While others outsource, UT-Austin Investing in Custodial Training

Custodians listen to Luis Alvarado, an (OS1) Certified Coach, as he instructs them on safe cleaning techniques during their three-week custodial training program. Photo by Melissa Macaya.

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By Melissa Macaya
For Reporting Texas

While many educational institutions across Texas have outsourced their custodial services as a result of drastic budget cuts, UT-Austin continues to hire and train its own custodial staff under their state-funded program called (OS1). The university only outsources about 10 percent of its custodial services for specialized cases…

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Achieving Green Cleaning

Article from the March 2012 Issue of The Cleaning Gazette

There is a conflict in the professional cleaning industry. The green cleaning movement has pushed for cleaning products and practices that are free of toxins, poisons, endocrine disrupters and known carcinogens. Yet, recent outbreaks of infectious diseases and drug-resistant bacteria demand that pathogens be eliminated from the indoor built environment utilizing “kill” agents (read poisons).

In (OS1), we meet both requirements by utilizing an engineered cleaning process and a scientifically validated process for reducing pathogenic microorganisms. (OS1) strikes the right balance between being environmentally sustainable and controlling pathogenic microorganisms.

Benchmarking Best Practices

For twenty years, we have educated organizations about cleaning processes and products that ensure their worker’s health and safety. Aerosols and volatile organic compounds (VOCs) were first reduced, then eliminated from the (OS1) program. They were replaced by Green Seal Certified chemicals that also provided a source reduction of landfill waste. Mixing chemicals was eliminated. All daily-use (OS1) cleaning chemicals come in pre measured packs so the worker just adds water. This eliminates the danger of chemical overexposure. Although to (OS1) users it is just common sense and education, this is an uncommon practice in the jan/san industry. In addition to safer chemical formulations and packaging, our (OS1) trained Coaches teach their employees chemistry basics including the pH scale, the “4 S’s of cleaning” and cleaning physics. They also train their employees on the correct application of cleaning tools and time. New, neutral pH disinfectants were introduced by PortionPac that effectively kill pathogens, but are safer on surfaces.

John Walker, President of ManageMen says:

“It’s all about knowing the surface and using the right chemical solvent on the soil that is present at the right time. Do it right the first time and you won’t damage surfaces and you won’t have to do it over.”

Disinfection requires not only the right solution, but friction as well, according the the Centers for Disease Control (CDC). The tool of choice to provide that friction is the (OS1) specified Unger microfiber cloth. Microfiber razor-scrapes the surface. It actually cuts the bacteria away from the surface. The use of color-coded microfiber cloths helps prevent cross-contamination and communicates to the cleaning team who is following instructions. Microfiber is also easier to launder because the weave is so tight, pathogens are washed off the surface quite simply.

Maintaining Indoor Air Quality

Even with the presence of toxic cleaning chemicals reduced, indoor air quality can suffer without proper cleaning techniques and subsequently affect the health of cleaning workers and building occupants. It’s vital that contaminants in the air are captured at their source, before they enter our breathing zones. High efficiency vacuum filters and HEPA filters remove those invisible particulates that carry bacteria and mold spores.

Filters on vacuums clog frequently. When filters are dirty, clogged, and not changed often enough, they lose efficiency. Air quality is almost entirely a function of a custodian’s cleaning or polluting functions indoors, according to Dr. Berry’s UNC study. It is fundamental that the practices of indoor environmental management include tracking vacuum filter changes and cleaning.
Catch Dirt at the Door

“Something as simple as floor mats can also make a huge difference”, according to Dr. Michael Berry in the University of North Carolina -Chapel Hill, publicly funded study comparing “Traditional Housekeeping” with the (OS1) cleaning process in 2006.

In (OS1), we specify that the building must have at least a 15-20 foot walk-off mat. That’s at least five steps on a mat to clean your shoes. If you don’t use mats, dirt tracks into the building. Mats are designed to scrape soil from shoes, and carpets have a tendency to hide the dirt. We want to scrape and remove, not conceal dirt.

Cleaning Professionalism

The establishment of professionalism among (OS1) cleaning workers follows their training and certification. They are the true environmentalists of the indoor environment. (OS1) Users must establish themselves as the  “EnvironMentors” to the  building occupants in the indoor environments that we all share.

