Your Role as an Administrator & Why Indoor Air Quality Matters
Part of your role as an administrator is to promote the safety and compliance of your facility, especially during the COVID-19 pandemic. The quality of air inside hospitals, long-term care facilities, offices, schools, and more, has never been more important. Providing a healthy atmosphere for your workers allows them to conduct daily work activities efficiently while also reducing their likelihood of symptoms related to poor indoor air quality. When your workers feel healthier and more comfortable in the work setting, then they’re likely to be more productive and report higher job satisfaction. Air quality poses serious risks for patients, students, or anyone entering your facility as well, so by ensuring you’re taking necessary precautions you can reduce liability concerns and improve your public image.
Indoor environmental exposure to allergens, exposure to VOCs from certain products required for cleaning tasks, and exposure to airborne pathogens all become more likely with poor indoor air quality. This can lead to coughing, allergic reactions, increased transmission of viruses like the flu and COVID-19, respiratory issues, and other health complications and risks. This reduces staff performance which can lead to less than adequate cleaning and disinfecting and patient or student care. Schools and office buildings are at an increased risk for closings with poor air quality, and healthcare facilities are at an increased risk for healthcare acquired infections. Patients, students, or staff members with suppressed immune systems (like those with heart disease, asthma, respiratory infections, or other groups of people) are even more susceptible to the effects of indoor air contaminants. This has become increasingly concerning with the anxiety caused by the COVID-19 pandemic, since someone who is COVID positive can release virus droplets into your indoor air. Taking precautions like temperature checks, enforcing proper mask usage, posting social distancing signage, and doing air quality assessments are ways to help reduce the transmission of COVID-19 in your air environment. State audits have also become increasingly intensive to ensure safety precautions are in place for controlling COVID-19, so having proper technology and procedures in place helps your facility to have confidence in their infection control measures.
Factors that Affect Air Quality & Ways to Improve It
As an administrator it’s important to know which factors affect indoor air quality so you can align your team and facility with best practices and safety measures. This also gives you the opportunity to communicate with the public you care about their safety and wellbeing and helps to make everyone feel more comfortable. Some other factors that affect your air quality include poor ventilation, problems controlling temperature, high or low humidity, and lack of training which can lead to improper cleaning and higher levels of VOCs.
Ensuring proper cleaning procedures are in place helps to reduce dust, dirt, and other contaminants that could be recirculated into your air. Knowing where your filters are, when each one needs to be changed, and opting for HEPA or higher MERV rating filter replacements which trap contaminants more effectively. It’s also important to maintain a good working relationship with your building & grounds team and custodial team to stay on top of indoor environmental issues. This helps to ensure your HVAC system is receiving optimal service, filters are being changed frequently, and other measures are put into place. All air cleaners require periodic cleaning and filter replacement to function properly. Follow manufacturer’s recommendations on maintenance and replacement.
UV Technology for Extra Safety
Although proper cleaning and maintenance procedures are important, they aren’t totally effective at removing contaminants. Closed environments, like hospitals and schools, still recirculate contaminants into the air even with proper procedures in place. Many facilities are now utilizing UV technology to help reduce this spread. When used in conjunction with other air quality measures, UV-C light technology will reduce and prevent microorganisms from recirculating within closed air environments. This technology works by breaking down DNA and RNA, which inactivates viruses and bacteria. This leaves viruses like COVID-19 and influenza unable to reproduce or perform vital functions, which virtually eliminates the likelihood of transmission.
When considering the HVAC design of a building, it’s important to take into consideration life cycle costs and its impact on the health of occupants. By taking measures to improve building health and reduce the level of airborne pathogens, you can be more confident in your infection control measures.
Superintendents work hard every day to promote a healthy and high-quality building for students and staff. Even with restricted budgets, you’re still expected to provide an atmosphere that’s safe for anyone who enters your building. Indoor air quality is one of the biggest indicators of the health of your building, and it’s a key part of reducing the spread of infection. The reason indoor air quality is important is because buildings have a closed air system, meaning whatever contaminants are brought inside are recirculated into the air unless proper procedures and technology are utilized.
