Thursday, October 23, 2014

Ebola Cleaning Guidelines for Non-Healthcare/Laboratory Environments

OSHA just released its new guidelines for cleaning where Ebola might be present. These guidelines are for environments that are not healthcare facilities or laboratories. This link will take you to the three pages of guidelines.

Ebola Guideline Link

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Good Hygiene, Healthy People

I thought I'd share this interesting article from Kaivac found online at this link. It has some good points about keeping oneself from contracting or spreading contagions. You'll find the ideas and suggestions worth considering.

Protect Yourself From Serious Illness: Avoid Touching Dollar Bills

October 21, 2014


PRESS RELEASE

Hamilton, OH - As part of its series of advisories on how cleaning professionals can protect themselves from serious infection-especially now that Ebola has made it to the United States, Kaivac, developers of the No-Touch® and OmniFlex™ cleaning systems, suggests one way is to avoid handling dollar bills.
"While this sounds a bit extreme, the truth is infections can and do live on paper bills for many days after they have been touched by a person with the flu or some other infection," says Matt Morrison, Communications Manager for Kaivac. "What this is really telling us is that when it comes to stopping the spread of infection we have to be on guard and take precautions at all times."
In this case, Morrison advises cleaning workers to wear gloves and wash hands frequent as well as keeping a ready supply of hand sanitizers nearby at all times. As to other ways cleaning professionals can protect their health during their day-to-day activities, now with the Ebola scare and whenever the spread of infection is a concern, he advises the following:
  • Avoid shaking hands; use the knuckle bump instead.
  • Avoid large groupings of people; while Ebola specifically is not an airborne disease, if an ill person coughs, droplets can become airborne and pose a risk.
  • Do not share tools with other cleaning workers.
  • Do not wear personal protection gear (gloves, etc.) used by someone else.
  • Avoid sharing facility keys with other cleaning workers; in a larger facility, have one worker in charge of opening and locking all interior doors.
  • Install hand sanitation stations in all janitorial closets.
  • Politely keep a distance from office and cleaning workers if a public outbreak of a disease is a concern.
  • If concerned about touching something in a facility setting, don't; refer the matter to a supervisor.
"This is a perfect time to also develop an infection-control training program," adds Morrison. "Should there be more Ebola cases in the United States, this will probably become routine and frequent for cleaning crews throughout the country."

Tuesday, October 14, 2014

One Cup of Mercury = $1,000,000+ Cleanup

Mercury is dangerous. In the past the dangers associated with mercury were little known. However, over time they became more apparent. That's why now you rarely find thermometers or other devices using mercury, especially in a school setting.

To give you an example, note this short article taken from epa.gov/schools that gave suggestions for a healthy school environment. You'll be surprised at the outcome of one cup of mercury and the havoc it wreaked.

On October 2, 2003, the Washington DC Fire Department Hazmat Unit responded to an emergency call from Ballou High School. A student had obtained 250 milliliters (or 1 cup) of elemental mercury from a science laboratory and had sold some of it to other students. This incident led to an exhaustive mercury spill clean-up.
Contamination did not stop at the school. Students unknowingly carried mercury on shoes and clothing through the streets, onto city and school buses, and into their homes. Eleven homes and one common area were found to be contaminated and about 16 families were displaced from their homes for a month.
As a result of the mercury spill, Ballou High School was closed for 35 days and more than 200 homes were tested for mercury contamination. Total cleanup costs were about $1,500,000.

Friday, October 10, 2014

Almost One Death Per Hour

Numbers are emerging of the death toll meted out by the deadly Ebola virus. This short article outlines how many have died in what countries over the last seven months. More deaths are expected. WHO continues to monitor and race against time in an effort to stop this outbreak.

Thursday, October 9, 2014

Efforts to Thwart the Ebola Virus Receives Help From Jehovah's Witnesses

As the Ebola virus continues to ravage West Africa, Jehovah's Witnesses in those areas are endeavoring to implement procedures to limit the spread of the deadly disease. Government officials have requested help from Jehovah's Witnesses as well in educating people on ways to limit the spread of Ebola. Some simple guidelines as to quarantine and sanitation are going a long way to quashing this disease.

