required for normal, heightened-awareness and infected-surface decontamination scenarios, as  well as the protocols, equipment and training for  each level
  • Determine which areas or zones require increased frequencies of cleaning and disinfecting to minimise the increased risk of cross-contamination
  • Identify which method and products are best suited for the levels of cleaning and ensure they are appropriate for the surfaces involved
  • Ensure the recommended chemical or technique is registered with the national authority for the use being suggested, and ensure cleaning workers are using the items in accordance with manufacturer recommendations. Misuse can create a liability risk
  • Communicate the implications these task requirements have on scope of work
  • Make the customer aware of the reality of any limitations (e.g., one-time application, re-contamination) and discuss the role the customer can play in limiting (re)contamination (eg: hand hygiene) and frequency of cleaning and disinfection
  • Discuss the plan of action in detail with  the customer
  • Provide a written COVID-19 cleaning and disinfection information sheet on specific services
  • Offer proof of appropriate training
  • Provide written guidance from a third- party cleaning industry authority, such  as ISSA or the Global Biorisk Advisory Council (GBAC), that references the proposed tasks.

According to Attig, tackling these steps together will ensure a more successful and protected reopening as well as strengthen the bond between service providers and facility decision makers.

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Navigating the ‘New Normal’ – Disinfection Solutions for OEM Manufacturers
David Webber, Director, Strategy & Marketing, Specialty Flow Control at Xylem Inc. 
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Over the past few months, commercial facilities have been doing everything they can to prevent the spread of Coronavirus. In adherence to shelter-in-place orders, end-use businesses have closed their doors and cleaning contractors have emerged as part of society’s frontline defence against the threat of the virus. Often operating with reduced capacity, these teams have ensured workplace environments are deep cleaned, and that every surface, handle and floor properly disinfected. 
While this presented its own challenges, the potential for contamination by members of the public was significantly limited due to stay home orders, meaning that initially, the frequency and scale of commercial deep cleaning was largely controlled. At the height of the outbreak, daily contract cleaning was reserved for more at-risk areas such as healthcare facilities and essential retailers, with cleaning crews operating within an already established framework of standards and government issued guidelines. 
However, as we enter this new stage of recovery and the foodservice and hospitality industries, together with non-essential retailers, office buildings and some industrial facilities begin to re-open to the public, the every-day practices of commercial cleaning contractors will come under increased pressure and scrutiny. 
Up until now, the commercial cleaning industry was largely fragmented, unregulated and unprepared to deal with surges in demand. The outbreak has forced fundamental changes in the way commercial facilities approach their cleaning processes, and contractors are now required to prove the quality and efficiency of their output while keeping up with increased demand. More stringent checks will be carried out to ensure that contractors are capable of doing the job, while contractors themselves will need to invest in their people and their processes in order to meet requirements. 
Disinfecting the ‘New Normal’ 
As the commercial cleaning industry looks to respond to the impact of Coronavirus with new disinfection solutions, they will need to update their existing equipment lines in order to meet new industry standards. In addition to this, cleaning companies will also have to work within constrained budgets, as cost saving measures resulting from the economic fallout of the pandemic are likely to be passed on to third-party contractors. Equipment upgrades, coupled with changes to existing processes and the need to retrain staff, mean that contract cleaners must now deliver greater outputs with fewer resources. 
Contract cleaning companies will now need to review their existing suppliers to ensure they have access to the most up-to-date equipment at an affordable price-point. In turn, suppliers will need to ensure they are providing equipment that can deliver disinfection solutions that meet rising industry standards while keeping their costs competitive. Extensive reconfiguration of existing production lines with components that are compatible with stronger chemical agents will be required in order to ensure that disinfection systems can adequately support a wider variety of applications. 
Throughout this process, Original Equipment Manufacturers (OEMs) will play a critical role in the sale and supply of commercial cleaning equipment. OEM solution providers represent the link between component manufacturers and the equipment suppliers that deliver the final product to the end-user. The global floor cleaning equipment market, alone, is set to reach $9.56 billion dollars by 2025. If OEMs, and their customers, are to adequately stake their claim, they will need to source components capable of supporting new disinfection standards from trusted manufacturers.
Selecting the Right Component for the Job
