Cleaning Standards for Medical Clinics and Dental Offices

OSHAWhile all offices should keep up to date on OSHA rules for the health and safety of the employees who work there, it is especially vital for medical and dental offices to adhere to OSHA standards. An inspection can happen anytime, so medical and dental offices must be prepared. Here are just a few of the standards that medical and dental offices must adhere to in order to avoid steep fines. Read on for more information about cleaning standards for medical clinics and dental offices.

Bloodborne Pathogens Standard

In order to comply with OSHA standards, offices must have universal precautions for everything used to draw blood. There must be a color-coded waste disposal system and it must be clearly posted so it can be referenced if need be. Equipment like needles, gloves, or vials, all must be disposed of in designated areas. There are also cleaning standards for what can be used to clean spills, and how the cleaning supplies are to be disposed of.

A written exposure control plan should be in place in case of exposure. This should include:

  • List of employees whose job might put them at risk of exposure.
  • Procedures on how to avoid contact with bloodborne pathogens.
  • Follow-up procedures to ensure medical exams are given to anyone exposed.
  • Report sent to OSHA about the exposure.

Hazard Communication

Communication about hazardous materials is key to the safety of all employees and patients in a medical office. Signs should be prominently placed to ensure everyone in an area is aware hazardous materials are present.

Hazardous materials include, but are not limited to:

  • Hazardous Waste
  • Disinfectant
  • Anesthetic
  • Mercury
  • Sterilant
  • Pharmaceutical
  • Radiological

Proper disposal and cleanup of areas with hazardous materials are key. Any employee who may have to handle hazardous materials while doing their job must be trained on the handling of hazardous materials.

Finally, a plan must be in writing about how training will be given to those employees. The health and safety of all who come through your office are safeguarded when these standards are met. It is also necessary to note that not just the handling of these hazardous materials are regulated, but the storage and management of them are also regulated by OSHA.

Ionizing Radiation

Signs must be placed in every room which contains x-ray equipment, and must specifically read “Caution X-Ray Radiation”. These signs must also be placed on the doors to the rooms where the equipment is held. Any room with x-ray equipment must be a restricted area. Only employees who have to go into these areas to perform their jobs should be allowed in. These employees need to have monitors on their persons to make sure they are not exposed to more than the necessary amount of radiation. Also, an important part of keeping these machine running safely, and good patient care, involves proper disinfectant.

Exit Routes

As in all businesses, safe and accessible exit routes are posted throughout the office to ensure the ability of staff and patients to be able to exit in case of emergency. These routes must be kept clear of all equipment of hazardous materials in order to allow patients and staff to leave the building quickly and safely. Doors must not be blocked at any time, and hallways must be kept clear of debris. Even the waiting room must be kept clean and orderly in order to maintain proper exit procedures in case of emergency.

Electrical

OSHA Pub. 3073 defines a hazardous area as areas where flammable liquids, gases, or vapors, or combustible dust exist in sufficient quantities to produce an explosion or fire. Careful attention to detail must be observed when cleaning in these kinds of areas. If your office has any of these, be sure to consult your local fire department, your insurance company, and OSHA when installing electrical equipment and wiring in areas where these substances are kept.

As you can see, there are so many different factors to consider, so how do you prepare? There’s a newsletter put out by OSHA to assist offices in keeping up to date, and you can also download standards from OSHA’s website. Of course, it’s important that your staff be fully aware of and trained in all OSHA guidelines. But did you know that you should expect nothing less from your commercial cleaning service?

When you hire a company to come in and attend to your office’s cleaning needs, seek a knowledgeable and trained cleaning company, such as ServiceMaster Commercial Cleaning, to provide a safe and healthy workplace for your employees and patients. Finding a cleaning company that’s not just familiar with all OSHA rules and regulations, but prepared to implement them, will ensure that your office is always ready for an OSHA inspection. Failure to comply with OSHA guidelines for your office could lead not only to the injury of a patient or employee but costly fines from the government. Contact us today to learn how we can help your office be a safer, more prepared workplace.

Is Your Office Furniture Hurting Your Back?

Office furnitureDo you leave each work day with an aching back? If so, it’s time to consider an ergonomic office chair. It’s something you spend 1,900 hours a year sitting in, yet most people spend far more money on desks, computers, and other office equipment than the crucial piece of furniture that supports their back.

Discovering Ergonomics

A simple, conventional office chair is designed for cost savings and easy assembly at the factory. Businesses often purchase them in bulk to set up basic workstations. Until the late 1970s, ergonomics – the science of fitting things to the health needs of humans – wasn’t well established. Most people just tolerated the chair they were assigned at work.

