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We have Mail: Hospital cleaning
Nice leader last week and your thoughts are spot on. We were able to see the accuracy of these in another part of the country when we were doing some expert witness research and work as part of a legal action we got called in to advise on. As expert witnesses, we also got to view the work and training package of one of the co-respondents. It's not a pretty picture at all. Here's what's wrong:
- Everything/everyone has safety procedures taking priority - except that there didn't seem to be any training in cleaning itself - the hows, whys and wherefores of the cleaning procedure. So the knowledge of the operator was pushed down to the lowest common denominator, where he/she didn't have to think about anything. The system was designed more for a robot than a thinking person. No decisions were required about anything. It was a case of, "Just do your job which we have laid out for you and have done with". This is a reactive system - and they always fail. The company health & safety rules we're dealing with, never stopped a very big legal action
- People making procurement decisions obviously had no idea whether the cleaning products were suitable for the floor coating type, or looked at whether there were alternatives available. In fact the wet floor had a stratospheric slip rating when tested and it was considerably more dangerous than anyone could have guessed. Most of the underlying problem was caused by the cleaning solution. The levels of the dried detergent left on the floor were building up because they relied on using a dry cloth to dry off the floor rather than rinse it with water, or use a free rinsing product, or even use a different system. The dry floor was perfectly non-slip, but if you had put a proper wet deep cleaning system in place just once, you would have seen just how much dirt and old detergent there really was lying around. We've seen this so many times during builders' and restoration cleans. All sealed floors attract dirt, much more rapidly than unsealed - and people should realise this. But everyone does look at shiny floors and thinks "clean" There's nothing new about this.
- As we saw it, there was negligence all down the line. Again the cleaner takes the blame, but should he/she? The blame lies with very poor procurement decisions, lack of knowledge of cleaning techniques by everybody involved and an unwillingness to spend time training people properly, assuming the 'trainers' know what they are doing in the first instance. Most cleaning companies want experienced cleaners but how much do the recruiters/trainers really know?
Cleaning training and cleaning procedures have to be taken much more seriously. It's not lack of money because a good cleaning system won't cost much to put into place, and the NHS has had billions of pounds thrown at it over the years. It's lack of knowledge and applicability starting with those drawing up the tenders and procurement in general, the housekeepers who don't know what they want to get done and don't know what standards they should want, the cleaning companies that don't know how to clean and don't know how to achieve good standards of cleaning. Then there are the actual training courses
The lack of rigor and standards in regular cleaning training courses is horrifying. In fact if training courses spent less time teaching people how to be nice to one another and more on actual cleaning techniques they could be viewed as proper cleaning training courses.
Current training courses do not take a whole area view. An area has to be cleaned and there might be two or more techniques required. Are those responsible for the work taught how or why in what circumstances? No. They are given some basic instructions for using equipment or carpet cleaning or some such but no-one has yet* turned out a course which focuses on the way cleaning is a technical process all on its own with applicability everywhere and in any circumstances.
The reason for this is that very, very few people know anything about cleaning. So the nurse won't know either. That is the picture as we see it. So no wonder you see a poorly cleaned hospital.
* Except us. We do know exactly what's required. We know just what works and what will not, and after seven years of trial and error (based on 20+ years of industrial cleaning experience) have just produced training courses which do take a holistic and very different technical view of cleaning skills. These courses are unique and will give cleaners a very different view of cleaning as a skill rather than a chore. You'll be surprised just how much knowledge is involved and covered to make it as easy for you as possible. Contact us for more information.
- For strategic procurement and technical support services in all industrial sectors, contact us. We will show you how to be sensible in procurement and not waste your money. We will also establish standards and design tests so that you know that what you want to buy is fit for purpose, and because we are unusual in that we are independent consultants we can make very good value judgements on your behalf. We can design a full cleaning system for you which is environmentally fit for purpose and which carries our guarantee of your satisfaction before we even begin.
Websites: www.cleaningmasterclass.com - The Cleaning Masterclass: The home of the professional cleaner training course and many other manuals covering a wide range of technical and business topics within the cleaning industry.
www.futurecleansystems.com - Futureclean Assured Systems has a team of experts and consultants in delivering cost effective, more environmentally acceptable, alternative cleaning technologies and processes in order to give you faster, more effective solutions to all your most complex and impossible cleaning problems. Look to Futureclean Assured Systems for the capability and technical skills to design and create global unique and bespoke cleaning technologies wherever they are needed.
Mary de Cobos, Futureclean Assured Systems
T: 01946 810867
11th October 2012