As commercial contractors navigate this new and emerging market, many OEM suppliers will likely be entering a territory they are largely unfamiliar with. Professional disinfecting involves the application of hospital-grade disinfectant that kills bacteria and inactivates viruses, and guidelines outline that to claim disinfection, there needs to be a 99.9% reduction of the infecting agent on all surfaces in less than ten minutes. This standard of disinfection will play a critical role when selecting the right components for the end-user system. 
Most commercial cleaners will now be required to spray stronger chemical agents with pumping systems that they have never used before. Many standard daily-use cleaning systems are incompatible with hospital-grade disinfection chemicals, and prolonged spraying of incompatible agents can often lead to system degradation – something commercial cleaners will need to avoid when navigating an increasingly competitive market. Through sourcing the right pump with the right components, commercial cleaners can optimize performance and avoid costly system failures.
OEMs will also need to determine what spray pattern the end-user requires, depending on the surface to be disinfected. Before disinfection became a basic requirement, cleaning contractors would have typically used weaker chemical solutions sprayed at a lower pressure and flow rates, and spraying techniques would have been limited to specific target areas. Now, virtually all surfaces in a commercial setting need to be sprayed with stronger chemical solutions, and cleaning systems will need to be optimized to deliver different pressure and flow rates to work efficiently across a variety of applications. 
Putting the Right Partner in Place 
At Xylem, we work with more than 1,000 OEMs globally, delivering customized pumps and pumping components for use in industries across the marine, industrial and foodservice markets. With more than 45 years of experience in the sale and supply of components for use in misting and foaming applications, we manufacture pumps in a wide range of industries including food security, dairy, healthcare and commercial car wash systems. Our broad range of expertise has allowed us to easily transfer our capabilities and allow our OEM customers to adequately supply solutions to contractors servicing the disinfection market.
For misting applications specifically, our range of Flojet motor driven diaphragm (MDD) pumps can accommodate pump pressures of up to 150 psi, allowing end-users to choose the correct flow rate to achieve desired spray patterns across a range of applications. Typically used in portable cleaning solutions, our MDD pumps can support misting applications in large commercial buildings, aiding the disinfection of floors, handrails and workstations – covering up to 5,000 square metres in just fifteen minutes.
Working with a leading industrial cleaning solutions provider, we recently supplied our MDD pumps for use in commercial misting machines specifically designed to disinfect Coronavirus. By identifying the exact application requirements, we were able to supply the right pump with a pressure capacity of 100 psi to prevent ponding of the disinfection solution during the spray application. Furthermore, by supplementing the pump with our accumulator tanks, we were able to provide a smooth consistent flow during application to ensure even distribution of the disinfectant mist. 
In addition to our Flojet MDD pumps, we also manufacture and supply market-leading Flojet Air Operated Diaphragm (AOD) pumps suitable for use in both portable and permanent foaming applications. Our AOD pumps are available in a number of diaphragm materials to handle a wide range of chemical compatibilities. We also offer an ATEX approved version of the AOD pumps, making them ideal for pumping strong cleaning solutions with low flash points. By operating with 40 percent less air consumption when compared to standard air-operated pumps, our AOD range also reduces energy consumption, which in turn reduces the overall operating costs for the end-user.  
As our AOD pumps are both compact and portable, they can be fitted into wall mounted or portable cleaning systems and the breadth of the diaphragm material range allows OEMs and cleaning contractors to easily select the appropriate pump for their dispensing needs. The robust design and chemical compatibility has also recently allowed the leading global chemical dispensing equipment provider, FOAM-iT, to use the same AOD pumps to handle disinfection spray application with our AOD. Now, FOAM-iT has the ability to continue to provide customers with their foaming disinfection solutions and offer spray disinfection solutions with the same AOD product from Flojet. 
Supporting New OEM Solutions
While the Coronavirus has placed increased demands on the commercial cleaning industry, by working closely with our OEMs we can provide the right solutions to equipment suppliers. As a one-stop shop, we have a broad range of pumps to suit any application, allowing OEMs to source quality components for the disinfection market without having to approach multiple suppliers. Furthermore, our track record of reliability means that end-users can achieve optimal performance in their cleaning systems while keeping operating costs as low as possible. 
Going forward, trust will be critical in the OEM-supplier relationship, particularly as the contract cleaning industry comes under increased pressure to prove the quality of their work. Through a relationship built on a high standard of quality, experience and trust, our OEMs can outline a very specific set of standards which need to be adhered to when manufacturing components. We then translate those requirements into an ideal manufactured product, using our filter of knowledge and experience to deliver the best result. 