In 1976 the Ergo chair, which was inspired by health-conscious design and new interest in yoga, revolutionized office seating. It promoted blood flow to the legs and better spinal support. These issues had become daily concerns for office workers who spent less time on their feet and more time on the phone and on paperwork.

As computers became part of everyday work environments in the 80s and 90s, so did additional strain on the neck, shoulders, arms, and back. Workers complained, and companies began to seek out ergonomic solutions.

In 2001, The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) issued a much-anticipated ergonomic standard for U.S. workplaces. It required employers to identify and reduce risks of musculoskeletal disorders and to address workplace risk factors like repetition, force, contact stress, vibration and – most significantly for office chairs – awkward postures.

Stress and the Spine

Why does a conventional chair put stress on the body? There are two primary reasons.

First, a straight-backed chair that sits at a 90-degree angle doesn’t contour to the body. It offers no support to the natural curvature of the spine. Because it forces an unnatural way of sitting, people quickly tire of it and begin to slouch.

Slouching not only irritates your grandmother but also irritates your joints and muscles. With repeated slouching, the spinal ligaments overstretch and strain the surrounding areas in the neck and shoulders. You begin to notice persistent pain. Parts of the body may feel tight or swollen.

Over time, slouching contributes to health issues like poor circulation, constipation, shallow breathing, raised cortisol, persistent inflammation, and aggravation of existing musculoskeletal problems. A recent study at San Francisco State University showed that continued slouching also led to lower energy and feelings of depression.

The other reason conventional chairs stress the body is that they have no built-in flexibility. Without thinking about it, people constantly wiggle and adjust in their chairs throughout the day. It’s a way of relaxing the body. You might lean a little to the left to answer the phone, tilt forward to read an email, or sink deeper into the back of the seat when tired at the end of a long day.

Conventional chairs sit immobile, working against this natural body movement. Lack of movement can cause depleted energy, fatigue, and ankle swelling of 6 to 15 percent during the day. For shorter people, non-adjustable chairs can cause the legs to dangle and create even more swelling.

By contrast, ergonomic chairs are built for flexibility. Not only can you adjust them to fit your body overall, you can twist around during the day and feel the chair move along with you. Every part of an ergonomic chair can be nudged to a setting that suits your body perfectly.

Maximum Ergonomic Effect

Okay – it’s time to select the ideal ergonomic office chair. What are the key features to seek out? Experts say an ergonomic office chair should have the following qualities:

  • Lumbar support. It should have a curving S-shaped back that supports both the lower back and shoulders.
  • Adjustability. Both the arm height and the overall height should be adjustable. Some chairs also offer additional adjustments to the angle of the back, the tilt of the seat, and the overall amount of “give” the chair has when you move around in it.
  • Breathable fabric. The material of the chair seat and back should be breathable enough to prevent you from feeling hot. The cushion should be substantial – memory foam, if possible.
  • Swiveling and rolling wheels. A truly ergonomic chair has wheels and a swivel base because the easy movement prevents you from overstretching to reach things.

A Synchronized Space

When you find a chair that has all of these qualities, don’t stop there. Bring it to your space and make sure it synchronizes with your overall workspace. Adjust the chair to fit your body, then scoot it up to your desk and ask yourself a few questions.

  • How’s my posture? Your upper arms should be parallel to your spine, and your elbows and knees should be at a 90-degree angle. Adjust the armrests to support your arms during natural movement and typing.
  • Am I sitting too high? Your feet should rest comfortably on the floor, or on a footrest, without dangling. You shouldn’t have to stretch at all to reach the keyboard. Things you need should be easily within reach without leaning or twisting. About 16 to 21 inches off the ground is usually the right range for seat height.
  • Should I adjust the desktop? If you can’t seem to get comfortable, consider whether your worktop is just too high or low. This includes your computer screen. If it’s sitting too low on the desk, your chin will be tilted down while sitting. The screen should be level with your gaze as you sit with good posture.
  • Is the seat at the right depth? Another aspect of comfort is whether the seat depth – the distance between the front edge and very back of the chair – is too deep or not deep enough. Ergonomic chairs make it easy to adjust. You should feel firmly supported by the back without feeling like you are tipping forward out of the chair.

You’ll know your chair synchronizes with your space when you can move through your normal work tasks without awkward twists or extra strains on your body. When you have the perfect office chair, situated in the perfect office space, it has the Goldilocks factor: It’s just right.

Four Reasons to Keep Your Store Windows Clean

The following guest post was contributed by ServiceMaster Restoration by Zaba.

Storefront window cleaningAre you always on the lookout for little ways to improve your business? In today’s competitive world, who isn’t? Fortunately, you don’t have to break the bank to make some major improvements to your store, restaurant, or office.

Weather, traffic, and landscaping are just a few of the things that can wreak havoc on your windows. Dirty windows make for a terrible first impression for anyone who passes by your business.