Click here for the full story.

Bee Ware

Although not in the field of cleaning, our crew is occasionally called upon to remove a small bee's nest or other insect. Of course, if these creatures are more than just "small", we have a pest control company that does the work since they are certified and have the chemicals needed to remove unwanted pests.

The short article linked here describes a monstrous bee hive in Arizona that killed a gardener. We feel for his family and have high respect for these tiny insects and what they can do as a group to the unwary. Always use caution around any pest to avoid injury or death.

Wednesday, October 1, 2014

PPE = Personal Protective Equipment


Our last poll asked what the acronym PPE stood for. The answer is Personal Protective Equipment. PPE are items of clothing or accessories that are used to protect oneself from chemicals, toxins, burns and other hazards of on-the-job conditions or in a safety setting.

OSHA defines PPE as follows: Personal protective equipment, commonly referred to as "PPE", is equipment worn to minimize exposure to serious workplace injuries and illnesses. These injuries and illnesses may result from contact with chemical, radiological, physical, electrical, mechanical, or other workplace hazards. Personal protective equipment may include items such as gloves, safety glasses and shoes, earplugs or muffs, hard hats, respirators, or coveralls, vests and full body suits.

The use of PPE is vital to protect ones health and life. When used properly, dangers can be minimized for the individual doing the work as well as for those in the workplace. Always use PPE when required and as directed.

Ebola Patient in Texas is the First Diagnosed in the U.S.

We've been following the news for the last several weeks about the Ebola outbreaks and deaths in Africa. Now this deadly disease has been discovered in  a Texas patient. The article below from thehour.com provides details. Health officials continue to monitor this situation so as to keep it contained and in an effort to protect the human population. 
DALLAS — A patient being treated at a Dallas hospital has tested positive for Ebola, the first case of the disease to be diagnosed in the United States, federal health officials announced Tuesday.
Officials at Texas Health Presbyterian Hospital say the unidentified patient is being kept in isolation and that the hospital is following Centers for Disease Control recommendations to keep doctors, staff and patients safe.
The hospital had announced a day earlier that the patient's symptoms and recent travel indicated a case of Ebola, the virus that has killed more than 3,000 people across West Africa and infected a handful of Americans who have traveled to that region.
The CDC has said 12 other people in the U.S. have been tested for Ebola since July 27. Those tests came back negative.
The National Institutes of Health recently admitted an American doctor exposed to the virus while volunteering in Sierra Leone. Four other patients have been treated at hospitals in Georgia and Nebraska.
According to the CDC, Ebola symptoms can include fever, muscle pain, vomiting and bleeding, and can appear as long as 21 days after exposure to the virus.

Sunday, September 28, 2014

The Red Cross Dead Body Management Team - Have You Thanked Them Lately?

Someone has to do it. Would you?
With the outbreak of Ebola there are deaths.  But somebody has to remove and dispose of the contaminated bodies. Who? Meet the Red Cross Dead Body Management Team. What they do is saving others from contracting this disease and is helping to limit the spread of Ebola. But they are also feared because of what they do.
Read this Time magazine article to find out more about their job and thank them for what they are doing!

Tuesday, September 23, 2014

21,000 In A Week Is Possible

If nothing is done or efforts are not increased in the fight against Ebola, reports indicate that in a week the number of cases in Sierra Leone and Liberia could increase by 21,000. Worst case scenario? 1.4 million by the end of January if something isn't done to step up efforts and continue this medical battle. Maggie Fox shares more insights into this raging epidemic.

Question: What's the difference between an epidemic and a pandemic? Find out here.

Monday, September 22, 2014

Superbugs Beware!

Drug-resistant Campylobacter (CNN Health)
Drug-resistant bacteria have been in the forefront of the war that is constantly battled by researchers and doctors when they prescribe antibiotics to patients. Many of the bacteria out there are not affected by many antibiotics anymore.

Now the Obama Administration has created an inter-agency task force to fight these superbugs and come up with better antibiotics. More details are outlined in this article from CNN Health.