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Infection fears leave businesses facing wave of customer boycotts

Two-thirds of Brits to boycott businesses with a poor reputation for hygiene and infection control
COVID-19 has raised hygiene expectations for 77% of the public
Four in five customers look to infection control accreditations for reassurance
 

As businesses prepare to reopen their doors following the latest national lockdown measures, new research reveals that many companies across the country are facing millions more in lost revenues due to customer fears around infection risk. 

According to the nationally-representative survey into 2,000 members of the public, almost two thirds (65.1%) of Brits will boycott restaurants, bars, pubs or hotels with a poor reputation for hygiene and infection control, indicating that this impact is likely to be felt most strongly in hospitality.

The findings also revealed that more than one in three (34%) people would both never use offending businesses again, and also tell as many people as possible to avoid these businesses too, through channels such as word-of-mouth and social media, further increasing reputational damage. The research was carried out by infection control specialist JLA, as part of its “Infection Insights” campaign to raise standards across the industry.

According to the research, winning customer trust will be key for businesses looking to retain and grow their customer base over the coming months, with 87.6% of Brits now deeming it important that a business has a good reputation for hygiene and infectioncontrol. Furthermore, 58.1% of these proclaim a positive standing for hygiene “extremely important”. This indicates that hygiene ratings – traditionally a significant indicator of quality for many businesses – have also become more important than ever before in the eyes of the public.

A further 33.6% of the public admitted that they are less likely to use a business with a poor reputation for infection control, with only 6.3% of the population stating that hygiene and infectioncontrol ratings are still not an issue for them. 

Perhaps unsurprisingly, it was revealed that the events of 2020 have prompted a nationwide change in attitudes towards hygiene and infection control overall, with 77% of the public holding greater concerns in this area than a year previously – attributing this change directly to COVID-19. Notably, four in five customers (80.5%) also report that tangible proof of businesses prioritising hygiene and customer safety, such as an industry accreditation mark denoting infectioncontrol excellence, would be reassuring.

Ben Gujral, CEO at JLA, commented: “The events of the past year have laid bare the potential consequences for companies that do not demonstrate the highest standards in infection control, as well as the growth opportunities for organisations that do invest what is needed now to reassure worried customers. 

“Expectations of the businesses customers will trust their money – and their health – with are virtually unrecognisable from even a year ago and, as our findings demonstrate, consumers will be quick to condemn any business that does not meet their heightened standards when it comes to infection control.

“At a time where businesses across a range of industries need the continued loyalty of their customers more than ever before, it is crucial that they use the coming weeks to action all possible infection control measures to put their minds at ease. Those that take the time to do this now will reap the benefits once doors are able to reopen properly, offering potentially millions in boosted revenues, as well as the loyalty of customers both old and new, for years to come.” 

For more information about JLA, the research findings and for products which can help with infection control, please visit: https://jla.com/knowledge/icir-2021

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With the official roadmap out of the third UK lockdown now in place, businesses are starting to look ahead as to how they can return their workplaces to their former operational capacity. SOCOTEC is committed to ensuring that clients’ facilities are safe, compliant and fully functional in the wake of the Coronavirus pandemic, having developed its ‘Business Ready’ recovery programme to cut through the noise and provide organisations with a series of support packages and the peace of mind that their staff can safely return to the workplace.

