What is cross-contamination?
Usually we are not thinking about cross-contamination, and if we are, we think that this concept is related to food production or the healthcare sector. Yes, cross-contamination and its control measures are most often reflected in the food industry or in healthcare institutions, however we all face this phenomenon every day at home, at work or in public places. Therefore, the lack of control or inappropriate control of cross-contamination contaminated dirt and bacteria can lead to infections, non-hygienic environments and negative health effects.
Cross-contamination is the transfer of various micro-organisms (including disease-causing) and dirt from dirty to clean surfaces, the transfer of bacteria or dirt from higher risk areas to low risk areas, for example, the transfer of various microbes from the surfaces of toilet areas to kitchen or offices tables, door handles and / etc. If cross-contamination is not controlled by appropriate methods, various bacteria and dirt (body fluids and other unpleasant and threatening micro-organisms) can easily be transmitted to other areas where they should not be or where at least we do not like them to be.
We all value a clean working environment. When the toilets and sanitary zones are disinfected, the waste bins are emptied, the floors are clean, and the working environment is clean and tidy, we feel safe and more productive for our work. Numerous studies and surveys have shown that the benefits of clean environment is related to:
- healthier staff
- lack of dirt and the reduction of bacteria to an acceptable level of cleanliness
Clean environment also changes our emotional well-being and condition.
The importance of cross-contamination prevention is not only in our homes, public places, but also at work. Facilities cleaning is closely linked to the prevention of cross-contamination and the provision of a safe environment.
How can cross-contamination be avoided?
Perhaps we would be very unhappy if our work desk was to be cleaned with the same cloth as the garbage bin or after cleaning the toilet facilities using the same cloth to clean the surfaces of the kitchen. Understandable in most cases, our cleaning experts have their own built-in cloths system, which is known only to them and which is not bad either. But if the existing cleaner becomes sick or does not come to work, how to ensure the correct use of the cloths and tools, if all of them are the same colour? How to know which cloth or bucket was used in the toilet? which sponge in the kitchen? and which cloth to clean the work table? Typically, cleaning companies use good practices and have a colour coding system that contributes to preventing cross-contamination and facilitates process control. Thus, if you do not already have a colour coding system or a so-called colour code scheme, create it and apply it to your work environment, or combine this system with your cleaning service provider. Colour coding systems are applied in a variety of specific companies, ranging from food industry to admin buildings, from supermarkets to hotels and hospitals.
The following colour code is recommended and most commonly used:
Red colour: for cleaning utensils and urinals and for cleaning the toilet floor.
Yellow or orange colour: to clean all surfaces of other sanitary zones (sinks, hygiene holders, doors, walls, etc.).
Green colour – kitchen cleaners for cleaning surfaces.
Blue colour – for cleaning corridors, offices and other cabinets.
In case of specific needs, the colour coding system can be expanded by adding more colours.
Do not forget:
- when implementing the colour coding system, cleaning specialists must be trained to use it correctly;
- the existing colour coding system must be regularly checked and inspected in order to ensure the maximum efficiency of this system.
- if you have a colour coding system, the encoded tools should not be mixed or the cloths and tools of different colours should not be combined, only then the effectiveness of this system is achieved;
- hand hygiene (hand washing and / or manual antiseptics) is an integral part of the prevention of cross-contamination and should be maintained continuously (for example, after cleaning the kitchenette, the hands should be washed as well as gloves are removed after cleaning task).
Need more information? Don’t be shy, feel free to contact QUALITAS PRIMUM, tel. +370 613 83700, e-mail: [email protected]