Why does indoor air quality matter? Schools, office buildings, and other common facilities are closed environments that recirculate air and contaminants that are introduced to the environment. Poor air quality can lead to many concerns and adverse health complications, especially during the COVID-19 pandemic. Not only can your air quality reduce the performance and effectiveness of your cleaning and administrative staff, teachers, and students, but it can also lead to increased absenteeism. The EPA even ranks indoor air pollution among the top 5 environmental risks to public health. This is due in part to the increased risk for short- and long-term health complications with increased exposure to air contaminants. This includes asthma triggers, headaches, coughing, fatigue, respiratory tract infections and diseases, and more.
As schools look to reopen and stay open, many superintendents and building managers are looking for ways to strengthen their safety procedures and technology. Almost everything you do in your facility contributes to the indoor air environment of your facility. Certain chemicals for daily cleaning can release VOCs into their air, and improper cleaning procedures can leave behind dirt and contaminants which then recirculate into the air. It’s unfair to put all the pressure on your custodians since no matter how clean your facility is people will inevitably cough, sneeze, and release other particulates into the air which can re-contaminate it.
By exploring ways to reduce human error and ensure your air is safer you can be confident in your measures to protect your staff and building. There are measures you can take as a top-level official to communicate to the public and your staff that their safety is a top priority. Working with your administrators and building & grounds professionals to develop an air quality checklist is a good start. This includes keeping ventilation units in classrooms free of clutter, implementing chemical training for cleaning and disinfecting, developing a schedule for changing filters and replacing older filters with HEPA antimicrobial filters when applicable, etc.
Looking for ways to implement technology that works to reduce the level of airborne pathogens contributes to your air quality even during off hours to give you an extra layer of protection. Facilities are utilizing UV technology to help reduce human error and improve air quality. UV-C technology can be used with your filter systems to inactivate bacteria, mold, and viruses, including SARS-COV-2 and influenza. UV-C is a specific form of ultraviolet light with germicidal properties. It disrupts molecular bonds of the DNA and RNA present in viruses, which prevents their ability to infect students or staff. Being proactive and finding more ways to control and improve your air quality helps to reduce your absenteeism, control the spread of COVID-19, and provide a safe learning atmosphere.
As a building and grounds specialist part of your duty is maintaining a presentable and safe building. Indoor air quality can have significant and harmful effects on everyone in your building when air quality isn’t maintained properly, and it can raise concerns for maintenance effectiveness. EPA studies of indoor air conditions have consistently proven indoor levels of pollutants may be 2-5x higher than outdoor levels. The reason indoor air quality is particularly alarming is because in closed buildings contaminants recirculate into the air again and again unless you have procedures and technology in place to remove them. When you add COVID-19 to the mix, which is easily spread by airborne pathogens, then you have an even higher need for good air quality.
Poor air quality can lead to adverse health complications, including increased risk for respiratory illness, allergic reactions, or transmission of viruses like COVID-19 or influenza. Children breathe in more air than adults in proportion to their body weight, which can be of extra concern for hospitals and schools.
There are things you can do to maintain the air quality of your building and maintain compliance with state and federal guidelines. Measuring your air quality performance is a good way to have a baseline for where areas for improvement lie. This gives you insight to the concentrations of matter in your air like carbon monoxide, nitrogen dioxide, and other VOCs and pollutants. Having a high level of contaminants can even lead to life-threatening conditions, especially in those with suppressed immune systems or health conditions.
Indoor air quality is a broad subject that has many moving parts to keep in mind. Implementing small changes can have lasting positive impacts. To reduce the likelihood of your staff or the public being exposed to COVID-19 in your building, you may want to consider utilizing UV-C technology. This technology works in conjunction with your air filters and inactivates the DNA and RNA of the virus so that it can’t replicate or perform viral functions. This technology inactivates the virus and takes pressure off you to be a miracle worker in terms of air quality. Even if you do everything right, external factors like building occupants not wearing masks or human error can still lead to poor air quality. Having a UV lamp built into your air purifier adds an extra layer of protection against contaminants in the air, reduces them, and provides a safer indoor environment.
Other things to keep in mind when maintaining your building is to keep an eye out for water spots in your ceiling or floors which can lead to mold. Mold is also more likely to grow in conditions with higher temperatures, higher moisture levels, and higher humidity levels, so inspecting building conditions will help you to gauge where problem areas may lie. Reviewing construction and operating records is another way to reveal potential indoor air problems, and it’s important to communicate with your administrators and building managers effectively to find solutions that work best for your building.