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Survey reveals concerns about airborne transmission of coronavirus are rising 14/04/2021

NEW RESEARCH reveals that concerns about catching coronavirus in the air have risen since the end of 2020.

According to the study released by Rentokil Initial more than one in four (26%) Brits are worried about airborne transmission, a 19% increase from when the same survey was conducted back in November 2020. Contact with other people, for example, when social distancing is breached, remains the most concerning route for transmission, cited by half the population. 

The poll of 2000 adults also found that the majority (52%) of Brits remain worried life will never go back to normal, the same percentage was recorded previously.

Last year the World Health Organization (WHO) updated its guidance to say that coronavirus could be transmitted via aerosols in the air, and this ‘air to person’ transmission route has been widely covered in the news and is clearly impacting public attitudes.

Two thirds (68%) of those surveyed said they believe businesses and employers should do more to ensure they provide clean air in the premises (up from 65% in November 2020), while 62% of respondents went so far to say that air purification systems should be mandatory in public buildings and education facilities (up from 59%). Nearly one third (30%) of workers said they won’t go back to work unless their employer assures them of the building’s indoor air quality.

Heading towards 12 April and the first proposed step in the relaxation of lockdown measures for the retail and hospitality sectors in England, concerns about socialising indoors appear to be heightened. The three activities that concern the public the most post lockdown are: using public transport (36%), socialising indoors (31%) and drinking indoors at bars or pubs (29%).

Jamie Woodhall, UK technical & innovation manager, Rentokil Initial said: “These survey results show that tackling air quality and preventing the airborne spread of Coronavirus clearly remains an important challenge, alongside the vaccine rollout.

“The scientific evidence continues to build  and it is very clear  how important good ventilation and air purification is within indoor spaces. When it comes to easing of lockdown measures, the expectation from the public is that businesses and employers need to do their bit in helping to ensure that they are providing clean air, so that the risk of catching an airborne virus  indoors is reduced."

For further information visit www.rentokil-initial.co.uk

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All aboard for The Hill Club Summer Thames Cruise 2021 14/04/2021

THE HILL Club, the exclusive cleaning industry networking event organisation, is inviting cleaning professionals to attend this year's Summer Thames Cruise in a Covid-secure way. The event takes place on Thursday 1 July 2021 from 11:45 to 16:15 (BST) at the Festival Pier, South Bank, London SE1 8XZ.

A highlight in the cleaning industry calendar, the Summer Thames Cruise is the blue riband event in The Hill Club’s list of networking events and provides an unparalleled opportunity to celebrate all things cleaning. The hugely popular and well-attended event brings together leading industry professionals from all sectors of cleaning, soft services and facilities management.

The event will strictly follow all Government pandemic guidelines in force on the day of sailing. In a statement, the Hill Club committee said: "Your safety is our primary concern at all times and appropriate hygiene and social distancing protocols will be in place throughout.

Renewing the Hill Club's partnership with the Worshipful Company of Environmental Cleaners, visitors will sail once again on the MV Erasmus, 2021 and see the re-continuation of the now well-established and coveted Cleaning Industry Awards, recognising colleagues at the sharp end of operational performance - Cleaning Heroes themselves! As with 2019 - in pre-Covid days - this year will feature categories aimed at recognising specialist activities, specific industry sectors and will feature a very special award!

Reception drinks & picnic-style lunch bags will be included.

  • Sponsorship packages - to be announced
  • After event party details - to be an announced.

Due to the possibility of restricted numbers there will be no group booking options this year. Ticket availability will be necessarily restricted until further notice.

Click here to book a ticket. 

For further information email thehillclub@outlook.com or visit www.thehillclub.co.uk

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Textile Services Association joins British Cleaning Council 24/03/2021

THE TEXTILE Services Association (TSA) has joined the British Cleaning Council (BCC) as an associate member.

 The TSA is the trade association for the textile care services industry, which contributes over £1.3billion in GVA and supports some 28,000 jobs in the UK economy.  
 
