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While most of the public washroom news I receive, concerns facilities being closed down because it’s more lucrative for the local authorities to sell them off to housing developers than it is to keep them open, stocked and cleaned; it’s the gender designation or mixed washrooms that are making the headlines in private sector and overseas news.
I’ve just received a press release from US company Impact Products that’s made me chuckle. It talks about how, if they have not already, patrons in all types of commercial facilities will soon discover that signs indicating separate men's and women's washrooms are being replaced with ‘gender-neutral’ signs.
Impact reveals that Refuge Restrooms, a site that lists every public, all-gender washroom in the US, says there are now 4,500 such public facilities in the country and that the number is growing fast.
While many of these all-gender signs will say just that – ‘all-gender’ or ‘gender-neutral’ - some creative organisations have decided to add a little humour to their signs, aware that this is something of a contentious issue.
Impact Products, which has a new Personal Care Division manufacturing products specifically for washrooms, says the top five gender-neutral signs uncovered so far are:
“Whatever the sign, humorous or not, we believe restroom users should always have a positive restroom experience," says Impact’s Amy Severtsky. "Clean restrooms, well stocked, including feminine hygiene products and dispensers, are always needed and will always be wanted no matter who uses the restroom or what the sign says on the door.”
While I agree with Amy’s sentiment, I abhor the idea of mixed washrooms and hope they don’t catch on. Meeting a colleague or customer of the opposite sex while touching up one’s lipstick or adjusting a hem or something is bad enough as it is, but being sat next to a man using a cubicle, with just a thin sheet of something between us, fills me with dread. These things are private, after all! And then there’s the safety aspect to consider…
Am I a prude or do you women agree with me?
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This Week's News
'Proud to be made in the UK' says its website and now Matrix is proud to be celebrating its 10th Anniversary, putting much of its success down to the fact that it designs and manufacturers its own machines at its base in Leyland, Lancashire, which means that as well as having full control over quality, the Matrix team can implement new technology very quickly.
"This means we're often able to bring new machines to the market ahead of our competitors," says the company's sales director Mike Osiadacz. "We are extremely confident and proud of our machines; each unit undergoes a very stringent testing procedure and quality check before it leaves our premises."
A team of students from the University of Rotterdam has won the Hogeschool Rotterdam Bachelor Award for its project 'Couveuse Stoplicht'. Under the leadership of Ronald van Gils MSc, Linda Wauben PhD and Onno Helder PhD RN, the students were awarded the accolade against 20 other submissions.
In an interdisciplinary project, the students from the Electro-Technical, Industrial Product Design, Nursing and Healthcare Technology faculties, developed a hand hygiene feedback system to be used in neonatal departments. Using a traffic light system, the user receives a visual feedback which shows whether they have correctly cleaned and disinfected their hands or not.
The worldwide total of accredited ISO 14001 certificates now stands at 319,324 and IEMA reports that the data published this week by the International Organisation for Standardisation (ISO) shows a year-on-year increase of over 25,000 certificates between 2014 and 2015.
Porter Adventist Hospital, of Denver, the US, issued a press release yesterday to say that it is using robots to destroy potentially lethal germs and bacteria that can pose a risk to patient and employee safety.
The release explains that the technology uses pulsed xenon ultraviolet light to quickly destroy bacteria, viruses, mould and other pathogens and cites studies showing that the robots are consistently 20 times more effective than standard chemical cleaning practices.
The Institute of Inspection, Cleaning and Restoration Certification has announced the election of five members to the 2016-2017 Board of Directors. Elections were held during the IICRC's October shareholder meeting in Las Vegas.
New Board of Directors members include Jessika James and Robert Pettyjohn. Joe Dobbins, Pete Duncanson and Kevin Pearson were r-eelected. Also new to the Board this year as honorary members are Scott Mitseff and James Tole.
Proandre, the Spanish firm dedicated to the production and distribution of hygiene, air freshening and scented products as well as accessories for the pest control business, offers a varied range of products - one of which is the Neo Breeze aerosol air freshener, for which Proandre has just launched a new fragrance: 'Love'.
"The new fragrance, 'Love', is sweet and warm, of romantic inspiration... perfect to celebrate love at any age," says the manufacturer.
A specialist dust extraction firm in the UK has launched a 'Dust Doctors' campaign, which sees it offer free dust assessments to businesses - helping them to determine the best ways to improve processes to remove threats to workers' health and production processes, as well as improving overall output efficiency.
With over 40 years' experience, Dustcontrol UK is offering its expertise as 'Dust Doctors' to provide workplace assessments in a bid to encourage what it refers to as 'Healthy Business'.
Henry Kruse, which provides large-scale commercial and institutional customers with cleaning and hygiene products and services, care and medical aids, hotel cosmetics, occupational safety equipment, disposable packaging and catering equipment, relocated its head office from Kiel to Neumünster in early October after about an 18 month construction project.
The third-generation owner and managing director, Kai Kruse, says that the company's success meant that the old premises were simply too cramped. "Our company group, with customers in the sectors of building cleaning, healthcare, hotel industry, catering and catering as well as crafts and industry, has steadily grown in recent years. To ensure that we continue to meet our customers' expectations, we have invested around 20 million euro
Mitie has been awarded a new five-year FM contract with Manchester Airports Group (MAG), consolidating FM services across three airports into one integrated contract.
MAG is the UK's leading airport group, serving over 50 million passengers and handling over 670,000 tonnes of air freight every year, through its ownership and operation of Manchester, London Stansted, East Midlands and Bournemouth airports.
Singapore's National Environment Agency and the Ministry of Transport jointly issued on Monday a Request for Information for the design and development of self-driving multi-purpose utility vehicles (MPUVs) for street cleaning and refuse collection in public spaces.
"Through this RFI, we hope to seek information from the industry, institutes of higher learning and research institutes on how we could leverage new technology to improve the productivity of public cleaning," they said.
Clean Middle East Pulire is the biggest platform for the cleaning industry in the Middle East and this year, the show has grown bigger with three new pavilions, a conference and live demonstrations by the exhibitors.
Strategic partner MECTW 2016 (Middle East Cleaning Technology Week), for example, will provide a platform for specialised cleaning service providers to showcase their expertise in various areas of specialised cleaning and it has been announced that Isnaad, a wholly-owned subsidiary of integrated facilities management company, Imdaad, has come on board as the 'Specialised Cleaning Service Pavilion Partner'.
The Driver & Vehicle Standards Agency launched yesterday a review on proposals to improve rules for approved tachograph centres. These ATCs - of which there are around 600 in Great Britain - install, calibrate and inspect tachographs, which record information about driving time, speed and distance. Proposals include:
- removing the requirement for ATCs to offer analogue tachograph calibration
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Recent UK News
"We have decided to delay the launch slightly to give us time to review and refine the awards with a view to launching a new and exciting programme in 2017," says Peter Oliver, general manager UK, Ireland and France, Kimberly-Clark Professional.
The University of Nottingham is developing an artificially-intelligent sensor system to clean food manufacturing equipment more precisely, which could save £100m a year for the UK industry alone. This revolutionary AI-driven monitoring system could lead to greater production capacity and therefore cheaper food prices for consumers.
The contractor responsible for cleaning Nottingham's hospitals should be sacked for its "abysmal" management, Healthwatch Nottinghamshire has told the BBC. Healthwatch raised concerns over an alleged rat sighting, dirty plates and overflowing bins at the Queen's Medical Centre and City Hospital. It said Carillion, which provides the cleaning services, has shown a "poor record of cleanliness".
Events & Exhibitions
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Loo of the Year Awards
Budapest Cleaning Show