Simply investing in storefront window cleaning can change the way you operate, save you money in the long run, attract new customers, and keep your old customers happy.

#1: Good First Impressions

The first impression is always the most important, and that extends to your storefront. When a consumer walks or drives by, he or she is likely to look at your building, even if they aren’t a customer there.

If the building looks dirty and dingy, that person is either going to forget about your store or be turned off if he or she ever does require your products or services. Wouldn’t you do the same if you walked past a similar place? It gives off the impression that the owner or manager just doesn’t care.

Losing potential customers just because you have dirty windows may be difficult to swallow. This is especially true when you realize how inexpensive and efficient commercial window cleaning can be.

#2: Better Window Displays

If you own or manage a retail operation, your window display may be the first point of contact between you and your customer. This is why merchandisers go to great lengths to show off a store’s products in the most creative and attractive ways possible.

Your windows are also a great place to showcase your style, hang signs advertising new products or sales, and show potential customers what sets you apart from the other stores in the area.

Unfortunately, all the creativity in the world isn’t going to matter if your customers are distracted by dull and dingy windows. Your exterior needs to shine like your interior. This is especially important in cities that see plenty of foot traffic. Those passersby are up close and personal with your smudges and grime.

#3: Save Money

If you view commercial window cleaning as an added expense, you are thinking about it all wrong. First of all, not having clean windows can cost you potential purchases, which could cost more than what you would pay for the cleaning service.

Second of all, hiring a qualified cleaning company to handle your windows can actually be cheaper than buying equipment and supplies yourself. Of course, then you or one of your employees has to take time away from tending to your business to do the actual cleaning.

Additionally, if your windows are tall or located in an awkward position, cleaning them yourself can be dangerous. A qualified commercial cleaning service has the right equipment and expertise to get to those hard-to-reach places.

#4: Increase Customer Confidence

Many studies and surveys conducted over the years have shown that shopping in a tidy store is one of a customer’s top priorities. That alone should be reason enough to maintain a clean store, along with spotless storefront windows.

You want your customers to have a pleasant overall experience, from the time they walk into the door to the time they leave with your products. Creating a welcoming environment is part of that experience. It can also lead to positive online reviews and word of mouth recommendations.

Now is the Time to Think About Storefront Window Cleaning

Hopefully, this list has you thinking about cleaning your windows and improving your storefront. With so much business taking place online these days, it’s more important than ever for brick and mortar retailers and other businesses to create the most inviting place possible for customers to browse and shop.

Five Top Maintenance Management Software Solutions

From work order management to inventory control, maintenance management software can take the stress out of a variety of maintenance tasks. We’ve summarized the features, pros, and cons of the top-rated maintenance management software on Capterra to help your business choose the platform that will best suit its maintenance needs, including managing third-party vendors like ServiceMaster Commercial Cleaning that you might be working with.

EZOfficeInventory

  • Average Rating: 5 / 5 Stars
  • Number of Reviews: 239

Features Summary – EZOfficeInventory allows users to track maintenance costs, schedule services, manage vendors, and customize alerts. Their mobile app features QR code functionality and a way to manage service tickets on-the-go. Preventative maintenance benefits from the full maintenance history tracking and actionable service reports. The software also features an integration with Zendesk for customer engagement and insights. Maintenance professionals can try out EZOfficeInventory for free with their 15-day trial.

Pros and Cons – Ease of use, features and functionality, and customer support all receive consistently high marks for EZOfficeInventory users. Several reviewers note the ease of being able to search through inventory using the software, while the barcode scanner also appears to be a popular and well-loved feature. Many reviewers commented on how easy the software was to use, even for those who are not so technologically-savvy. For any issues they did encounter, most users noted that customer support was quick and helpful in resolving those issues.

With its average five-star rating, EZOfficeInventory doesn’t have too many cons listed by its reviewers. Several requests for new features, a more intuitive platform, and the ability to add features without upgrading the account were a few of the cons listed by otherwise satisfied users.

mHelpDesk

  • Average Rating: 4 / 5 Stars
  • Number of Reviews: 456

Features Summary – mHelpDesk is an all-in-one maintenance software where maintenance professionals can manage work orders, scheduling, job assignments for field techs, estimates and invoices, and even payment from the field. mHelpDesk offers a free trial for those looking into the product and features mobile versions of the platform for both iOS and Android. Other features include service history tracking, inventory control, and asset tracking.

Pros and Cons – Customer support is consistently ranked highly for mHelpDesk. Users who had a positive experience mention genuine, personalized support throughout the implementation of the software and when experiencing issues. Reviewers also appear to be mostly satisfied with the features and functionalities of the software, particularly with the option to add custom fields.

