Most facility managers are aware of what “high touch” areas are and why they need to be cleaned and disinfected daily. High touch areas include door handles and light switches and the controls of commonly used office electronics such as copiers and fax machines. They are referred to as high touch because dozens of people may touch these controls or surfaces throughout the day.
However, we must not stop there. Invariably, there are far more high touch areas in a facility than we realize.
For instance, according to a study published in WebMD, researchers swabbed 4,800 surfaces in an office building used by 3,000 employees every day. The swabs were then run through an ATP monitoring system.
ATP, or adenosine triphosphate, bioluminescence is found in all animal, plant, bacteria, yeast, and mold cells. These monitoring systems do not indicate what types of pathogens are present on a surface. A high ATP reading suggests there is a particularly good chance that pathogens that could cause disease are on a surface. For a cleaning professional, this means that surface needs to be cleaned or re-cleaned and properly disinfected.
According to the researchers, the following office building were the most contaminated high touch areas:
· Break-room sink faucet handles
· Microwave oven door handles
· Refrigerator handles
· Water fountain buttons and handles
· Vending machine buttons and handles
· Coffee pot handles
Possibly you see a trend here. Handles on all types of commonly used fixtures and appliances tend to be the most contaminated in an office facility. These should not only be cleaned to remove soils but also disinfected. Cleaning remove soils from surfaces; disinfecting surfaces is what kills the pathogens on those surfaces.
However, we should not stop there. The other areas in a facility that need frequent cleaning and disinfecting attention according to the study include the following:
· Bathroom stall locks. These are invariably overlooked.
· Cabinet drawers where commonly used supplies are stored
· The door to the janitor’s closet
· Janitorial carts. All janitorial equipment, including carts, must now be cleaned and disinfected to prevent the spread of disease.
· Railings along walls
· Elevator buttons and escalator grabs
· Computer touch screens, especially the screens on common-area computers
· ATMs (screens and buttons) if installed in the building
· Any point of sale devices
We should add that most of the cited high-touch areas are found in office buildings. In a school, airport, convention center or hotel, several more can be added to the list. For instance, in schools, desks must be cleaned and disinfected. In an airport or convention center, railings, elevator buttons, and escalator handles must be added to the list. Most every facility will have certain high-touch surfaces that may not be found in other locations.
This is why, and as we have discussed previously, it is very important for facility managers and their cleaning contractors to conduct a high-touch audit. This involves walking through the facility, noting and recording all the surfaces that tend to be touched during the day and that need to be cleaned and disinfected daily. If hiring a new cleaning service, this high-touch audit should be conducted before the start of service.
What invariably happens during these walkthroughs is that managers realize, often for the first time, there are far more high-touch areas in their facility than they ever realized.
The Secure Clean blog is designed to help building managers keep their facilities cleaner, healthier, greener, and safer, in the most cost-effective ways possible. To learn more about us, please take a few minutes to explore our website at www.securecleanbsi.com, contact us here, or at 888-609-1410.