Improving air quality is crucial to improve your building perception and make a healthier atmosphere. It can be overwhelming trying to provide a safe breathing atmosphere, but relying on technology like UV-C light and advanced filtration systems helps to reduce the chance for human error and improves your air quality in closed settings. Get ready to breathe easier.
Why Air Quality Matters
Most Americans spend a majority of their time indoors, especially those who work in or attend office buildings, schools, and hospitals. Custodians can spend even more of their time indoors depending on the season. Most people are aware of outdoor air pollution, but the EPA indicates indoor air environments consistently have 2-5x the level of pollutants and contaminants as outdoor air environments. Custodians using certain cleaning chemicals can emit high levels of VOCs in the air, which also contributes to poor air quality. This can lead to many adverse health complications when you’re exposed this environment day in and day out. Indoor air quality is crucial since many buildings have a closed air system, meaning whatever contaminants are brought inside are recirculated into the air unless proper procedures and technology are in place. Depending on the chemicals you’re using, your air system, and other factors like mask usage, you could be subjecting yourself to harmful pathogens.
In the short term, poor air quality can lead to coughing, eye irritation, headaches, and triggering of allergic reactions which can become serious. An increase in coughing contributes to more contaminants released in the air which will then be recirculated without proper ventilation. Potentially long-term complications include aggravation of asthma and other respiratory illnesses, and in some cases poor air quality can lead to life-threatening conditions. Some cleaning tasks make it obvious that VOCs are being released, like stripping your floors in the summertime, but other daily tasks put you at risk too. Even the process of cleaning and disinfecting can lead to high levels of VOCs being released into the air, especially if you’re not using green cleaners and are dealing directly with concentrated chemicals. As a custodian this can lead to significant health complications when you’re repeatedly exposed to harmful chemicals. Knowing how to read a SDS will help you to keep your health a priority when handling chemicals, and in turn create a healthier indoor air environment. Being mindful of cleaning tasks that can spread dust and dirt is also important, such as dust mopping with a cotton mop or using a traditional mop and bucket.
Technology to Reduce Air Contaminants
As we continue to learn more about the importance of indoor air quality, we learn more about best practices and technology to accomplish a healthier indoor environment. One innovative solution Pike Systems has seen results from in the field is UV-Air Purifiers. These are designed to use short-wave ultraviolet light to inactivate airborne pathogens and microorganisms like bacteria, viruses, and mold spores. UV-light is divided into three categories – UV-A, UV-B, and UV-C. UV-C has the shortest range of wavelengths and can inactivate viruses and bacteria effectively. Having a UV lamp built into your air purifier adds an extra layer of protection against contaminants in the air, reduces them, and provides a safer indoor environment. When used in conjunction with other technology, like antimicrobial filters, you can help to reduce the likelihood of breathing in harmful contaminants.
As concerns for air quality continue to increase, you can make sure you’re taking extra steps to decrease the likelihood of human error by relying on useful technology when able to. With increased demands for other cleaning tasks, fatigue can make it a challenge to be 100% effective in your cleaning every day. Relying on technology that’s tested to reduce contaminants gives you a cushion if you forget to change your air filters on time or have added risks to pathogens you may not be aware of. Cleaner air means less fatigue and less long-term health effects, which means you can be confident about your health and the health of others.
As a superintendent, it’s your role to oversee daily operations and execute long term planning for your district. Due to the burdens of COVID-19, many superintendents are looking to do more cleaning and disinfecting even with budget cuts. One of the focal points students and the public base their opinion of your facility on is the cleanliness of your restrooms. Restrooms account for a high level of complaints, which makes sense when you think about the number of people who use the restrooms during the 7–8-hour school day, and those using the restroom for special events like sport games. During the pandemic, restroom cleanliness has become more prominently associated with how safe your facility is too and whether it’s in compliance with state and federal standards.
To promote a positive image to the public and other personnel about your facility’s compliance, focus on the number one source of complaints: your restrooms. It’s important to put a focus on how clean your restrooms are as we continue to return to school. With increased frequency for other cleaning tasks required, how do you maintain these new public standards and keep your facility image on track?