For users who gave a low score, ease of use seemed to be an area where mHelpDesk can use improvement. The customer support score also tends to tank in reviews where the user experienced difficulty using the software. Negative reviews note that customer support didn’t appear to know how to fix an issue, and would become unresponsive.

UpKeep

  • Average Rating: 5 / 5 Stars
  • Number of Reviews: 146

Features Summary – UpKeep calls attention to its work order generation functionality, notification system when tasks are updated, and app alert feature. Users can control inventories, manage billing and invoicing, schedule and plan work, and even manage technicians through the software. Pricing is figured per user per month, and a free trial is also available.

Pros and Cons – Reviewers of UpKeep love its ease of use, and many have commented on the quick implementation time and low amounts of training needed to get users on board. The tracking functionalities are also mentioned often in the pros–users are pleased with the work order and supply tracking features. In-app communication is often listed as a pro, as is a quick response time from customer support. UpKeep engineers are also known to be very receptive to product suggestions from users when updating the software.

Even with an average five-star rating, some cons still pop up here and there. Limitations seem to be the most commonly-listed con, including the inability to make work orders in bulk and having to upgrade to a premium account to access certain features.

Maintenance Connection

  • Average Rating: 4 / 5 Stars
  • Number of Reviews: 162

Features Summary – Maintenance Connection is a robust software that allows work order tracking, preventive maintenance, predictive maintenance, asset management, built-in procedure libraries, inventory tracking, purchasing, scheduling, and service requests. The software can be installed on an internal intranet, or hosted in the cloud in their secure data center.

Pros and Cons – For those who fully understand the depth and capabilities of Maintenance Connection’s software, ease of use and functionality are both highly rated. Its customization options for reports are commonly listed as a pro. Many users find they are able to stay more organized, especially in asset management and inventory control. In addition to a helpful implementation team, users are impressed with the training documentation available to them when learning the software and training others on their team to use it.

Several reviewers recalled difficult experiences when trying to contact tech support. While commenting that the support teams were knowledgeable and helpful, it was the process of actually getting through to a support tech that proved to be difficult. Customization, while noted as a pro by some users, was also frequently listed as a con. Some users were upset that customization required upgrading an account, while others were simply overwhelmed by the process of setting up custom options.

Hippo CMMS

  • Average Rating: 4 / 5 Stars
  • Number of Reviews: 133

Features Summary – Hippo CMMS allows users to track service history and assets, manage work orders, calibration, dispatch, and technicians, and control inventory. The software features scheduling and planning functionalities, and preventive maintenance. Certain price points allow for unlimited users, and free trials are available for those interested in a first-look at the software.

Pros and Cons – Ease of use, customer support, and value for money are three high-ranking categories contributing to Hippo CMMS four-star rating. Reviewers consistently comment on the software’s user friendliness and easy-to-navigate interface. One user specifically called out the advanced dashboard option as a significant pro. This effective visual tool simplifies navigating through the system and monitoring different statuses, and provides maintenance teams with interactive layouts.

Some reviewers were frustrated by the slow advancement of the product and wished for more frequent platform updates. For example, while a mobile version exists, users would prefer to use an actual app instead and believe this functionality should already be available.

Potential Dangers of Common Cleaning Products

dangers of common cleaning productsWhen cleaning our homes and workplaces, our goal is to rid them of harmful germs and bacteria. Unfortunately, while they kill bacteria, many common cleaning products also cause damage in other ways through bad chemicals and other hazardous materials.  Learn about the potential dangers of common cleaning products to help avoid exposure to harmful chemicals.

Notable Chemicals

Several toxic chemicals show up with alarming frequency in common cleaning products used in the home. Check labels on your cleaning supplies for the following chemicals, and be aware of the dangers they can cause.

Chlorine Bleach – In the household, chlorine bleach is commonly used as a whitening agent in the laundry. Chlorine bleach can be hazardous in a variety of ways, most notably as a strong eye, skin, and respiratory irritant. If mixed with other cleaners like ammonia, chlorine bleach can release chlorine gas–exposure to which can cause coughing, shortness of breath, chest pain, nausea, and other symptoms.

Ammonia – Common in glass cleaners and other surface cleaners, ammonia can burn the skin or damage the eyes, sometimes even blind, upon contact. Ammonia can also be irritating to the throat and lungs if inhaled.

Triclosan and Triclocarban – Commonly found in everything from hand and dish soap to toothpaste, triclosan and triclocarban have been linked to hormone imbalances and a potential increased risk of breast cancer.

Ammonium Quaternary Compounds – Also known as “quats,” these chemicals are found in disinfectant sprays and toilet cleaners. Some have been identified as a known inducer of occupational asthma.

Nano-Silver – Incorporated into things like textiles, plastics, and packaging, nano-silver is also often found in different types of soap. It gives the natural antibacterial property of silver metal, however, nano-silver particles can penetrate deep into the body, and have been shown to be toxic to both the liver and the brain.