(OS1) Programs Earn ISO 9001 and ISO 14001

Due to its advancements in quality assurance and sustainability standards, ManageMen (OS1) and two of its flagship programs earned ISO 9001 certification for Quality Management Systems and ISO 14001 certification for Environmental Management Systems. The Boeing Company certified ManageMen’s (OS1) program ISO 9001. This was the first time a cleaning process was certified as a component of the aerospace manufacturing process. Sandia National Labs div. Lockheed Martin achieved ISO 14001 certification for their (OS1) cleaning program in Albuquerque, NM.

With these certifications,  (OS1) programs at Boeing facilities and Sandia National Labs have become the first U.S. In-house cleaning organizations to certify their entire system—more than 1,000 facilities in several states—achieving one of the largest ever volume certifications of commercial buildings. “ManageMen has built both quality and sustainability into our overall (OS1) performance standards and operational procedures,” said Renae Walker, CEO of ManageMen, Inc. “While our commitment has continuously been recognized by our users, team members and business owners, obtaining ISO 9001 and 14001 certifications in two separate companies further validates that commitment and recognizes the company’s drive to meet globally recognized standards.”

ISO 9001 and ISO 14001 are international standards that provide a set of standardized requirements for quality and environmental management systems, respectively. Companies gain certification by implementing policies, procedures and systems that follow and meet ISO standards, which are assessed by a third-party certification body. As part of the ManageMen engineered quality process, (OS1) inspectors annually perform a series of audits and will continue ongoing assessments to monitor compliance.

Since its founding, ManageMen has made quality assurance and customer service core to its engineered cleaning system, both of which are key differentiators for the company’s performance advantage. In addition to third party certifications, the company implements a wide range of quality control tracking programs to maintain the integrity of its process and to ensure an appropriately consistent experience across all (OS1) programs in the U.S.

As a partner and service provider to numerous global companies, ManageMen will now be able to provide these stakeholders with the assurance that it has the systems in place to ensure their properties are meeting the high level of standards that only an ISO 9001 and ISO 14001 certification can provide.

About ISO

ISO is the world’s largest developer and publisher of international standards. ISO is a network of the national standards institutes of some 163 countries. More than 100 of ISO’s members are from developing countries. ISO has more than 18 600 International Standards in its currents portfolio and ISO’s work program ranges from standards for traditional activities, such as agriculture and construction, through mechanical engineering, manufacturing and distribution, to transport, medical devices, the environment, safety, information and communication technologies, and to standards for good practices and for services.


Cleaning Science

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From the February 2012 issue of The Cleaning Gazette

What is mankind’s greatest invention? Is it our built environment?

Man’s oldest invention and one that every human enjoys to some extent is the protective built environment. Humans liberate themselves from the unfavorable effects of the natural environment by an ability to construct and maintain a protective environment. We maintain shelter against enemies including weather, extreme climate, storms, predators, disease, and exposure by the habitats we build, maintain, and clean.

The primary human habitat is a built environment and a sub-compartment of the natural environment. This built environment is the environment most humans occupy more than 90 percent of their time. It dominates the quality of human life and health. It is the environment over which we have the most control. The most important control is primarily through the process of cleaning.

Cleaning is a Science

To understand the important role of cleaning and the contributions it makes to human existence, we need to know three things:

  •  What is cleaning?
  • How does it it work?
  • Why it is important?

Cleaning science includes several subjects . They must be properly understood if we are to understand the field of cleaning and its impact on health? To properly discuss “cleaning,” we must emphasize the objectives and reasons for cleaning. We must also understand and emphasize their importance and value. The science of cleaning includes the following topics:

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1. Effective Cleaning Reduces Risk.Cleaning creates a healthy condition by reducing exposure and risk. It enables sanitation, it breaks the chain of infection and prevents illness. In addition to human health, cleaning protects valuable materials and equipment and maintains the value of property. Cleaning is insurance that prevents crisis and reduces the full range of costs related to property and real estate. Cleaning also manages waste and contributes to environmental protection and sustainability.

 

2. Chemistry of Cleaning. Many aspects of cleaning are based on chemical action. Knowing how chemicals work is fundamental to cleaning. The effect they have on various forms of matter, their protective or risk-reduction benefits , the toxic, unwanted, or unintended effects on humans or the natural environment are all important parts of cleaning science.

 

3. Cleaning in Special Environments. Cleaning is the organized process of removing or repositioning unwanted matter so human activities can take place in a particular built environment. Different environments require different cleaning processes.