This is where specialized equipment can be a good solution for you. Due to stagnant or decreasing budgets, the thought of purchasing a new piece of equipment sounds impossible. However, when you can take into consideration the amount of labor hours spent cleaning your restrooms and locker rooms to keep up with these increased demands it becomes startling. No-touch restroom cleaning equipment makes it easier to start clean and stay clean throughout the year, which in the long run will give you a return on investment. Kaivac has developed a no-touch cleaning system that helps your staff reach a higher standard of clean faster and easier. This puts less strain on custodians, which reduces your chance of having a worker out sick or having a work-related injury. By ensuring work gets done faster with less training, you’re also able to justify not needing to allocate more work to new workers, since your current custodial team will have more time in their day to focus on other cleaning and maintenance tasks.
Hillyard also developed their C3 machines to serve as a multifunction cleaning solution. These machines work by incorporating multiple functions into one machine, allowing you to remove bacteria more efficiently in hard-to-reach places by using a built-in power washer, scrubber, and squeegee or vacuum to completely remove soils and solutions. Using this equipment eliminates the need to do everything by hand, and you can apply a pre-diluted solution to your entire bathroom and vacuum away soils and solution faster. These machines require less water and chemical usage than traditional cleaning methods, which helps to meet your sustainability goals and reduce the cost of your overall spend. When deciding on which restroom equipment is the best investment for your facility, it’s always important to keep in mind the size of the restrooms you’re cleaning and the frequency you’re performing cleaning, and your Pike representative can help accomplish your specific needs.
Your community is relying on your staff to keep students and staff members safe. By using equipment specialized to save on your long-term cost by increasing efficiency and cleaning effectiveness – you can have the money and resources to do just that.
As an administrator you’re tasked with developing and implementing plans to meet the goals of your facility. COVID-19 has caused many administrators to put a bigger focus on exceeding the public standards for safety and sustainability, which can be communicated visually when people enter your facility and see its level of cleanliness. One of the biggest concerns for many facilities is reducing the likelihood of cross-contamination which can lead to health acquired infections and shortages of medical care and staff. The spread of contaminants also leads to increased absenteeism in K12, universities, and office places. Restrooms are a hot spot for cross-contamination, which is partly why they’re the most expensive area to clean in an entire building. They account for almost 60% of all the supplies in a building, which means there is an opportunity to consider ways to navigate that cost in your infection plan.
When it comes to solutions to help you execute your reimagined infection plans, you have options. One avenue to consider is cleaning equipment specialized to help your staff get better cleaning results more efficiently. When developing a plan based on keeping your facility image positive and reducing the chance of infection, it’s important to look at your restrooms. Restrooms are one of the most, if not the most, common sources of cross-contamination and they can be a popular source of complaints for your facility.
Making specialized restroom cleaning equipment part of your plan will help keep your facility top-notch and reduce the chance of the spread of diseases or the COVID-19 virus. If this becomes common in your facility, it’s very easy for this to be traced back to the source and the blame is usually put on top administrators and their cleaning staff. The Kaivac no-touch cleaning machine applies automatically diluted solution for you and flushes soil out of hard-to-reach areas, like grout lines. Traditional cleaning methods make it almost impossible to reach certain areas, and the more your custodian relies on their hands and traditional cleaning methods to get the job done, the more likely they are to be exposed to contaminants. By ensuring your floors and fixtures are cleaned more efficiently with less exertion, you’re reducing the chance of error. As a facility manager you’re also able to visually see improvements in cleanliness and dryness as you’re doing visual inspections.
Kaivac cleaning machines are approved for biohazard cleanup, and are EPA approved to kill COVID-19, Influenza, and more. In order to protect patients and residents, it’s important to ensure your staff is protected to. These machines are built for hospital-grade cleaning and are equipped to help your team clean more effectively. By ensuring you’re taking extra measures to achieve total infection control, you can be confident in your procedures even if there’s a claim of infection traced back to you. Kaivac has also developed a measurement system to deliver a cleanliness measurement quickly, which makes it easy to benchmark the progress your infection control plan is making.
