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Infection Control News

What is facility hygiene

Facility Hygiene is the effort required to make spaces clean and safe from contaminants and pathogens that can cause irritation, illness or death. The concept applies to any property or area where people or animals might be impacted by contact with potentially hazardous pollutants found on surfaces, in food or water, or in airborne form.

For some industries, facility hygiene is of paramount importance for infection control, including Healthcare, Food Services, Education/Schools, and Hospitality. High-density and/or high-risk populations present special challenges to prevent or contain infectious outbreaks or biological hazards.

Facility Hygiene Certification

For employers and facility managers, maintaining facility hygiene requires a comprehensive approach that includes managed preventative maintenance, proven infection control systems, and well-designed emergency response plans. Typically, the training and education to fully vet an environment for potential or existing biological dangers are beyond that of the average facility manager. In fact, they are often beyond those offered by well-known disaster recovery and clean-up contractors. A number of government and industry organizations certify qualified professionals. These organizations offer certification to individuals that have had prequalified training, experience, and show retention of knowledge in the recognition, testing, control and mitigation of occupational and environmental biological hazards in facilities by passing a rigorous proctored exam. Some of these organizations include the American Board of Industry Hygiene, American Council for Accredited Certification, American Bio-Recovery Association, National Environmental Health Association and the American Biological Safety Association.

Facility Hygiene Audits

Regular facility hygiene audits are essential to proper facility management, especially in those in the high-density/risk arena. For healthcare facilities, for instance, explicit biohazard prevention procedures are normally mandated. For schools, food service and food prep areas, and hotels, the potential hazard spots can be less obvious. An audit will examine the facility itself, HVAC and air systems, engineering controls, operating and safety procedures to identify existing or potential threats.

Facility Management and Infection Control

From an audit, appropriate preventative maintenance plans can be created and effective infection control systems implemented. These may include daily and monthly cleaning schedules, specific cleaning and disinfection instructions, hazardous waste removal procedures, pest control needs, and mold inspection schedules. It may include identifying professional contractors available to the facility who have the necessary certifications to perform the prescribed tasks. It should also specify annual HVAC system inspections, including air handling units (AHUs), looking for signs of dust, mold and deterioration.

Biological Hazard Mitigation and Disaster Recovery

Facility managers should have business continuity and disaster recovery plans in place before they’re needed. Most typically these address physical catastrophes like fire, flood, or storm and wind damage. They don’t often include biohazards, which can be much quieter and less visible – but potentially more deadly. Another output from the audit process will be an identification of potential dangers and specific immediate and follow-up remedies, and identification of all internal and external resources needed for each.

Facility Hygiene, in short, means keeping your facility healthier and safer for your employees, customers, and visitors.

ICT: First in Infection Control and Biological Decontamination. Infection Control Technologies, (ICT) a division of Insurance Restoration Specialists, Inc. (IRS) is one of the nation’s leading Building Hygiene contractors. ICT provides Facility Hygiene Services and Emergency Decontamination for some of the nation’s most respected real estate and Risk Management Professionals, Health Care, Municipalities, Institutions, Food Safety, Transportation, and government organizations.