 

4. Measuring Cleaning Effectiveness.Cleaning is measured in terms of the quantity of unwanted matter removed. Dr. Berry’s 2006 study at the University of North Carolina showed that effective cleaning when consistently implemented is cost effective and can lead to measurable environmental improvements as measured by reductions in particles, volatile organic compounds (VOCs), and biological pollutants. The assessment of cleaning effectiveness can be accomplished through process audits, environmental sampling and measurement of dusts, fungi, bacteria, and indoor-air particulate matter. Sampling and measurement answers the question, “What happens when you clean?”

 

5. Determining Cleaning Data. In recent years, there have emerged comprehensive programs for efficacy testing of cleaning processes, products and technologies. Too frequently, limited or unsubstantiated claims are made with regard to the attributes of specific cleaning products. In the absence of process or systems testing, these claims cannot be validated. Without testing, tracking effectiveness, outside auditing of environmental sustainability, human activities may be polluting the built environment rather than cleaning it.

 

6. The Professional Language of Cleaning. Every profession and science has a unique vocabulary. A language, a set of definitions, concepts, and terms. For cleaning to truly become a professional, science-based industry recognized by government, health organizations, and other critical constituents, the language of cleaning science must be organized in a systematic manner. This includes seeing cleaning terminology in its proper hierarchy; agreeing on terms; and thereafter publishing and accepting those terms as norms. Antiquated cleaning and maintenance terms should be reviewed, assessed, rejuvenated, or rejected and replaced.

 

7. Cleaning Management. Effective cleaning starts with educated management competency, professionalism, and technical leadership. A well-managed and effective cleaning program includes the following quality-management components: process identification, evaluation, and continuous improvement; management by fact and knowledge for improvement; structured problem solving; effective communication at all levels; valuing human resources; benchmarking and performance measurement; and quality tools and technology. The effectiveness of the cleaning program resides in a well-defined and comprehensive cleaning objective; planned, scheduled, systematic cleaning workloading; the use of specialized, benchmarked cleaning equipment and technology that is tested and evaluated for effectiveness, best practices and safety. Most importantly there needs to be a focused and specialized basic and inservice training provided to the cleaners.

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Cleaning for health first, to be an achievable goal, demands that our industry have a firm foundation in science. It is only through this process—of benchmarking, auditing, disciplined research, critical peer review, and open presentation—that the cleaning industry will receive the recognition it deserves as a science-based profession that is not only focused upon, but able to provide, a healthy indoor environment.

Clean and Green: The University of Texas at Austin’s Sustainable Cleaning Process

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Presented by Robert Moddrell and Corey Wright, The University of Texas at Austin.

For the last decade, UT Austin’s Custodial Services has maintained over 12.5 million square feet of the UT campus using a high-performance cleaning process called (OS1). Developed by ManageMen, (OS1) promotes the standardization of the custodial operation through the use of environmentally friendly products and ergonomic tools. With this process, Custodial Services has maintained a consistent cleaning program across campus despite the size of our operation and varying demands of each building. Moreover, this process has ushered in a sustainable approach to cleaning that is easily reflected in our chemical program, water usage, paper and plastic products inventory, team cleaning system, and indoor air quality.

Are Dirty Schools Making Kids Sick?

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Two seemingly unrelated events were the subject of news stories in the early weeks of 2012. The first occurred on January 12, when the Vermont Senate gave final approval to Senate bill #92, a bill that requires public schools and “approved independent schools” to ensure that only environmentally preferable cleaning products are used to clean the schools. The bill will now make its way to the Governor’s desk for his signature which will transform the bill into law. Vermont’s state owned and leased buildings have already transitioned to “green” cleaning products as a result of the Clean State Program created by an executive order signed by Governor Douglas in 2004.

Banning Germ Killers in Schools

But the perhaps, unintended consequence of this legislation action goes further. It bans disinfectants and sanitizers in public schools. Is this really the lengths Vermont want to go to be “green”? If so it joins the states like California, Connecticut, Colorado, Hawaii, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Maryland, Michigan, Minnesota, Missouri, Neveda, New Jersey, New York, Oregon, Pennsylvania and Washington. It is relevant to note that this legislation has been driven not by the medical community and public health experts but by state procurement officers and purchasing agents in league with the janitorial supply industry.

The Vermont bill allows for the use of disinfectants only when:

  1. Blood, body fluids or fecal soiling is present on any surface; (ignoring that most diseases are spread by invisible germs called pathogenic microorganisms and not visible accumulations listed in the Vermont legislation).
  2.  The State makes a case specific determination that failure to use a disinfectant would create a risk to public health and safety (like MRSA, Avian Flu, SARS, Whooping cough, measles, and the common cold).