Nonylphenol Ethoxylate – Used in detergents, personal care products, and pesticides, products containing nonylphenol ethoxylate are not sold in the European Union and were banned in cleaning products in California in 2012. The chemical breaks down to nonylphenol, which can disrupt the hormone system and is toxic to aquatic life.

Butoxydiglycol – Found in several common products, such as various Lysol sprays, oven cleaners, bathroom cleaners, and even a few leather and carpet cleaners, butoxydiglycol can irritate and inflame the lungs. The Environmental Working Group (EWG) also lists this chemical in categories for skin allergies and irritants, developmental and reproductive toxicity, and even as a possible carcinogen.

2-Butoxyethanol – Used in spot removers, degreasers, and several products of the “Simple Green” cleaning brand, 2-butoxyethanol is a solvent absorbed through the skin that can damage red blood cells and irritate the eyes.

Hazards in Everyday Cleaning Products and Alternatives

All-Purpose Cleaners

All-purpose cleaners can be great to keep in the house for a sort of one-stop-shop solution, but they can present a number of hazards to watch out for as well. Commonly found in cleaners marked as “all-purpose” are sudsing agents diethanolamine (DEA) and triethanolamine (TEA). Both chemicals can react with nitrates, which are often undisclosed preservatives or contaminants present in cleaners. This reaction can form nitrosamines, which are carcinogens that readily penetrate the skin.

Most household cleaning needs can be met in simpler, more eco-friendly ways. A good scrubber brush combined with warm water, liquid castile soap, vinegar, lemon, or baking soda can work wonders on dirt and grime. If you’re more comfortable working with a premixed cleaner, here are a few safe brands:

Window Cleaners

Many window and glass cleaners contain ammonia, which, as mentioned above, can irritate airways, eyes, and skin upon contact or inhalation. Ammonia can also release toxic chloramine gases if mixed with any cleaners containing chlorine. Some window cleaners can contain a chemical called butyl cellosolve, which can be damaging to the nerves.

As an alternative, just using plain water can be as effective as commercial cleaners. For greasy fingerprints or other harder-to-remove spots, white vinegar or lemon juice can be added to a spray bottle of water. The following eco-safe brands are a decent alternative as well:

Drain Cleaners

Understandably so, drain cleaners represent some of the most dangerous household cleaners available. The corrosive elements found in drain cleaners such as sodium hydroxide and sodium hypochlorite (bleach) can permanently blind, burn the eyes and skin. If ingested, drain cleaners can also prove fatal.

The best way to avoid using harmful drain cleaners is to prevent clogged drains from the start. Ensure your kitchen sink is equipped with a garbage disposal to break down food particles or dispose of them prior to rinsing dishes. Install metal or plastic drain screens in showers and bathroom sinks to collect hair and other drain-clogging elements.

If preventative measures fail, try using a “snake” plumbing tool to manually remove the blockage, or try suction removal methods like a plunger before purchasing a drain cleaner. If you must resort to a cleaner, look for brands that use enzymes rather than caustic chemicals to eat away at the blockage, such as Earth Friendly Earth Enzymes Drain Opener.

Furniture Polish

As with most chemical-based cleaners, furniture polish contact with skin can cause irritation, and aerosol-based polishes can cause damage to lung tissue if inhaled. Many brands also contain nerve-damaging petroleum distillates, which are flammable and dangerous if ingested.

White vinegar and small amounts of olive oil can be combined to create a less harmful furniture polish and dusting solution. Eco-friendly brands will use plant oils as the active polish rather than solvents. Ecos creates an Earth Friendly Furniture Polish, which can be found at most natural food stores.

Laundry Detergent

Laundry detergents often top the list of household cleaners with hidden hazardous chemicals. What’s worse, these damaging chemicals stick with as you wear your clothes and use your sheets and towels. Many popular detergent brands contain chemicals like 2-butoxyethanol, chlorine, diethanolamine, and petroleum distillates. These chemicals can have effects ranging from skin irritation to far more severe damages such as developmental delays, blood issues, digestive problems, and even increased risks of cancer.

Laundry detergent is easy enough to make at home, and health blogger The Organic Prepper published her own recipe with the following ingredients:

  • Two 55-oz boxes of washing soda
  • One 64-oz box of baking soda
  • One 32-oz tub of LA’s Oxygen Cleaner
  • 3 bars of castile soap

Store-bought brands that are safe and environmentally-friendly include:

Air Fresheners

In addition to causing allergic reactions and causing further irritation of the eyes, skin, and lungs, synthetically-fragranced aerosol air fresheners are often flammable as well. A 1999 study also found aerosol air fresheners to be linked to less obvious effects, including illnesses in children and pregnant women. The study, published in New Scientist by researchers at Bristol University, found that in homes where aerosol air fresheners were used frequently, mothers suffered from 25% more headaches and 19% more depression, while infants under six months had 30% more ear infections and a 22% higher incidence of diarrhea.