It has become the 22nd member of the BCC, in a move which benefits and strengthens both organisations.
 
BCC chairman, Paul Thrupp said: “I am delighted that the TSA has joined the BCC and I very warmly welcome them.  
 
“Working together with the TSA makes the BCC and the whole cleaning and hygiene sector that much stronger.
 
“It is important that the cleaning and hygiene sector pulls together to present a unified front if we are to make our collective voice heard as loudly as possible.
 
“Textile services is a significant sector of the economy. There are also considerable synergies with the cleaning and hygiene sector as represented by our members, particularly in the health and hospitality sectors.
 
“The TSA’s work lobbying the Government to move towards multi-use gowns for healthcare is something that dovetails well with the work of our members on the environmental agenda and their work on skills also supports our drive to create an accredited training and apprenticeship.
 
“We have many issues of mutual interest and I look forward to collaborating in the future."
 
The TSA’s membership represents commercial laundries in several sectors and textile rental businesses serving the hotel and hospitality, healthcare and workwear markets.
 
TSA CEO David Stevens said: “We are delighted to join the BCC and work collectively with so many like-minded organisations.  
 
"We have so many harmonised agenda points I think the collective power of the BCC can really help drive these topics to some of the key decision makers in the Government.
 
"I see real benefits for our membership and improved momentum on some of our key project areas such as training, linen recycling and energy efficiency incentives such as the climate change agreement.  
 
"As a relatively small trade association, it’s always difficult to get the space on the lobbying platform but working with the BCC will be a great way of sharing and supporting a single message for all members’ benefit.”
 
The BCC now has 22 members from across the cleaning and hygiene sector. Research it published last year shows that the sector is a UK top ten industry, employing 1.63 million people and contributing over £54bn to the economy. 

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Have your say on the future of cleaning & hygiene 26/03/2021

READERS OF Cleaning Matters are being encouraged to have their say with the return of the publication's popular Special Report series focusing on The Future of Cleaning & Hygiene.

Distributed exclusively to a select circulation of CEOs, managing directors and owners of businesses, The Future of Cleaning & Hygiene Special Report is surveying the readers of Cleaning Matters and provide a definitive statement on both the concerns of cleaning professionals as they face the future in an exciting, dynamic, and fast-changing industry; as well as providing insight on technology innovations and predictions for the future in a post pandemic world.
 
The Special Report will explore the biggest cleaning challenges and opportunities for the future. Issues including:

  • How will businesses across all sectors cope with more demands across its cleaning protocols as we navigate our way out of the current Coronavirus pandemic?
  • What new technology and product innovations will they need to adequately meet new standards?
  • What are the key challenges to successfully bringing staff back to work premises?
  • What do good cleaning practices do businesses need to promote?
  • How important is ensuring adequate training and education programmes are offered to staff?
  • How often do assessments need to be performed?

There is no doubt that coronavirus will have a marked impact on cleaning in the coming decade and have a knock-on effect on the role of workers in the cleaning industry, which is presently labour intensive. It raises questions over staff availability, pay, contracts and working hours. Equally how much of an impact will demographic changes have on labour, and looking at the UK specifically, it is important to calculate how Brexit will tie into this?
  
Each sector will be presented with its own cleaning challenges. Think healthcare with antibiotic resistance; and contamination and cleanliness in the food and catering sector, to name just two examples.
 
This survey is anonymous and will help determine the fitness of the cleaning discipline to rise to the challenges ahead and highlight the great opportunities that will arise in the cleaning sector.

To have your say in The Future of Cleaning & Hygiene Special Report visit www.surveymonkey.co.uk/r/Q95DYBN

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Study demonstrates impact on microbe transmission in hospitals 14/04/2021

A PILOT study to investigate whether microorganisms that remain present on poorly washed hands can be transferred beyond the washroom environment to clinical and patient areas has found that drying hands with paper towels as opposed to jet air dryers results in lower rates of virus contamination on hands and clothing.