Two days later, on Saturday January 14, Dr. Sanjay Gupta CNN Chief Medical Correspondent, aired a report in his series on Toxic America about the sorry, environmental health of schools in the United States. More schools than ever are making kids and school staff sick. While it’s tough to estimate how many toxic schools are in America, most research shows that at least a third or more of U.S. Schools have issues like mold, dust and other indoor air problems serious enough to cause respiratory illnesses like asthma in students and staff. Healthy Schools Network reports that as many as 55 million U.S. children may be attending public and private K-12 schools where poor air quality, hazardous chemicals and other unhealthy conditions can make everyone sick.

The U.S. EPA estimates that at least half of all schools in this country have indoor air quality problems caused by toxic chemical and pesticide use, chemical spills, mold infestations, asbestos, radon, lead in paint and drinking water, heavy metals and persistent toxics, such as mercury, CCA and PCBs.

Other highlights of Dr. Gupta’s story included:

  • A story about a woman who claims school air sickened her son for 53 days last school year
  • New York study finds correlation between building maintenance and illness
  • Studies estimate one-third of U.S. schools have mold, dust and other indoor air problems
  • Connecticut school so plagued with mold officials decided to tear it down

Now the Rest of the Story

Missing from both the Vermont and Dr. Gupta’s story was the recognition of the importance of cleaning and sanitation. There was no recognition that a proven process of cleaning and disinfections leads to improved health, comfort and educational performance.

In 2007, Michael Berry, PhD, wrote a booklet Healthy Schools are Clean, Dry and Productive. Largely ignored, this essay provides leadership for both the “school is making my kids sick” and the “green cleaning” groups. Berry points out that the “importance of a healthy school environment in enhancing the learning process is described in many studies. There is a direct connection between environmental quality, comfort, health and well-being, positive attitudes and behavior, and higher levels of education performance. The quality of the school environment shapes attitudes of students, teachers and staff. Attitudes affect teaching and learning behavior. Behavior affects performance. Educational performance determines future outcomes of individuals and society as a whole.”

Berry wrote:

We need to recognize that the main causes of environmentally related illness in schools are water, food sources for the various bio-pollutants, non-existent or ineffective cleaning, and poor ventilation. We should guard against becoming myopic when it comes to assessing environmental risk in school environments. Too often, we spend a large amount of time looking at air quality alone, especially in recent times with regard to mold. This narrow focus is necessary but by no means sufficient to protect the health of our children and their teachers and the quality of our school environments.

Should the states be banning disinfectants and sanitizers?

To protect health in schools, we need to take a close look at total exposure, and not solely focus on the air route of exposure. Bacteria that come from direct contact with other humans and surfaces cause over 80% of environmentally related illness. The main routes of exposure are dermal and ingestion, not air. Even air poses its most serious threats by delivering bacteria and viruses to sensitive receptors. Sufficiently concentrated airborne mold spore and other airborne allergens, such as cockroach antigen, frequently trigger allergic reactions in sensitized individuals, particularly asthmatics.

Disinfectant and sanitizers are by definition toxic. We use them to “kill” pathogens before they make humans sick. The purchasing agents and cleaning chemical supply marketing organizations who promote the complete ban on poisons and toxins in schools don’t understand what Paracelsus, the father of toxicology, declared in the 14th century “The dose makes the poison.” Using sanitizers are fundamental to food preparation, dishwashing and serving meals. Disinfection of potential cross-contamination points in lavatories, and other common touch points in schools are basic to proper cleaning and school hygiene.

Trainers should expect and be prepared to discuss the risk/benefit analysis of proper cleaning and sanitation. (OS1) has an unequalled dedication to environmental issues. But it also values the benefits associated with properly killing pathogenic microorganisms in the public facilities entrusted to us. The State of Vermont and Dr. Gupta should know about the following scientific studies on the importance of cleaning:

  • Frank Porter Graham Study
  • Alexander Krilov Study

They should also be promoting the benefits and the reported results by workers and patrons in (OS1) facilities like Dixon Middle School and University of Michigan. In 2012, the (OS1) user group will be focusing on three areas to “Protect Yourself” in facilities. They are:

  1. The reduction of asthma-type symptoms due to the performance level of (OS1) that provides negligible dust following the UNC cleaning protocol.
  2. Focus on proper use and application of germicidal chemicals.
  3. The opportunity to dramatically reduce humidity in schools by strategically using portable air drying equipment.

These three strategies are a messaging opportunity for the (OS1) trainers, (OS1) support manufacturers (particularly ProTeam, PortionPac & Dri-Eaz) and the Simon Institute.

