When cleaning primary school settings, controlling the transfer of infection is of utmost importance. All designated cleaning operatives should be specifically trained in deploying effective cleaning techniques to achieve this, along with ensuring that daily ‘out of hours’ cleaning procedures minimise the long-term effects of spills and soiling.
Most primary settings will schedule their out of hours operations so that the entire setting is cleaned in advance of the next day’s activities. However, it may be necessary to fine tune these cleaning functions to ensure that incidents requiring an urgent response during the school day are dealt with safely, quickly and effectively, since many will require an immediate response if long-term effects are to be avoided. The chief focus here should be the prevention of bacteria transfer and the removal of risks to hygiene, followed by the minimising of damage and effects such as staining.
Preparation is key
In any primary setting you’ll inevitably encounter a personal hygiene issue at some point. To reduce the chances of cross contamination and minimise the spread of bacteria and infection, bodily fluids should always be cleaned up immediately – waiting until the regular cleaning team arrives at the end of the day will carry potentially hazardous consequences.
As such, plan ahead by ensuring your school has procedures in place to help staff deal with such events. Schools should further ensure the ready availability of personal protective equipment, and see that this is deployed in all such incidents to safeguard the individual(s) carrying out the cleaning required.
Practical advice on how to clear up spillages should be clearly communicated to, and understood by, those staff most likely to be responding. Whether due to personal hygiene incidents or not, disposable paper towels or cloths should be used in the first instance. All spillages should be cleaned towards the middle of the spill – spreading fluids outwards will increase the size of the surface area affected.
Once the initial cleaning of residue is complete, personal hygiene incidents will necessitate the use of bacteria-combating products combining detergent and disinfectant, as per the manufacturer’s instructions. Make sure that spillage kits with clear accompanying instructions are readily available, and always used in the event of blood spillages.
With spills that involve other substances, the priority will be to prevent stains or damage. After blotting the affected area with paper towels or cloths, wipe gently with warm soapy water and report the incident to your regular cleaning contractor for advice as soon as possible.
The same procedure should be followed in the event of any semi-solid or grease spills; scrape the spilt substance towards the centre of the affected area, and remove residue using disposable cloths.
By following the steps above you can help reduce the long-term effects of spillages; your cleaning contractor should then be in a position to advise you on how the damage can be minimised, and what specific measures this might entail.
Chan Mehta is managing director at The Cleaning Company.