According to the pilot study the consequences of these different rates of contamination remaining on hands after drying were measured by sampling a series of surfaces to determine the extent of transmission of a virus beyond the washroom.

The study, peer reviewed in the latest issue of Infection Control and Hospital Epidemiology, was performed in a washroom in Leeds General Infirmary (UK) used by staff, visitors and patients. It was spaced over a 5-week period and investigated virus transmission beyond the washroom to surfaces in the hospital’s public and clinical areas.

A bacteriophage (a specialised virus that is harmless to humans) was used to represent microbial contamination following two types of hand drying: one using paper towels, and the other using jet air dryers. Volunteers sanitised their hands before immersion in a liquid containing bacteriophage; they did this twice, once with each hand drying method. Hands were shaken three times to remove excess liquid before drying. Volunteers also wore plastic aprons in order to be able to measure body/clothing contamination during hand drying.

All surfaces and samples investigated had bacteriophage contamination above the limit of detection following jet air dryer use. Contamination following hand drying with paper towels occurred on only 6 of 11 surfaces. For instance, simulated use of a hospital phone for 10 seconds resulted in detectable contamination following hand drying with jet air dryers. Trunk and clothing contamination was significantly higher following jet dryers use, compared to paper towels. On average, the levels of contamination of surfaces following hand drying with jet air dryers were 10-fold higher than with paper towels.

The researchers – Ines Moura PhD, Duncan Ewin BSc, and Mark Wilcox MD – sampled the palm and fingertips immediately after drying to measure baseline hand contamination levels before environmental sampling. Volunteers then walked from the washroom on a pre-set route that included public and clinical areas. Samples were collected from environmental surfaces following contact with hands or apron. A stethoscope was placed around the neck, leaving the chest piece and earpiece in contact with the apron for some 7 minutes. Volunteers also crossed their arms across their chest for 2 minutes and then rested them on the arms of a chair for 3 minutes. Each surface was swabbed with a sponge-stick moistened with neutralising buffer, and surfaces were disinfected with chlorine wipes both before and after sampling.

The findings suggest a higher potential for microbial spread through the hospital following jet air dryer use – likely due to the increased risk of splattering on users. This is concerning because objects and surfaces can serve as reservoirs for microorganisms and be acquired via hand contact. The significantly greater contamination of items in close contact with healthcare professionals and patients – such as phones and stethoscopes – following jet air dryer use is particularly concerning. Minimising the potential for microbe dispersal is a fundamental principle of infection prevention. This study showed that the microbial contamination of the user’s hands or trunk following jet air dryer use was directly and indirectly transferred onto surfaces via hand, clothing or skin contact.

The pilot study findings question the use of jet air dryers in a hospital setting, and support the recommendations of German hospitals and the French SF2H that paper towels should be the prescribed method of hand drying in healthcare settings.

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Government asks for views on COVID-19 certification 17/03/2021

THE GOVERNMENT is seeking views on the role of COVID-status certification in the UK's recovery from the pandemic, particularly from organisations and individuals with relevant expertise as well as those it would impact.

As set out last month in the Prime Minister’s COVID-19 Roadmap, the Government is looking at whether certification could help to reopen the economy, reduce restrictions on social contact and improve safety. 
 
COVID-19 status certification involves using testing or vaccination data to confirm in different settings that people have a lower risk of transmitting COVID-19 to others. 
 
The review - which is being led by the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster - is considering the ethical, equalities, privacy, legal and operational aspects of a possible certification scheme, and what limits, if any, should be placed on organisations using certification. 
 
The Government has published a call for evidence to ensure that the review considers a broad range of interests and concerns. 
 
The Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster, Michael Gove said: "This review into COVID-status certification is an important part of our plan to help reopen the country and return to normal. However, we recognise that there are complex issues of ethics, privacy and inclusion that need to be fully considered. That is why I want to get as many views as possible on COVID-status certification and its potential implications to help inform the review."
 
The Government has committed to concluding its review into COVID-status certification ahead of Step Four of the four-stage lockdown easing plan, which will happen no earlier than 21 June.
 
