When snow starts falling and jingles start playing, it is important to take the right steps to make sure the holiday cheer is the only contagious thing going around. Keeping everyone happy, safe, and healthy during the holidays should not be overlooked. Follow a seven day countdown to help keep you and your facility healthy so that the celebrations can continue without a hiccup, sneeze or cough!
#1: Hand Hygiene
With all the hand shaking during the holiday season, germs and viruses can be transferred through physical contact. Seeing as how germs can survive on surfaces for long amounts of time, making sure to take precautions and ensure proper hand hygiene is the first step towards keeping healthy during the holiday season. Temperature drop might make us more susceptible to becoming infected but keeping our hands clean by using and following a hand washing program can go a long way in preventing the spread of viruses.
- Wash hands frequently
- Install hand sanitizers for occasions when hand washing is not possible
- Use the elbow to sneeze and cough instead of your hands
#2: Disinfect Critical Touch Points
Regular disinfection of high touch points should be a priority. Critical touch points include door handles, keyboards, phones, light switches, railings, elevators and other surfaces that are touched by several people on a daily basis. Making sure that these high frequency areas are disinfected reduces the chances of contamination and keeps everyone in the facility healthier. Disinfecting critical touch points is a necessary precaution to take, no matter the type of business.
#3: Clean and Sanitize Food Preparation Areas
Below are simple tips that should be followed by foodservice establishments to avoid any possibility of cross contamination and food poisoning during the holiday celebrations. Foodborne illnesses are an abundant issue in Canada, ranking at 4 million cases annually. Taking the right precautions entails revising kitchen maintenance programs.
- Keep food at the proper temperature at all times.
- Keep grills and ovens clean with solutions that are tailored to health and safety standards.
- Make sure to sanitize all food contact surfaces including cutting boards, slicers, and tables to reduce and eliminate the chance of cross-contamination.
#4: Ensure Washrooms are Clean and Odour-Free
Washrooms continue to be the number one factor that may influence a customer’s perception of the cleanliness of your facility. Implementing an effective washroom cleaning program will help to ensure repeat visits, ultimately contributing to the success of your business. Make sure you have implemented a proper routine maintenance program during the holiday rush to accommodate the increase use of washrooms.
#5: Training and Pandemic Plan for a Potential Flu or Norovirus Outbreak
Norovirus spreads through infected people, contaminated food or water, and cross-contamination of surfaces. The virus results in stomach pain, nausea, and diarrhea. Young children and seniors, as usual, are most at risk. Therefore, taking precautions to prevent norovirus and flu breakouts is especially important for senior living residences, schools, and hospitals or long term care facilities. Ensuring that all staff is aware of Norovirus and Flu symptoms is an effective preventative and proactive approach to prevent outbreaks and keep everyone within the facility healthy.
#6: Floors – keep clean and dry to avoid slip and falls.
Slips and falls are the main causes of workplace injury. During the winter season, boots track in snow and slush from outside, making the floor dangerously slippery. Use proper matting to help collect most of the snow and slush. Make sure to use a neutralizer to eliminate all salt and calcium stains will contribute to the appearance levels of your facility to send a message of cleanliness to each customer, employee, or resident who enters the building.
#7: Odour Control
Effective odour eliminators attack and eradicate odours at the source rather than masking them. This is done by deconstructing the organic matter and removing bacteria, making it environmentally preferable and effective. Odour control should be incorporated in cleaning programs for washrooms, kitchens, and dock and dumpster areas. A treatment that releases microorganisms to attack malodours and digest built-up organic matter will eliminate odour without harming the environment. By taking an approach that focuses on odour control that prevents the attracting of bugs, insects, and rodents while contributing to a positive impression will be noticed and appreciated by customers, employees, and residents through a positive impression and healthier environment.
The holidays are always accompanied by a sense of urgency and stress but one thing you shouldn’t be concerned about is being sick. Taking a proactive approach by incorporating a seven day countdown checklist is a good way to ensure that all maintenance practices are reinforced during the holiday season.