Monday, January 28, 2013

How to Select Floor Equipment to Meet Your Customers' Cleaning Needs and Facility Sustainability Goals

With today’s emphasis on building sustainability and the current focus on LEED certifications, the tools used to clean facilities are changing. Now, floor cleaning equipment feature performance capabilities that simultaneously reduce environmental impacts and improve worker productivity. To keep up with this growing trend, rental facilities are offering floor cleaning equipment designed to meet individual cleaning requirements and promote green cleaning initiatives.

Efficient rental machines allow operators to reduce water consumption, minimize or eliminate chemicals, avoid labor-intensive scrubbing and optimize energy usage - all while still delivering quality cleaning results. By selecting the appropriate auto scrubbers, carpet extractors, vacuums and sanders, facility managers can select rental equipment that will assist in enhancing building sustainability while maintaining cost-effective cleaning procedures.

Rental equipment with green capabilities
  • Auto Scrubbers: Auto scrubbers are used to accommodate daily cleaning needs, with some offering deep scrubbing capabilities for floor finish removal. Available in multiple sizes, auto scrubbers can accommodate a wide variety of buildings, from industrial plants and distribution centers to hospitals and universities. 
  • Carpet Extractors and Vacuums: When selecting extractors and vacuums, users should first identify whether the machine features the Carpet & Rug Institute’s (CRI) seal of approval. This comes with LEED endorsement and the Green Seal Standard for Commercial and Institutional Cleaning Services (GS-42).
  • Sanders (Dust Containment Vacuums): To combat health risks and maintain optimal air quality while using sanding equipment, implementing dust containment vacuums minimize hazardous sanding dust and debris. These vacuums conveniently attach to sanders, simultaneously promoting safety and productivity.

Read the full article to learn more about sustainable floor cleaning equipment. 

Monday, January 21, 2013

Green Cleaning: Six Winning Lessons

This article was originally published in American School & University.

The following are the "lessons learned" from the winners of the 2012 Green Cleaning Awards for Schools and Universities. These tips may make an important impact on buildings, their occupants and the environment. And most are feasible, readily available and affordable.

In 2012, every winner used an assortment of green chemicals, paper, equipment, tools and other products, but so did every entrant. Thus, it is clear that green products are widely available, meet performance requirements and are cost-effective.

Innovations in this area included efforts to reduce product consumption by using those that have higher performance and greater durability. The use of microfiber products is expanding (although concerns are increasing about quality because of the lack of any product standards in this category). And there is growth in the use of devices that ionize, ozonate, electrolyze and otherwise turn water into cleaning solutions. 
Every program provided training to custodians; after all, it is the law. But the winners went beyond the minimum OSHA requirements and those for new employees.

Innovations included training custodians on how they can reduce energy, water and waste while increasing recycling and composting. The winners went above and beyond by engaging and providing training to students, staff, visitors and other stakeholders on what they can do to create a cleaner, safer and more healthful environment.

The winners worked to engage others through their schools, districts and campuses. Posters, newsletters, competitions, events, and social and traditional media helped make green cleaning and sustainability efforts clear, visible and frequent.

Innovations included garnering the "public" support of senior leaders in the school or university, as well as in the community, to give credibility and importance to the issue.

One of the more important lessons from the winners was teamwork that includes the entire institution and not just the custodial department. Schools and universities, large and small, urban and rural, are dealing with budget and staffing cuts. So, working constructively with teachers, students, staff, parents and others was a key to success.

Innovations varied from those actually engaging students in cleaning to higher-level engagement on green teams to help administer, manage and expand programs. Just imagine what could be achieved if schools elevated participation on the green team to the same level as being on the basketball or cheerleading squads.

Cleaning is a process, and the winners took the concept to the next level. They had a "formula" for everything, including the process of cleaning, selecting and reviewing products on an established basis, training of custodians, outreach to stakeholders, building the team and more. This year’s winners scored high in all areas.

Innovations in this area included clear and written processes and expectations, along with efficient execution that measured progress and identified opportunities for improvement.

Although it was common to find the use of independent third parties such as Green Seal, EcoLogo, EPA’s DfE Program and the Carpet & Rug Institute to verify product claims, the leaders did much more. For example, several of the winners used third parties such as Green Seal and ISSA to verify the performance of the entire cleaning program, including products, training and management systems.

Innovations in this area included the use of new technologies such as ATP meters to measure soil on surfaces. The use of such measurement tools objectively determined how clean surfaces really were so resources could be applied effectively in an effort to create and maintain buildings that are most conducive to learning.

Monday, January 7, 2013

Get a Grip on Slips

This article was originally published in EHS Today

What's the best way to prevent slips and falls? Based on the number of injuries in the workplace due to slippery floor conditions, there is no simple answer.

Any one solution -- be it slip-resistant shoes, mats or worker awareness -- will not eliminate the hazard. EHS professionals who want to implement, upgrade or review their slip-prevention programs need to ensure that they consider all aspects of what causes a slip and what can be done to reduce or eliminate one of the workplace's most common hazards. One key solution is proper floor care.

Keeping floors clean and clutter-free is one of the best ways to reduce hazards. Here are several common-sense tips to keeping floors clean and free of contaminants:
  • Clean up spilled liquids or tracked-in water immediately by mopping or using an absorbent material.
  • Sweep up loose debris.
  • Inspect flooring surfaces for holes, chips or other trip hazards and make necessary repairs.
  • Eliminate chronic hazards by implementing design changes, such as machine guards, and frequent equipment inspection and servicing.
  • Select a floor cleaner that enhances slip resistance and does not leave a slippery residue.
Unless all floor surfaces can be inspected constantly, it is impractical to assume that contaminants will always be cleaned up immediately. Even hourly inspections, for example, may not be often enough.

When leaks and spills are unavoidable, keep contaminants away from walkways by using absorbent materials, nonabsorbent barriers and containment decking. Once liquid is contained, retrieve it with a vacuum or pump for reuse or recycling. Use warning signs, safety cones or barricade tape if you notice hazards such as broken, protruding or loose debris in walkways, or newly waxed or mopped floors not cordoned off.

Read the full article to learn about other tips to reduce slips and falls.

Wednesday, January 2, 2013

BSW 28 Sweeper

Designed to be rugged and versatile, Clarke’s new BSW 28 Sweeper has the performance for both hard floors and carpets. Featuring a 28 inch sweeping path, gel batteries, self propelled traction and an active side broom that sweeps even the smallest debris and dust from the walls edge. The BSW 28 is very quiet and allows sweeping in noise sensitive areas.