The Hillyard Cleaning Companion also helped revolutionize the restroom cleaning process. These machines use a pressure spray wet vac system that reduces the amount of time needed to clean floors and fixtures dramatically. You can still scrub floors if needed, but by high-pressure rinsing sinks, urinals, or any high soil area you can eliminate the need to do it manually. Refer to your Pike representative for equipment specific questions, and we will help to make sure you’re meeting your organizational goals.
An unclean restroom damages the image of your entire building and gives the impression there is an error in your ability to maintain a functional and safe building. With an increased focus on restroom cleaning and disinfection, there is beginning to be an increased amount of downtime for restroom usage. As we all know, when it’s time to go, it’s time to GO. As a building and grounds expert you’re familiar with complaints about restrooms being out of order for cleaning – and you’re usually the first to hear about it. It becomes challenging to keep up with higher expectations for restroom cleanliness while also making sure it’s accessible and presentable 24/7.
Using restroom cleaning equipment helps take the strain off your workload by allowing your equipment to do the hard work for you. By using specialized equipment, you can reduce the amount of cleaning supplies needed to get the job done right. Scrubbing and disinfecting urinals, cleaning bathroom fixtures and walls, and cleaning floors are all doable up to 3x faster, cleaning bacteria up to 60x more effectively than traditional cleaning methods. No-touch cleaning machines have a 500 PSI indoor pressure washer built in that can be used to power rinse surfaces like urinals and stall walls with better results. Doing this by hand is ineffective in comparison, and quickly leads to less-than-optimal results. By mechanizing the process of restroom cleaning, you’re cleaning and staying clean faster which reduces down time of your restrooms and increases the health of your buildings.
These machines operate by incorporating multiple uses into one machine, which allows you to apply diluted solution powerfully to get rid of dirt in some of your trouble areas. Some of the most common complaints for restrooms is that there’s a foul odor, grout lines are caked with dirt, there’s dirty walls and floors, and that grout on the floors don’t match grout on the walls. Relying on a machine that can clean some of these problem areas more effectively helps to reduce the chance of dirt and odor after cleaning is completed. Instead of waiting for your floors to dry, Kaivac has a vacuum feature that vacuums away soils and solution with a powerful built in wet vacuum. This vacuum extraction removes soils and solutions and leaves floors clean, dry, and ready for immediate use. By reducing the chance of a fall after floor cleaning is done, you’re also helping to reduce the likelihood of damage or injury.
Other restroom equipment, like the Hillyard C3, works effectively at reducing the amount of time needed to clean a restroom manually too. This machine also makes it easier to apply highly concentrated cleaning formulas that won’t damage fixtures, and has a wand and front mounted squeegee to remove soiled solutions. This makes destroying odors from toilets, urinals, and corners easier and allows you to spend more time keeping up with the rest of your building needs.
Preserving the health and appearance of patient and administrative spaces is important for the longevity of your buildings. One of the first impressions patrons in your building make is based off the quality and appearance of your floors, especially in well lit areas where dirt and spills are more noticeable. If a patient sees dirty carpets in a lobby entrance or hallways, they can make inferences about the health of other spaces in your buildings, like patient or surgical rooms. The same is true for office spaces, long-term care facilities, schools, and more. The public has heightened expectations for cleaning standards, and part of your job is to meet and exceed their standards.
There are ways to communicate your team and facility is doing its part to prevent infection and keep the safety of the community at the forefront. Knowing common problem areas for dirt and contaminants in your facility is a start to refocusing your infection control plan. That being said, a cleaning professional is limited by the equipment they use to perform daily operations. By choosing efficient equipment you can focus on improving the appearance of your floors and reduce cross-contamination. Cross-contamination is a big issue for hospitals and long-term care facilities looking to reduce their number of healthcare acquired infections, which has become an even bigger issue with the spread of COVID-19. Dirty floors are a common source of cross-contamination since patrons entering your building tracking dirt around your facility, and patrons or staff leaving your restrooms can also spread contaminants into patient rooms, lobbies, surgical rooms, and more.
