The Newlife Cleaning Systems Cleaning Blog
These terrifying facts summarise the prolific danger that hospital-acquired infections pose to the NHS and to their patients. Every year, the NHS spends roughly one billion pounds in an attempt to clean hospitals, in order to defeat these infections and lower the mortality rate they cause. Many of these hospital-spread infections have become household names, including MRSA, E. coli, klebsiella pneumoniae which causes pneumonia and clostridium difficile which causes tetanus. In more recent years, bird flu and swine flu have also threatened to infect British hospitals.
In recent years, evidence has been found that offers some hope; hospitals can stop the spread of these germs and infections through the use of copper.
Roughly 80% of all infectious diseases are spread by touch; the contact of one surface with another. In hospitals, certain surfaces are touched hundreds of times a day; push plates, door handles, bed rails, light switches, table tops and counters, dressing trolleys and soap, alcohol and paper towel dispensers are all heavily responsible for the spread of infection. Research has proven that if these surfaces are replaced by copper, or high-copper alloys like brass, the spread of infectious germs in hospitals can be dramatically reduced.
Why it works
Copper prevents the spread of infectious germs because it is a natural antimicrobial; something which can kill or deactivate microbes. The microbes that make up the harmful bacteria present on many hospital surfaces can stay alive and active for hours, days or even months if untreated. If this surface is then touched, the active bacteria can spread, creating the potential for infection. The antimicrobial quality of copper means that when the same dangerous bacteria lands on its surface, it cannot survive; a copper surfaces kills more than 99.9% of the bacteria that lands on it within two hours, and kills over 99% after repeated contamination. Copper is proven to deactivate microbes which cause the most dangerous hospital-acquired infections, listed earlier, which once done will reduce their spread throughout the hospital.
Tried and tested
Using copper to fight against the spread of infection was first tested in laboratory research at the University of Southampton, where they tested MRSA’s survival rate on different surfaces. The results showed that after just 90 minutes on copper, the MRSA bacteria was deactivated; a stark contrast to stainless steel, used in many hospitals, where the bacteria was unaffected. A clinical trial then followed in Selly Oak Hospital in Birmingham, which discovered that replacing hospital surfaces that get touched every day with copper could reduce hospital-acquired infections by 90-100%.
The tried and tested concept has now started to work its way into hospitals. St Francis Private Hospital in County Westmeath in Ireland pioneered the idea, and was the first hospital in the world to change frequently-touched surfaces to copper-based substances. The concept soon spread and in January 2011, French care home Centre Inter Générationnel Multi Accueil became the first in France to use copper in this way.
There is every argument for hospitals and care homes to replace regularly-touched surfaces with copper and high-copper alloys, as a preventative measure against the spread of disease. Once installed, the copper fixtures will quickly and endlessly kill dangerous bacteria, which will without a doubt reduce the spread of infection. The cost of replacing he surfaces with copper may seem off-putting, but when the battle against hospital-spread infections is costing the NHS a billion pounds each year, this one-off payment is something worth investing in.
“We want residents and visitors to the borough to be able to enjoy their food safe in the knowledge that it has been produced, stored and prepared in a hygienic manner.”
This was spoken to the Government’s News Distribution Service after Mr Chitta R. Das, owner of frozen food company Euroversal International released a statement last week which assured the public that his produce was safe to consume. This came after his factory was exposed for being unhygienic earlier this month. The Food Standards Agency discovered a mouse infestation in the factory and traces of mouse droppings were found inside food packaging, on shelves and in the food itself. The company was charged with six food hygiene offences, fined £5,730 and had their ‘Mithaighar’ yoghurt product recalled.
In areas where food is prepared, packaged and distributed to the public, the hygiene and cleanliness of the building and the staff who work in it must be impeccable. Any dangerous bacteria must be removed from all surfaces, even if they are not in direct contact with food; harmful bacteria can cause food-related illnesses such as salmonella, listeria and E. coli.
It is the responsibility of business directors who run food factories to adhere to constantly updated rules, regulations and legislations which are monitored by a number of official bodies. Firstly, the Food Standards Agency, an independent Government department, was set up to monitor food production in the interest of the consumer’s health. They set guidelines for food preparation, which they monitor and enforce frequently. The BRC, British Retail Consortium also sets a standardised level of hygiene that retailers expect from their suppliers. They modify the rules frequently and a sixth edition of their regulations is due in 2012.
With all of these pressures on owners of food production factories, it can quickly become impossible for them to keep up. With so many other aspects of running a business to think about, the easiest way to make sure it is done properly, and with minimum fuss, is to get a cleaning contractor to do it for you.
Cleaning contractors are often highly experienced when it comes to working in industry. They are subject to stringent hygiene, safety and cleanliness regulations as part of their job; making it important for them to be knowledgeable in the latest food hygiene and cleanliness laws.
They will have specially-trained teams to set to work, who will be very experienced at working in industrial units. The contractor will be responsible for staffing issues, including ensuring that staff are up to date will all legislations. The procurement of any specialist equipment and supplies will also become the responsibility of the contractor.
Another issue for owners of food production factories is the time constraints against them; to maximise the company’s productivity they need to be open for business for long periods of time. Some specialist cleaning processes require time and potentially an emptied factory, which could clash with production times. A cleaning contractor will fit in with the company’s schedule and requirements to make it as convenient as possible.
Alongside daily cleaning, there are some special services that a contract cleaning company can offer. Firstly, there is high level cleaning, which requires experienced staff cleaning hard-to-reach areas, making every surface spotlessly clean. They will also be trained in machinery and process parts cleaning, an essential process that removes the residue of bacteria and it keeps the machines working efficiently; dirty machines break down which makes the factory lose money. Many insurers now also want ventilation and duct cleaning and testing to be undertaken by professional contractors, which they will also be able to help with.