The Government has also published the Terms of Reference for the COVID-status certification review. The Terms of Reference document will set out, in broad terms, the objectives and scope of the review, and also the timetable for reporting.

The call for evidence is open for two weeks from Monday 15 March to Monday 29 March.

The Terms of Reference for the Covid-status certification review is available here.

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BCC expands on key worker call 14/04/2021

THE BRITISH Cleaning Council (BCC) has expanded on its major initiative to achieve ‘key and essential worker’ status for employees in the cleaning and hygiene sector.

BCC chairman Paul Thrupp said: “As everyone is now aware, the BCC has been very keen to get government recognition of the significant contribution that the cleaning and hygiene sector makes to the current fight against COVID-19 and for cleaning operatives to be recognised as key and essential workers. 

“By definition, cleaning and hygiene operatives are consistently at the sharp end of ensuring buildings are clean and safe. 

“However, in addition, there are many other sectors of the industry represented by the BCC that are absolutely essential and equally important in ensuring that people who also work on the frontline have high standards of health and safety during the current pandemic and are also fully deserving of key and essential worker status. 

“For example, this includes drivers who deliver janitorial supplies of cleaning and hygiene products, machinery maintenance engineers, personal hygiene services, washroom and hygiene services, specialist services supplying disinfection services that involves specialist equipment and our colleagues who deal with the safe and hygienic disposal of waste. 

“The personnel involved are vital in the supply of fundamental services which are required throughout the cleaning process and so should also be given key and essential workers status. 

“The members of our teams involved and their businesses in these areas are all represented by member groups of the BCC and should be recognised as key and essential workers, which has always been implicit in our campaign so far.”

The BCC has 21 members from across the cleaning and hygiene sector. Research it published early this year shows that the sector is a UK top ten industry, employing 1.63million people and contributing over £54billion to the economy. 

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Fleet compliance now a ‘very different environment’ claims Licence Bureau 09/03/2021

THE DISRUPTION of COVID-19 and the long-term implications of working from home have created a ‘very different environment’ for fleet compliance according to Licence Bureau.

Despite ‘stay at home’ orders over the past 12 months which saw up to an 80% reduction in traffic volumes, motorists still accrued 1.5 million Driving Licence points during the first half of 2020. In parallel with this, licence checking volumes rose significantly with Licence Bureau becoming the first Driver Licence checking provider to undertake 200,000 checks in a quarter.

With the governments four step roadmap to the easing of restrictions now set out and with a long-term desire to work from home evident in the Department for Transport (DfT) All Change Tracker report, the challenges and importance of fleet compliance continue to be amplified.

The change in workplace behaviours potentially brings serious implications for any business, not only due to risk management and duty of care obligations but also the little-known fact that ‘cause or permit to drive’ legislation means that penalties can be duplicated for fleet managers should employers request employees to visit the office – which in many cases may no longer be deemed as their ‘place of work’.

Whilst the impact of the pandemic has had a major influence on the activity and requirements of fleet operators it has been supported by significant advancements in online compliance capabilities.

Licence Bureau’s compliance journey is now integrated into TTC Group’s real time risk management platform TTC Continuum providing clients with a holistic and, crucially, remote solution to compliance, risk, and learning.

Steve Pinchen, sales director of Licence Bureau (pictured) said: “TTC Group is changing the way driver risk management and fleet compliance is achieved, and Licence Bureau has a key role to play in that. Leveraging and sharing capabilities and resource is enhancing efficiencies throughout the business.

“By aggregating the areas of compliance, risk and learning, along with integrating data from multiple sources including telematics, driver behaviour and in-vehicle technology, TTC Continuum is definitely the future for fleet safety.”

Steve continued, “Without doubt, these past 12 months will have a significant long-term impact on business driving across policies, procedures and practices.

“Not only has Covid-19 changed the requirements for many, but so too now comes a clear intent to alter how we impact the environment – the mass adoption of EVs being a key part of that. And already this is altering how businesses and drivers view ownership.”

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