The way to get results from your cleaning program is to be proactive in your efforts and choose solutions that will have long term benefits. Using a matting system is one way to maintain cleaner floors and slow the spread of contaminants since they can trap some of dirt from foot traffic entering your building. Mats only trap some of the dirt and bacteria that enters your buildings, and they still need to be cleaned themselves. Vacuuming is a daily maintenance task that everyone knows improves the appearance and health of your floors. This can be a labor-intensive task, especially in buildings with a lot of square footage and obstacles like patient beds and furniture in lobbies. Your challenge is how to increase efficiency with daily cleaning tasks that must be done and making sure your housekeeping or custodial team isn’t overly fatigued so you can guarantee the results you need to be compliant.
ProTeam offers efficient and cost-effective methods for cleaning in the commercial world, including healthcare, offices, schools, or anywhere there’s high foot traffic. Their backpack vacuums have revolutionized the cleaning industry and are approved by the Carpet & Rug Institute which signifies superior carpet cleaning effectiveness and indoor air quality. They are designed to clean carpets and hard surfaces without stirring up dust. They work more efficiently since staff is able to cover more square footage in less amount of time. This is due to backpack vacuums weighing less than traditional upright vacuums. Instead of bending over and performing more strenuous back-and-forth motions, your staff can maintain a neutral posture and vacuum faster with less exertion. This is a win-win for you and your staff, since they’re less likely to get fatigued and more likely to deliver the results you need.
ProTeam has put an emphasis on lowering decibel levels to help reduce noise pollution, which can be a big concern in healthcare. Allowing your housekeeping or custodial team to vacuum contaminants underneath patient beds and maneuver around other hard to reach areas, like stairs or furniture, helps to decrease cross-contamination likelihood and increase air quality. ProTeam is partnered with the American Lung Association to promote public awareness and education about indoor air quality issues.
Maintaining safety for your patients and building occupants requires more than cleaning and air quality. According to the National Floor Safety Institute, more than 60% of nursing homes residents will fall each year. By finding ways to reduce tripping hazards for patients you can help keep safety a priority and avoid accidents or liabilities. ProTeam offers a cordless backpack vacuum that helps to eliminate the risk of tripping on cords. By providing a means for safer, more effective, vacuuming you can allow more time for tasks that residents and their families care about most and deliver on your cleaning results.
How Equipment Impacts Your Health & Efficiency
When choosing a piece of equipment, it’s always important to keep in mind the functions and features it offers to help you clean faster and easier. Upright vacuums have been around for decades and their technology is familiar to most custodial professionals. Upright vacuums are a popular choice when it comes to floor maintenance, but they can sometimes be counter-productive when not maintained properly. They are easier to use for some compared to canister vacuums since you’re constantly bending down to use them, but they prove their own disadvantages. The brush agitation of upright vacuums and other vacuums that operate similarly can stir up dirt and allergens, which can then be released back into the indoor air environment of your facility. Choosing vacuum models with HEPA filtration reduces or eliminates the amount of dust and other particulates released back into the air, making sure you’re not duplicating your efforts. When your vacuum isn’t effective you’ll have to clean your floors again sooner, which takes time out of your already busy schedule.
Custodians who have a lot of square footage to vacuum can easily become fatigued when carrying around a heavy and bulky piece of equipment, since doing a constant back and forth motion with traditional vacuums isn’t ergonomically efficient. This is especially true when vacuuming is done after other labor-intensive tasks. Many custodians also have back and neck pain from labor intensive tasks. Finding ways to reduce this will help to keep you healthy and safe, and it will improve your efficiency in cleaning tasks. Upright vacuums typically weigh twice as much as other options, like backpack vacuums, and can prove challenging when trying to clean hard to reach areas like corners or stairs. Another common issue for custodians is constantly plugging in an electrical cord, which can add a lot of time to your cleaning tasks. Having a cord limits your mobility and can make certain cleaning tasks, like vacuuming stairs, especially challenging.
Backpack vacuums are newer to the market compared to other traditional vacuums, but they are a viable alternative when taking comfort and efficiency into consideration. Making a change and trying newer technology in your daily routine can be intimidating, but it doesn’t have to be when you can keep the long-term benefits in mind. Backpack vacuums operate by lifting dirt directly into the container, rather than stirring up dirt and allergens which can occur from brush agitation from older vacuums that are harder to maintain. Ensuring your floors are cleaner means you’re less likely to have to vacuum again sooner, and you can focus your efforts on other cleaning tasks. They eliminate the need for a cord, which makes it easier for you to navigate your facility and save time. They utilize batteries for power, so it’s important to be trained on how to charge them.
