This is Bob's Typepad Profile.
Join Typepad and start following Bob's activity
Join Now!
Already a member? Sign In
Bob
Recent Activity
Image
Interesting article in USA Today on "Germs at the Airport". There's been some poor science highlighting supposed dangers of passenger touch-screens: seems it's not so big a problem, and easily solved with normal hand sanitation (wash often, don't touch your nose, and so on). And, we face lots of critters every day; most are harmless, and most of the rest are not usually an issue save for the immune-compromised. A bone of contention at airports has always been restrooms - as it has in my profession, commercial janitorial service. Restrooms have been a focus in airport design and maintenance in... Continue reading
Posted yesterday at The Janitors' Closet
Image
Here's a picture article from the Sun, out of Great Britain, about cleaning the underside of the glass in the Grand Canyon Skywalk. We're right down the freeway, in Phoenix AZ. The glass we clean, as part of providing commercial janitorial service, is a bit different. We keep both feet on the ground (as in the photo to the right). Catch the article, and the pictures. Not much more I can say. Continue reading
Posted May 11, 2018 at The Janitors' Closet
Image
"Green Cleaning" programs should involve not only reducing your facility's environmental footprint (things like energy efficiency, recycling materials, product packaging efficiency) but also protecting the health of the humans involved. Makes sense; essentially, what protects people tends to also protect the fish downstream. We've been protecting human health, and our environment, for some 30 years. Here's how: We're certified in Greenguard Environment Institute's cleaning program, originally developed for cleaning schools, hence incorporating an emphasis on indoor air quality, dust control and touch-point sanitation. Using Greenguard's specifications, we keep you healthy via Green Seal certified chemicals, reduced chemical usage, avoiding aerosols... Continue reading
Posted May 7, 2018 at The Janitors' Closet
Image
Interesting proposal out of Brevard County, Florida, in response to the recent shootings. It would allow some guns in schools, to defend against or deter shooters: "... The proposal—Sheriff-Trained Onsite Marshal Program (STOMP)—would be limited to full-time staff such as custodians, vice principals, and cafeteria workers. Teachers are not eligible. Among 700 eligible workers polled by the district, almost 40 percent said they would be interested in participating." It would require some 130 hours of training for participants; one would imagine background checks as well. I quote further: "However, many people are uncomfortable with the idea, including the president of... Continue reading
Posted May 2, 2018 at The Janitors' Closet
Image
Caught another article on disease transmission. I've always favored avoiding hospitals whenever possible; I now discover that hospital beds, and particularly mattresses, are a ready source of hospital acquired infections. Even with sheets changed (and, one assumes, railing, headboard and bedside table disinfected), one has a close to six times better chance of picking up the pathogen from the previous occupant than if he'd not been infected in the first place. I could excerpt, but perhaps better to read the article in its entirety. Not much the janitor can do about that issue. Continue reading
Posted Apr 19, 2018 at The Janitors' Closet
Image
Caught an interesting study, via Cleaning and Maintenance Management, concerning some 36 restroom blown-air hand dryers. It seems the air the dryer blows across your wet hands can have 20 to 60 times the bacteria load of ordinary, non-moving restroom air. No indication as to whether the critters are hiding in the blower, or they are in the air and you come into contact with a lot more of them via the blower. A hint might be that when restroom air is being moved about by a small fan, the readings fall in between the other observations. I've looked a... Continue reading
Posted Apr 18, 2018 at The Janitors' Closet
Image
Here's a pretty good example of how to misinform using statistics. Based on a survey from the National Partnership for Women & Families: " ....about one-third of women surveyed do not believe they are receiving the same pay as men in their organization with similar experience, qualifications, and job titles, according to a survey of over 800 hiring managers and over 800 workers by Career Builder." This is of "full time employees". Sounds pretty definitive, leaving aside the usual caveats about how people respond to surveys. You'll notice, however, that we're looking at annual compensation, not hourly wage. That seems... Continue reading
Posted Apr 11, 2018 at The Janitors' Closet
Image
The trendy touch screens on restaurant tables, replacing people for taking one's dinner order, turn out to be quite germ laden, according to an article in Cleaning & Maintenance Management. And who ever washes up after ordering the cheeseburger, but before picking it up and chomping? Makes sense. In providing commercial janitorial service, we try to keep on top of various touch points around the office. Doorknobs and phone handsets are obvious, but few think about the coffee pot handle, or the touch screen on the microwave. Looks like, in addition to our current sanitation training, I'll have to look... Continue reading
Posted Apr 5, 2018 at The Janitors' Closet
Image