Popular air freshener brands like Glade and Air Wick contain warnings that “intentional misuse by deliberately concentrating and inhaling the contents can be harmful or fatal.

Fans, open windows, and other ventilation methods can help to clear out odors rather than using aerosol air fresheners. Baking soda is another great solution for odor removal, while citrus fruits can help to naturally freshen the air.

Brands to Avoid

The EWG published a Hall of Shame report in 2012 to highlight some of the worst offenders in harmful household cleaners. Those making the list included:

  • Simple Green Concentrated All-Purpose Cleaner
  • Whink Rust Stain Remover
  • Citra-Solv Cleaner & Degreaser
  • Scrubbing Bubbles – Antibacterial Bathroom Cleaner & Extend-A-Clean Mega Shower Foamer
  • EASY-OFF Fume Free Oven Cleaner
  • Drano Professional Strength Kitchen Crystals Clog Remover
  • Walmart Great Value Heavy Duty Oven Cleaner
  • Lysol Disinfectant Power Toilet Bowl Cleaner with Lime & Rust Remover
  • 2000 Flushes and X-14 toilet bowl cleaners

List of ServiceMaster Blogs Around the Country

ServiceMaster BlogServiceMaster franchisees around the country keep pretty busy providing their commercial and residential customers with the best service in the cleaning and disaster recovery industry, but that doesn’t mean they don’t have the time for blogging.  In fact, many franchisees maintain active blogs, which can be a great source of information about cleaning techniques, industry trends, and news about the small business community in various parts of the country.

In order to help you find blogs maintained by ServiceMaster Clean and/or ServiceMaster Restore franchises around the United States, we’ve started building a comprehensive list of those blogs.  We’ll continue to add to the list as we discover more blogs.  If you maintain a blog for a ServiceMaster franchise and you don’t see it on the list, please contact us so that we can add it.

Alabama

ServiceMaster Restoration and Cleaning (Auburn)

California

ServiceMaster by Melin (Fresno, Merced, Paso Robles)

ServiceMaster by Cronic (Redding, Benatar)

Connecticut

ServiceMaster of Greater Bridgeport

Florida

ServiceMaster Restoration and Cleaning (Orlando, Pensacola, Tallahassee)

ServiceMaster Cleaning & Restoration (Ormond Beach)

Georgia

ServiceMaster Restoration and Cleaning (Columbus, LaGrange, Newnan)

ServiceMaster Cleaning & Restoration (Cartersville)

Idaho

ServiceMaster by Johnny on the Spot

Illinois

ServiceMaster of Lincoln Park (Chicago)

ServiceMaster Restoration by Zaba (Chicago)

Indiana

ServiceMaster by Monroe Restoration (South Bend, Ft. Wayne, Valparaiso)

Iowa

ServiceMaster by Harris (Waterloo)

Louisiana

ServiceMaster Quality Services (Houma)

ServiceMaster Elite Cleaning Services (New Orleans)

Maine

ServiceMaster Fire & Water Restoration (Auburn)

Michigan

ServiceMaster of Flint

ServiceMaster of Kalamazoo

ServiceMaster Absolute (Mason)

Minnesota

ServiceMaster Minneapolis

Missouri

ServiceMaster of Columbia

Pennsylvania

ServiceMaster Restoration by Advanced (Erie)

South Carolina

ServiceMaster of Charleston

Tennessee

ServiceMaster Cleaning and Restoration (Chattanooga)

ServiceMaster Property Restoration (Memphis)

Texas

ServiceMaster of North Texas (Garland)

ServiceMaster Advantage (Houston)

ServiceMaster Restoration by Century (Houston, San Antonio, Austin)

ServiceMaster Southwest (Stafford)

Virginia

ServiceMaster Commercial Cleaning (Radford, Roanoke)

Wisconsin

ServiceMaster Restoration Professionals (Wausau)

Washington

ServiceMaster of Tacoma

 

Online Resources for Facilities Management Pros

facilities management resources In order to help our commercial cleaning customers keep up to speed on the latest developments in the facilities management industry, we have published a list of resources for facilities managers and maintenance professionals on our website.

The list includes 75 of the most useful, informative, and up-to-date resources on the internet for anyone who is responsible for maintaining a commercial building.

We grouped the resources on the list by categories, such as professional organizations, software, podcasts, magazines, blogs, and trade shows.

Each resource is listed with a description and a link to the relevant website.