Pike Systems recommends using ProTeam for your facility needs. Not only can you clean more efficiently, but your fatigue and back strain after vacuuming will be significantly reduced. A lot of innovative cleaning technology is built with ease of use in mind, and backpack vacuums are no exception. Custodians using backpack vacuums maintain a more neutral posture compared to traditional vacuums that require more bending and force exertion. Your arm and leg extensions are less frequent, less extreme, and you can cover over 2x the area compared to other vacuums using the same amount of energy exertion. With an increased demand for cleaning and disinfecting, finding ways to clean your facility safely and more efficiently pays dividends.
Relying on a ProTeam vacuum that utilizes an advanced filtration system helps to produce positive health impacts, including improved lung health and reduced spread of germs. By switching to a ProTeam, you can spend less time and energy cleaning your floors. This allows you to improve and simplify your cleaning process and gives you more time to keep up with the heightened cleaning demands of COVID-19. In the long run, you’ll notice more ergonomic benefits from from reducing heavy lifting and constant bending.
Keeping labor costs under control can be challenging. This is especially true during the COVID-19 pandemic where heightened cleaning and disinfection requirements need to be met. Your custodial and building & grounds staff are tasked with more labor than previous years to keep up with this need and ensure your schools are safe for the return to in-person learning. This can also put your workers at an increased risk for fatigue, which can lead to issues with their safety. Many factors affect your labor savings, like training and resources, but it’s important to remember the influence you have as a superintendent.
One of the main ways to reduce the impact of labor costs is to improve the efficiency of your cleaning tasks so you can get more done in less time. Floors are a big concern for many superintendents because most of the dirt that enters your facility ends up on your floors from foot traffic in and out of your entryways. Carpets have been a popular choice for school flooring for areas like classrooms, entryway matting, libraries, and other high-traffic areas. Carpets are useful since they’re stylish, sound absorbent, and cost-effective. However, they trap allergens and other contaminants easily and affect the indoor air quality of your building.
Not maintaining carpets properly leads to a buildup of these contaminants and mold where moisture is left, like from a leak or spill. Since sections of damaged carpet are hard to replace and can be expensive, it’s important to be proactive about your carpet maintenance. Daily dry vacuuming is necessary to maintain the appearance and integrity of your flooring, and it removes contaminants which would otherwise be recirculated into the air. Finding ways to vacuum faster and cover more space efficiently will help to reduce your cost associated with floor maintenance.
Backpack vacuums are newer to the market than other traditional vacuums, like upright or canister vacuums, and they have measurable cost benefits. They can clean up to 3-4x faster than upright vacuums since they allow for increased mobility and comfort for your staff. Custodians maintain a neutral body posture when using backpack vacuums and they’re able to maneuver around obstacles like furniture and desks easier. They also make cleaning hard-to-reach areas that trap dirty easily more effective. Tasks like vacuuming stairs can add excess time to labor when custodians are lugging around a heavy vacuum that requires a cord, but backpack vacuums can eliminate both these hurdles. Even tasks like cleaning high windowsills which attract dust is doable with extension wands, like in stair wells or gymnasiums. Staff will need to be trained on how to maintain their batteries if they decide to go cordless, but this will save you labor time.
It can be challenging implementing new equipment for your team, some custodians may feel uncomfortable wearing a backpack vacuum at first. Emphasizing the better ergonomics and reduced back strain will help to reduce any hesitations to using a backpack vacuum they may have, and they’ll have more time back in their day to finish other tasks that need to get done. You can ensure reduced back strain for your staff and make daily operations safer for your team. According to ISSA, ProTeam backpack vacuums cover 14,286 square feet per hour on average, and a ProTeam corded backpack covers 10,000 square feet per hour on average. ISSA reports traditional upright vacuums only cover 2,875 square feet per hour on average. If you apply this to a $13 per hour wage, your district could have their investment returned to them in only 20 hours of vacuuming.
As we continue to put an emphasis on healthy schools for students and staff, it’s important to look for creative ways to reduce the impact of labor costs and increase cleaning efficiency. This enables you to have more resources to keep your schools healthy and allows you to reallocate time to other labor tasks.