Hiring a cleaning contractor to do your food factory cleaning can therefore ensure that the factory maintains the highest standards, will remove the stresses from a business owner and will undertake regular daily cleaning as well as specialist tasks.
If you would like to know how hiring a contract cleaner can help your business, Newlife Cleaning Systems welcome your enquires on 0800 018 9099, or visit www.newlifecleaning.com.
As the Royal Wedding had done before it, the subsequent event clean-up and more importantly who paid for it, has been subject to press attention. The ceremony, and the trimmings that came with it, were funded by the bride and groom’s parents. Conversely, the cleaning costs and security were funded by the council’s budget, and therefore by the taxpayer.
The great majority of the cleaning work was done by Westminster City Council’s cleaning contractor. The Telegraph stated that official predictions estimated that the additional costs of cleaning Central London’s streets before and after the wedding could reach up to £40,000. To enable them to do this task, the contractor had to set an extra 100 cleaning staff to work; over the proceedings a total of 130 workers picked up approximately 140 tonnes of litter from London’s streets.
The cleaning of the subways, which was done by criminals convicted of minor offences, did not directly cost the taxpayer.
The additional costs to the taxpayer for the wedding clean-up are not without note, but what about the cleaners undertaking the work?
The cleaners’ hard work to prepare London’s streets for the Royal Wedding and to clean up afterwards, was praised in the press. Guardian Journalist Jill Insley joined the cleaners on the day, spending the morning working with them. She acknowledged their hard work in her article, stating; ‘I will never again ignore those who are working so hard to keep my environment clean’.
Unfortunately, recent reports have shown that those who clean up after royalty do not necessarily receive royal benefits.
The cleaning staff at Buckingham Palace for example, are paid £6.45 per hour; above the minimum wage of £5.93 per hour but below the ‘Living Wage’ estimated for London. The ‘Living Wage’, which is a minimum hourly wage that will enable an individual to provide for their family, was estimated to be £7.85 per hour for 2011. This means, that although the contracted cleaners worked tiring, additional hours for a global, high-profile event, they do not even earn enough money to support their families. With the streets of London spotless as two billion sets of eyes were on it, it is unfair that the cleaner’s are not getting all of the financial recognition they deserve, for doing such an important job.
Mark Banks, the waste and receycling manager at Westminster City Council, regarded the procedure as “a little practice run for the Olympics for us.” If the Olympics are predicted to be an even bigger event than this, with larger cleaning operation then Westminster City Council’s cleaning contractors are to expect a busy few years. With the attention on the streets of London, and how the streets are prepared before and cleaned after, hopefully the Olympic clean-up will get the cleaners the recognition they deserve; seeing a positive effect in their pay packets as much as their public profiles.
For more information on event clean up, visit: http://www.newlifecleaning.com/
Original articles can be found at:
Desperately excited, grossly indignant or quietly indifferent- everyone had their opinion on the recent Royal Wedding. The luxurious celebration was watched by two billion people, whilst tens of thousands flocked to the mile and a half procession route from Buckingham Palace to Westminster Abbey, to try and catch a glimpse of Prince William and Kate Middleton.
With the world watching the streets of London, it is important to spare a thought for the people who made them look impeccable. The clean-up of London’s streets, both prior to and after the event, was organized and executed with military precision. Here’s how it was done…
The initial clean-up began weeks before London was flooded with visitors from across the globe. The subways leading to and from Westminster tube station were scrubbed vigorously with detergent and wire brushes. This was done by criminals, convicted of minor offences, who chose to volunteer for the duty rather than receiving a prison sentence. This project was organised by Westminster Council through the Community Payback scheme.
The rest of the preparations and post-wedding clean-up were organized by Westminster Council’s waste management & cleaning contractor. They tackled the clean-up with the efficiency you can expect from a contractor; utilizing their resources and staff to get the job done, whilst causing minimal disruption to the public.
A ‘deep cleansing’ of the route was undertaken on the night before the Royal Wedding. This involved using a 15 strong team of cleaners to remove every piece of litter from the procession route. They were assisted by a small Johnston C40 sweeper to do an initial clean, which was then followed by a large Johnston 600 sweeper. After this, they gave the route one final polish with high pressure jets to make sure it was spotless. A statue cleaning team from Westminster City Council worked to rejuvenate the Royal Tank Regiment, Women at War and the Gurkha Soldier statues, which were to be passed by the procession.
On the day of the Royal Wedding, the contract cleaning staff began their work at 2.am; they prepared the procession route by giving it one final sweep. They then laid sand down in places where the horses were likely to slip, and ensured that two gritting machines were placed at strategic intervals on the route. During the royal procession, the contractor’s street cleaners waited until the procession passed by and then immediately entered the area to remove any litter and sand that was left in the wake of the procession, returning it back to it’s spotless state.
Around busy transport stations, they placed an additional 40 sweepers, to keep these densely attended areas neat and tidy. Other cleaners walked amongst the crowd throughout the day, picking up litter left by the public. After the celebrations were over, it didn’t take long for the cleaning team to return the streets of London back to normal.
Regardless of the views on the cost of the Royal Wedding to the public, Westminster Council’s cleaning contractor did an excellent job of preparing for it, and making the city look like it had never happened afterwards. Their exact planning, extra available staff, countless machines and unlimited equipment made the clean-up an unmitigated success.
If you would like to know more about how a contract cleaner can make cleaning up after your event more hassle free, Newlife Cleaning Systems can help you. To make an enquiry telephone 0800 018 9099 or visit www.newlifecleaning.com for more information.