Providing Peace of Mind to Staff, Parents and Students.
Back to School – Back to Business, Custodians can lead the way by providing value and proof of cleanliness through data.
As staff, teachers and students head back to school, there has been a lot of trepidation and unknown factors as to what the school year will look like. We are stepping into uncharted territory and a new normal. Now more than ever, the recent Covid-19 pandemic has heightened and brought to the forefront the importance of cleaning & disinfecting and the vital roles that the custodial teams play in schools and businesses alike.
In the past, where the cleaning staff has probably been in the lower part of the totem pole and the subject of budget cuts, this pandemic shows us how the custodial team play a vital role not only in cleaning but in leading the way to provide peace of mind for schools for the work they do in providing clean and healthy spaces.
Yes! Proper training of your custodial staff is important. Having a proper cleaning and disinfecting sanitation program is important. Following manufacturer’s recommendation on dwell time for disinfection is important. All of these are must haves, but even then, that may not be enough.
There is so much information out there about how to clean, sanitize and disinfect that it can be overwhelming with a myriad of different opinions (sometimes conflicting) that you do not know who to trust. There are new equipment and gadgets from electrostatic sprayer to sani-sprayers, all claiming to do the best job in disinfection. However, at the end of the day, as W. Edwards Deming once said, “In God we trust, all others bring data.”
Let’s face it, the custodians can assure you that they clean, sanitize and disinfect daily but at the end of the day, where’s the data and the proof? Let’s instill some thought leadership here. One important factor that the custodial team can implement is to write into their Standard Operating Procedure (SOP), a system to measure the cleanliness of an establishment and then provide validation that what they are doing (systems, procedure and chemicals) is validated as proof evidence that the SOP is sound on the data; irrefutable. Without involving a third party team to come in to swab, analyze and obtain the test results in a lab, one method is implementing an ATP System.
Adenosine Triphosphate (ATP) Testing can detect the amount of organic matter that is present before and after cleaning any surface or equipment. It is a method to ensure a facility’s sanitation efforts are effective. The amount of ATP detected indicates areas that may need to be re-cleaned and the possible need for improvement in the cleaning process. Though there is a cost to purchasing the instrument, reagents, swabs etc., you may want to consider the return on investment and peace of mind that it will bring when you can confidently validate with data with “rapid” results.
Benefits of measuring Cleanliness:
- Real-time monitoring system of your cleaning process and performance
- Enhance sanitation training and verify efficacy of sanitation program
- Record and track results to identify problems areas
- Make improvements and show due diligence and compliance with Sanitation Standards Operating Procedures (SSOPs), Hazard Analysis Critical Control Point
(HACCP) and industry regulations.
- Optimize the use of your cleaning products
- Brand protection of your organization
When you consider adding an ATP bioluminescence system to your educational facility or business, keep in mind the training and technical service required for transition from conventional methods. All major vendors of the instruments and kits provide some training for proper operation and maintenance, but you should try to obtain training specific to your school and situation.
Contact experts or colleagues in other companies who may have experience with a particular ATP system to discuss their experiences. Also, technical service and responsiveness should be available following the purchase. In this regard, you may also want to access training opportunities available through professional organizations.
When you write ATP validation into an SOP, you are adding an additional layer into your cleaning process. You are validating your process, providing data and proof that you are doing what you say you are doing and most of all, you are providing peace of mind to the staff, parents and students.
The key really is to be able to conduct random tests across a group of various custodian and or custodial teams. Once the SOP is laid out, the ATP testing would validate that the SOP is robust, repeatable, accurate in the provision of clean and healthy indoor environments.
The important take away here is that although you may be able to articulate your protocols, in the face of COVID-19 and the methodology you are using, the proof is the critical component to validate that your SOP has everyone’s best interest in check.
To quote another great person in our history and to sum up; Albert Einstein once said, “The significant problems we face cannot be solved at the same level of thinking we were at, as when we created them”.
Custodial teams are doing great work. We need to be able to support and communicate and be their champion so they can continue doing the very important work they are doing, without distraction.
Stay safe and healthy.
Measuring the cleanliness of your establishment: https://www.avmor.com/wp-content/uploads/2020/08/7019_01_atp_testing_flyer_en.pdf