Clean Sweep: Cleaning for Health

Home Columns Clean Sweep: Cleaning for Health

Final part of four

by Michael Pinto

Over the last three articles I presented information regarding the concept of cleaning for health. It can be difficult because individuals don’t always focus on aspects that could have a positive impact on their businesses.

One example is in higher risk environments like healthcare facilities, where the most successful programs are a collaboration between medical personnel who understand the risks to patients and restoration contractors who are familiar with various building issues.

Following are some practical steps for professionals who understand the concepts of cleaning for health and can apply them appropriately.

Restoration and Remediation Contractors

  • Understand there is a standard of care that guides your actions. You have a continuing responsibility to your clients to keep up with changes in the industry standard.
  • Isolate any visible fungal contamination during water loss or other types of restoration projects.
  • Do not use fans or dryers where fungal contamination has been identified or is suspected.
  • Do not use bleach to address fungal or bacterial issues.
  • Set up isolation barriers and HEPA-filtered negative pressure engineering controls for any size fungal or bacterial contamination project. Remember, you are a professional, not a do-it-yourself weekend warrior.
  • Always have a clear scope of work and an endpoint that all parties (i.e., building owner, insurance company, consultant, etc.) agree upon before you start work.
  • Be informed before employing new products and technologies. Make sure the item or process is acceptable under the existing standard of care.
  • Keep equipment in top-notch condition. How can you be trusted to clean someone’s home or building if you cannot keep your own equipment clean?

Indoor Environmental Consultants and IAQ Investigators

  • Look at the big picture—how a number of little actions or conditions can add up to bigger than anticipated problems during every investigation.
  • Focus on protecting the health of individuals, not material things. Remember, people are more important than property and profits.
  • Do not collect a sample until you have a specific question that sample results can answer and compare criteria you can use to evaluate the results.
  • Begin all complaint investigations with the assumption that affected individual(s) are correct, even if you cannot smell the odor or sense the problem that the occupant explains.
  • Look for the cause of the problem: don’t simply address the symptoms. For example, all fungal contamination problems have a moisture source that must be corrected to prevent recurrence.
  • Document findings properly and explain conclusions using evidence from collected data and reference materials so the lay person can see the connections.
  • For the most part, recommendations included here may be easily adapted to other venues such as commercial office buildings, schools and the like.

And, while there are specific steps that companies may take when “cleaning for health,” an effective program begins with awareness of the issues involved and proper planning, as well as thorough training and consistent implementation.

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