We're a few days into Spring. What does that bring to mind, given that I run a janitorial service for a living? From Cleaning & Maintenance Management: "Ninety-one percent of Americans participate in some form of spring cleaning every few years, according to a recent study by the American Cleaning Institute (ACI)." Sounds high to me. Particularly suspicious was a finding that "millennials are more likely to partake in spring cleaning than baby boomers." I knew baby boomers were bad - but worse than millennials? We don't do spring cleaning. We figure that a client's facility needs to be maintained... Continue reading
Posted Apr 2, 2018 at The Janitors' Closet
Image
It seems that the dome of the Washington state capital is covered with lichen, a periodic problem (one of the many advantages of our hot, dry Sonoran Desert climate in the Phoenix area - not much lichen). The dome authorities have to clean the dome every few years, but face an extra challenge this time; from the article: "It’s about the darkest the stains I’ve ever seen,” said Gizzi. He said that might be attributed to how the dome was last cleaned in 2012. Gizzi said the state chose not to use the traditional chemical cleaner, which was thought to... Continue reading
Posted Mar 26, 2018 at The Janitors' Closet
Image
Quoted a string of health care clinics the other day; a concern at several of them was the constant irritation of grubby handprints on doors, door jambs, and so on - never addressed by the janitorial service. It occurred to me that if the touch-points were not being cleaned, they certainly could not be sanitized. I'm always surprised, looking in my competitor's janitor closets (I run a janitorial service in Phoenix AZ), how seldom I see proper equipment for touch-point cleaning and sanitation. (Touch-points would include door jambs, knobs and push plates; elevator buttons; stair rails; counters; interior glass -... Continue reading
Posted Mar 21, 2018 at The Janitors' Closet
Image
Arizona sports some 40 species of scorpion. All are poisonous to some degree; while none are generally fatal (Arizona has not seen a death in 40 years, that we know of), they can be remarkably inconvenient, and painful. Scorpion season starts when the weather warms in March, and when (as one might suppose) they emerge from hibernation, they tend to be hungry. They eat crickets, spiders and various bugs, and thus are quite useful. Our janitorial clients who regularly employ pest control services thus provide little attraction for the hungry scorpion. But the scorpion might just need to scout our... Continue reading
Posted Mar 20, 2018 at The Janitors' Closet
Image
Quoted a place the other day. Current service is a franchise; besides various service deficiencies, and not being able to handle window washing or carpet cleaning, there's the occasional missed visit (the janitor never bothers to call the client; when the client calls the janitor, he's told something about the car being down). The above one can deal with (given a bit of patience). What took the cake was the video footage showing the franchisee taking his young kids along. Now, we have security and liability issues. Say, the child - unattended, and amusing himself with anything from the paper... Continue reading
Posted Mar 16, 2018 at The Janitors' Closet
Image
Caught an article on a local site regarding dust storms, and the notification there-of. The State Department of Transportation emails dust storm alerts on a county-by-county basis, mostly to alert drivers of an approaching storm and the attendant lack of visibility. Problem is, Arizona has counties larger than some states, so a county-wide alert covers, often. quite a wider area than will the dust storm. So people receive a warning, see no dust storm and suspect they're "crying wolf". The new system will be much more localized and, it is hoped, get more notice and respect. They'll upgrade flash flood... Continue reading
Posted Mar 7, 2018 at The Janitors' Closet
Image
Seems that some 40% of big city air pollution comes not from auto exhaust, but from more personal VOCs - volatile organic compounds - such as soap, perfume, paint and a multitude of solvents. And residue from the soap, and stuff, are catching up fast - this from an article in Forbs, quoting a study featured in Science. Couple of reasons. The VOCs are mostly made to evaporate (what use would perfume be if not in the air?); gas that evaporates is of little use. Also, vehicles have been getting cleaner. Indoor air can be some ten times worse that... Continue reading
Posted Feb 21, 2018 at The Janitors' Closet
Image
Consider Indoor Air Quality. Most of the dust load in your office is in the carpet; that's why carpet is called a "dust sink". Any decent vacuum will pull much of that dust out each evening. Why not invest a few dollars in a HEPA filter to contain, not blow back into your air, allergens, bacteria, spores, pollen and other bad things? Further, vacuum rather than dust-mop tile floors; you'll remove many more fine particles. A microfiber damp mop will help as well. Besides removing more particles than a string mop, you'll use less solution, leave less of it on... Continue reading
Posted Feb 21, 2018 at The Janitors' Closet
Image
From a recent account of the Florida shooter: "On Jan. 5, according to the FBI, the public access line received information from "a person close to Cruz" about his "gun ownership, desire to kill people, erratic behavior ... and the potential of him conducting a school shooting." "Under established protocols," the FBI said, "the information provided by the caller should have been assessed as a potential threat to life. The information should have been forwarded to the FBI Miami field office, where appropriate investigative steps would have been taken. ... The information was not provided to the Miami field office,... Continue reading