In order to make the cut, a resource had to have good, quality information that was up-to-date and couldn’t be found in many other places online.

If you are aware of a resource that should be included on our list, please contact us and if the resource in question meets our guidelines for quality and relevance, we will add it to the list.

Top New River Valley Events in May 2017

There’s always something to do in the gorgeous New River Valley, and with summer fast approaching, it’s time to get out and get enjoy it! In this post, we’re bringing you the top New River Valley Events to enjoy in May 2017.

The Pulaski Pedalfest 2017 – Spring Ride

To benefit the Ratcliffe Transportation Museum, riders will start and end the Pedalfest course at the Pulaski Train Station. Three routes are available to ride in this non-competitive cycling adventure and each follows the Dora Connector to the New River Trail. The routes available will vary in distance with a 5-mile course, 12.5-mile course, and a 21-mile course.

When: May 6th, 2017
Where: The Pulaski Train Station
Interested? Find out more at the official Ratcliffe Museum website

Marc Baskind in Concert

From the Mississippi Delta to the New River Valley, Marc Baskind is sure to liven up your Summer with his versatile music and have you dancing the night away! At the scenic Preston’s at the River Course in Radford, Marc Baskind will bring his talents for one night only, so be sure not to miss it!

When: May 12th, 2017
Where: Preston’s at the River Course
Interested? Find out more on Marc Baskind’s official website

Opening Night at the Marketplace

To mark the beginning of 16 weeks of live music, culinary showcases, and craft cider, wine, and beer, Opening Night at the Pulaski Marketplace is the kick-off you won’t want to miss. This 100% local experience will let you experience all the New River Valley artisans and farmers have to offer at the delicious and delightful event.

When: May 16th, 2017
Where: The Pulaski Marketplace
Interested? Find out more at the official Pulaski Marketplace website

The Sounds of Summer Concert

The Fine Arts Center for the New River Valley presents the Sounds of Summer concert to kick-off the free concert season! Come to this lively event for talented local musicians and dancing, stay see experience all the Fine Arts Center has to offer.

When: May 26th, 2017
Where: The Fine Arts Center for the New River Valley
Interested? Find out more on the official Fine Arts Center Facebook page

Lunch at the Depot

The center of the Town of Pulaski is its historic gem, the Pulaski Train Station. Come enjoy the outdoors and have lunch at the train depot! There will be local food truck catering for purchase for a fun afternoon luncheon to start the Summer off right!

When: May 17th, 2017
Where: The Pulaski Train Depot
Interested? More details coming soon to the official Town of Pulaski Facebook page

Enjoy the beginnings of summer without even having to leave the beautiful New River Valley are! The above live and local events are sure to be great fun for the whole family, and each provides a great way to get outside and take advantage of all that our dynamic community has to offer!

We hope this guide has highlighted some great local activities for you and your family to enjoy together.   At ServiceMaster Commercial Cleaning, the New River Valley is one of the regions we serve, and we take every opportunity to connect with and enjoy life within our community and with you!

The Dirtiest Places in the Workplace

dirty workplaceAs the Flu season comes to an end with summer just around the corner, you may not think twice about the germs we’re exposed to in the office. However, we are exposed to viruses, germs, and bacteria all over the workplace year-round, not just in the dreary winter months.

Though many companies invest in cleaning services for their offices, the truth is if the service isn’t thorough enough, your office is at risk of being downright dirty. Not all surfaces are created equal; some areas of the office are much more germ-ridden than others. Read on to discover the dirtiest places in the workplace and how to get them up to par and germ-free.

The Breakroom

Using a tool to measure the amount of ATP, a molecule found in all living cells, mold, yeast, and bacteria, Kimberly-Clark Professional conducted a study by swabbing over 4500 surfaces across several types of workplaces and office buildings.

You might find it surprising to learn that the top of the list of dirtiest spots was not the office bathroom, but the break room. The worst offenders? The kitchen sink, microwave handle, and refrigerator handle. In the study, these surfaces contained a multitude of ATP molecules in 75% of breakrooms tested.

The study’s findings are startling. Many people eat in the breakroom, and they naturally assume that the break room is sanitized to ensure their meal area is germ-free. To remedy the situation, the problem surfaces should be cleaned each day with a thorough cleaning each week to prevent the spread of germs and reduce employee sick days. In the meantime, it is always a good idea to implement hand-washing after any contact with communal surfaces.

Your Office or Cubicle

Another area that beats the restroom as one of the dirtiest places in the workplace may come as a surprise: your own office or cubicle. In the Kimberly-Clark Professional study, personal keyboards, computer mice, and office phones were the biggest germ-hoarders. Most people probably don’t think to worry or sanitize their own area, so this adds to the number of sick days taken each year.