Two (OS1) Programs win Green Cleaning Awards

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Dixon Middle School (Provo City School District) and University of Michigan were both awarded a Green Cleaning Award for Schools & Universities in the December 2011 Issue of American Schools & Universities Magazine. The Green Cleaning Awards for Schools & Universities recognizes education institutions for exemplary green cleaning programs. Award criteria are modeled on The Quick and Easy Guide to Green Cleaning in Schools, published by the Healthy Schools Campaign, a founding member of the Green Cleaning Network.

To download the complete digital edition of the December Issue of American Schools and Universities Magazine, please click here.

Congratulations to these (OS1) Programs and all of their hard work in 2011!

Austin Convention Center gets LEED Gold with the help of (OS1)

December 12, 2011. Austin, TexasThe Austin Convention Center is proud to announce that it has been awarded LEED® Gold Certification for Existing Buildings, established by the U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC) and verified by the Green Building Certification Institute (GBCI). The LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) Green Building Rating System is the internationally accepted benchmark for the design, construction and operation of high performance green buildings, which was developed by the USGBC.

LEED promotes a whole-building approach to sustainability by recognizing performance in five key areas of human environmental health: sustainable site development, water efficiency, energy efficiency, materials selection and indoor environmental quality. There are several types of certifications, but two primary ones for commercial facilities – New Construction (NC) and Existing Buildings (EB).

“We are tremendously proud of this achievement,” said Mark Tester, director of the Austin Convention Center Department. “Not only is the Austin Convention Center bringing economic benefits to the city of Austin, it is also a model of sustainability that will continue to set the standard in the industry. Credit certainly goes to the convention center staff’s dedication and commitment over the past four years to obtain the gold level, under the guidance of David Thomas, ACC Operations Manager, LEED-Accredited Professional and Certified Energy Manager.”

“Austin Convention Center’s LEED certification demonstrates tremendous green building leadership,” said Rick Fedrizzi, U.S. Green Building Council president, CEO and founding chair. “The work of innovative building projects such as the Austin Convention Center is a fundamental driving force in the green building movement.”

Austin Convention Center’s sustainable design features and practices include:

  • 66% of all waste diverted from landfill
  • Composted 250,000 lbs. of organic waste in 2011
  • Reduced our carbon footprint by 93% since 2007
  • Facility powered by Wind Energy
  • Reduced electric consumption by 20%
  • Installed LED lighting in all meeting rooms
  • Carpet made from recycled materials, generating zero emissions and installed without using glue
  • Reduced indoor water usage by 32%
  • Replaced 75% of all toilets to low flow fixtures
  • Implemented the (OS1) cleaning program to enhance, standardize green cleaning practices
  • Crushed glass, native and adaptive plants is used in landscaping to minimize water consumption
  • Installed Electric Car charging stations

“We are proud to have one of the greenest convention centers in the country, said Bob Lander, president and CEO of the Austin Convention and Visitors Bureau. “This achievement signifies Austin’s commitment to the environment – and will further Austin’s reputation as a premier destination for meetings and conventions.”

The Austin Convention Center is located in the heart of the capital of Texas, eight miles from the airport and a short distance from 6,000 downtown hotel rooms. The convention center is just down the street from the city’s vibrant nightlife. As the Live Music Capital of the World®, Austin echoes with the sound of country, rock ‘n’ roll, blues, jazz and Tejano in over 200 venues, any night of the week.

A leading destination in Green meetings and one of the country’s most technologically advanced facilities, the convention center stretches over six city blocks and 881,400 gross square feet of space. It offers 370,957 square feet of meeting space including 246,097 square feet of column-free exhibit space divisible into five contiguous halls. Ballrooms of all sizes are included in meeting package options. The 43,300 square foot upper level Grand Ballroom offers space for over 3,000 to dine in style. The Center boasts 54 meetings room and show offices, located on all four levels, with over 58,000 square feet.

Over 7 million people have attended 3,000+ events, including over 700 conventions, at the award-winning Austin Convention Center since it opened in 1992. The convention center expanded in 2002, doubling its size. More information about the Austin Convention Center and its LEED certification can be found on its website at www.austinconventioncenter.com.

(OS1) User News: UT at Austin Makes The Cover of Housekeeping Solutions

Our friends and colleagues at the University of Texas at Austin are the cover story in the November 2011 issue of Housekeeping Solutions. Click on the button below to read an article about their custodial training program, which makes them one of our most successful (OS1) Programs.

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The Future is in the Details: Workloading Workshop