Posted Feb 20, 2018 at The Janitors' Closet
Image
Ash Wednesday was last week, so folks are just cleaning up after Mardi Gras. Turns out all those beads pose a problem. New Orleans cleaned 93,000 pounds of them from streets last year, and a whole lot from clogged storm drains. Doesn't sound bad - cleaning is cleaning, and the more stuff the whole of society generates, the more work there is for my folks. But then, there's the taxes to pay for it. And, it seems most of the beads are manufactured in China, with quite low-end labor, and contain lots of lead, mercury, arsenic, and other colorful stuff.... Continue reading
Posted Feb 19, 2018 at The Janitors' Closet
Image
Interesting article on preventing the spread of infectious disease in healthcare facilities (flu, and lots of other stuff); several good points are made. But - the article mentions that shaking soiled linin can aerosolize pathogens, as can vacuuming. Both good points. One would have wished a mention had been made about HEPA filters on vacuums - they will stop all bacteria, and many viruses. Also one might suggest vacuuming, rather than dust mopping, hard floors. A bug in the air will eventually find himself on the floor. A dust mop, or an unfiltered vacuum, will lift him off the floor;... Continue reading
Posted Feb 16, 2018 at The Janitors' Closet
Image
Thought I should deal with this issue again; it's been several years. Those dozen little boxes on the back of the annual service card wired to the top of your office fire extinguisher - they let you date and initial each time you do the monthly visual inspection of the unit. Didn't know that you need to do a monthly inspection? Neither did I, until a few years ago. We're in a restored 1914 two story house, less than a mile from the center of Phoenix. Old wood, untreated, doubtless very dry; wiring's been updated and fooled with, from time... Continue reading
Posted Feb 15, 2018 at The Janitors' Closet
Image
Some notes from a few years ago; still pertinent: 1) Use a not-skid floor finish. Higher end products by reputable manufacturers will meet slip resistant standards; the inexpensive off-brand product that your "ma & pa" or franchised janitorial service picks up might not. Your service should have provided you an MSDS book, covering all the chemicals they bring into your facility (OSHA requires you to have all that safety info); a quick look ought tell you what product they say they're using. Might be a good idea to double check as the job is being cone, just to be safe.... Continue reading
Posted Feb 14, 2018 at The Janitors' Closet
Image
I wrote a bit yesterday about a little consulting I did at a private school, involving what their janitor ought be doing in the evening to help provide the kids a low-germ environment, and abut what school staff could be doing during the day - sanitizing desks, cafeteria tables, and so on between shifts of students. I kind of forgot about the school busses. Caught an article this morning about several school districts working to "deep clean" their busses over the next several days, and apparently hoping to do so weekly. Now, given that a healthy flu virus, and lots... Continue reading
Posted Feb 9, 2018 at The Janitors' Closet
Image
Just returned from a visit to a local private elementary school; what with a particularly vicious flu season and all, they were wondering what we could do for them, and suggest to them, to minimize risk to students. I pointed out the obvious improvements to their nightly cleaning: HEPA vacuums rather than dust mops, cleaning and then sanitizing desk tops, and so on. It struck me that they could have much greater impact practicing some basic sanitation ongoing during the day. After all, kids move from desk to desk between classes, each kid leaving pathogens behind for the next. The... Continue reading
Posted Feb 8, 2018 at The Janitors' Closet
Image
Several years ago, I read and much enjoyed "Nudge", by Richard Thaler and Cass Sunstein, respectively an economist at the University of Chicago and a Law Professor at Harvard. Essence of their argument (from my perspective) is that, by presenting information and options, and organizing decision making processes optimally, one can gently guide ("nudge") folks into decisions that will work better for them, without applying coercion. I provide janitorial service in Phoenix AZ. I quote a lot of janitorial jobs where the current provider is doing as perfectly adequate job, according to his somewhat limited specs. The facility might look... Continue reading
Posted Feb 6, 2018 at The Janitors' Closet
Image
Just a quick note on the current, more dangerous than usual, flu season. Here are links to the latest CDC report, and to a study indicating that folks can spread the virus by simply breathing. On no longer needs cough or sneeze. The article stresses isolation and disinfection in containing the flu. So stay home from work when you first feel ill, and make sure your janitorial service has a handle on it's responsibilities. In passing - why such a bad season? I'll quote the article: "There are several factors contributing to the bad flu season, including an especially severe... Continue reading
Posted Jan 26, 2018 at The Janitors' Closet