Even if an employee is a diligent hand-washer, their co-workers may not be as sanitation-prone. This leads to the transference of germs in communal areas such as the break room onto many personal items such as computer accessories and telephones.

To combat this, it’s a good idea to keep sanitation tools such as Lysol or Clorox wipes in your personal area and conduct a quick wipe-down of frequently-used surfaces before you leave at night, or even before your shift begins.

The Bathroom

Kimberly-Clark Professional estimates the bathroom to be low on the list of dirtiest places in the workplace due to employee’s awareness of risky germs found in the area. This, paired with regular thorough restroom cleaning, reduces the risk of germ transmission.

The study, however, aimed to show just how many germs of those who fail to properly wash their hands after using the area can spread around the office from the refrigerator to a personal keyboard.

To maintain good hygiene, it is best to always keep up with hand washing, though it doesn’t stop there. Since many may improperly wash their hands, or some not at all, it’s best to use paper towels to turn off faucets after washing and when opening germy door handles as well.

In addition to the quick cleaning tips provided in the above office problem areas, the best solution to keep your office clean is by utilizing a commercial cleaning service.

How a Clean Facility Improves Workplace Safety

Workplace SafetyA clean workplace means much more than having that fresh, sparkling appearance. It also helps improve workplace safety.

The US Department of Labor reports that in 2015, nearly 3 million nonfatal injuries and illnesses were reported by private employers, and just over half of those required days off work, job transfer, or restricted duties. Many workplace injuries and illnesses can be prevented by maintaining a clean, safe work environment.

A well-kept facility has fewer slipping and tripping incidents. Why? Clean, clutter-free workspaces, fewer fire hazards, hygienic conditions, and better overall maintenance contribute to keeping your workers safe. Here are 4 ways a clean facility can reduce the number of dangerous incidents and improve workplace safety.

Cut the Clutter

Cluttered surfaces can hide hazards such as sharp objects, but they can also make it far more difficult to do your job, increasing the amount of stress you deal with daily. However, desktops and counters aren’t the only places where clutter can be dangerous.

When you allow your clutter to obscure stairways and hallways, it poses a trip and fall risk as well as a fire hazard. Additionally, allowing trash to pile up offers a haven for pests such as rodents and insects; rodents are particularly fond of paper and cardboard, so be sure to have a recycling bin (that’s regularly emptied) on hand. Offering plenty of wastebaskets in main areas make it easy for employees to keep clutter and trash under control.

Clean Floors Improve Workplace Safety

Keeping floors clean, dry, and free of spills is the key to preventing slips and falls and improving workplace safety. Be sure to choose your floor cleaning product carefully, as different categories of cleaners are good for different purposes; alkaline cleaners a great for restaurant floors, while acidic cleaners work best at removing rust, scale, and oxidation from floors. Some products may contain chemicals that could damage flooring or cause it to wear prematurely. It’s best to talk to a professional about what’s best for your situation.

In addition to keeping floors cleaner, placing floor mats in entryways can greatly reduce the amount of dirt, dust, and moisture that is tracked across floors. Regular vacuuming and deep cleaning of mats and carpeted areas reduce dust, allergens, and germs, while also extending the life of mats and carpeting.

Disinfect Your Way to Fewer Sick Days

Germs can easily spread throughout the workplace, leading to missed workdays and a miserable, unproductive staff. The CDC reports that in 2015-2016, 62% of the people hospitalized for influenza were between the ages of 18-64—that means the very people who make up the nation’s workforce were among those hardest hit. Routine cleaning of surfaces such as countertops, floors, and walls is an obvious first step, but that Aloe is not enough to stop germs in their tracks.

Using an EPA-registered, hospital-grade disinfectant on any hard surfaces is the sure way to kill germs and keep illnesses from spreading. Don’t forget important smaller surfaces that are frequently touched (aka “hot spots”), including computer keyboards, mice, phones, doorknobs, light switches, and faucets.

Keep the Light Shining Bright

Light fixtures are an often-overlooked area that needs regular upkeep. Dirty, dust-covered light fixtures can significantly reduce the amount of available light, making routine tasks more difficult than they need to be –not to mention potentially dangerous.

Be sure light fixtures are plentiful, clean, and well-maintained. Aside from maintaining task lighting, don’t forget the entryways, halls, and stairwells, as keeping these areas well-lit is also important to a safe workplace. Along with light fixtures, keeping windows clean and clear of dirt and rain spots also allows more light to stream in, offering extra visibility, and in turn safety.

Effective cleaning is an ongoing process, a regularly scheduled part of operations. Sporadic, hit and miss cleanups are ineffective in reducing accidents and illnesses and in the end, can be costly to your business. We can help you keep your workplace safe and clean on all fronts. Contact us today for a quote on our commercial cleaning services, and we will work together to keep your facility at its best!