Sun Protection: A Universal Perspective

As part of its commitment to skin care and sunscreen-outdoor-workersprotecting workers worldwide, every year Deb launches its annual Sun Protection for Outdoor Workers Campaign, focusing on the prevalence of skin cancer among outdoor workers and highlighting the importance of sun protection in the workplace. The prevalence of skin cancer is on the rise and not just in the U.S. and North America, but worldwide. The World Health Organization has confirmed that the incidence of both non-melanoma and melanoma skin cancers has been increasing over the past several decades. Currently, between 2 and 3 million skin cancers occur globally each year. One in every three cancers diagnosed is a skin cancer, and more than 65,000 people worldwide die from melanoma each year.  Additionally, skin cancer accounts for nearly 50% of all cancers combined.1

Skin Cancer: Back to the Basics A fundamental factor in skin cancer prevention is a strong understanding of the problem. Particularly during the warm and sunny spring and summer months, the topic of skin cancer surfaces quite frequently; but are we truly knowledgeable about skin cancer, including the main causes and steps needed for prevention? Outdoor workers and employers alike should take a few minutes to review the basics.

Image result for uv protectionAccording to the Skin Cancer Foundation, skin cancer is “the uncontrolled growth of abnormal skin cells. It occurs when unrepaired DNA damage to skin cells triggers mutations, or genetic defects, that lead the skin cells to multiply rapidly and form malignant tumors.” Much of the damage to DNA in skin cells results from ultraviolet (UV) radiation found in sunlight. This damage from the sun can happen years before a cancer develops.

There are two primary forms of skin cancer, melanoma and non-melanoma. The most common form of skin cancer is non-melanoma, including basal cell cancer (deep tissue damage) and squamous cell cancer (small rough spots that grow on sun-damaged skin). Approximately 90% of all non-melanoma skin cancer is caused by UV exposure. Melanoma is the least common form of skin cancer, but the most aggressive. In the U.S. alone, one person dies of melanoma every 57 minutes1 and an estimated 73,870 new cases of invasive melanoma will be diagnosed in the U.S. in 20151. Like many cancers, skin cancers start as precancerous lesions. These precancerous lesions are changes in skin that are not cancer, but can become cancer over time. For this reason, it is so important to know the signs and symptoms so you and your workers can be prepared.

Workers must check their skin regularly for any unusual moles or spots. The ABCDE rule of melanoma will help remind workers what to look out for. A melanoma can grow anywhere on the body so it is important to check your entire body regularly, about once a month, for any changes or abnormalities.

A = ASYMMETRY – When half of the mole does not match the other half B = BORDER – When the borders of the mole are irregular, ragged or blurred C = COLOR – When the color of the mole varies throughout or there is no uniform pigmentation D = DIAMETER – When the diameter is greater than 6mm, but it could be smaller E = EVOLVING – Changes in the mole over time; weeks, months or years.

Fortunately, malignant melanoma is curable if found and treated early.  A delay in diagnosis can result in the malignant melanoma spreading to other spots and organs within the body. If workers have any of the above signs or symptoms, they should consult a doctor immediately.

No two workers are created equal

Image result for worker sun protection

Outdoor workers, particularly construction workers, are at a very high risk of

damaging sun exposure. However, other high-risk targets include horticultural, forestry, telecommunications, maritime, postal and road workers. Based on a field study conducted in Australia, construction workers can be exposed to 10 times the recommended daily UV exposure levels. It is important that outdoor workers understand the risks of sun and UV exposure and know the steps to minimize their risk. Workers should execute safe sun practices like covering up in the summer months, taking breaks in the shade, using sunscreen and drinking plenty of water.

Even though outdoor workers are at a high risk for developing skin cancer, it is important to note that no two workers are the same. Age, ethnicity, family history and other conditions can play a factor in the development of skin cancer. Those with fair skin, a family history of skin cancer, a weakened immune system, existing skin conditions and those that come in contact with certain chemicals (such as coal tar, soot, pitch, creosote, mineral oil, motor oil and shale oil) are all at an increased risk of developing skin cancer. Skin cancer can develop in those of any age, but as workers get older, increasing their time spent in the sun, there is more time for built-up sun damage to the skin, increasing the likelihood. Additionally, although the risk of developing skin cancer is rather low for most African Americans, Asians and Latinos, skin cancer is typically more deadly for these groups. 2

Sunscreen Best Practices

When time spent in the sun cannot be avoided, having a good understanding of sunscreen protection is crucial. Sunscreens of at least SPF 30 are recommended and should be labeled broad spectrum to protect against both UV-A (aging) & UV-B (burning) rays. Sunscreens with a higher SPF rating may block slightly more UV rays, but remember no sunscreen can offer 100% protection. Sunscreen should be applied to clean, dry skin 15 to 20 minutes before sun exposure and reapplied every two to three hours. Additionally the proper amount of sunscreen for an adult full-body application is two to three tablespoons—or about one shot glass full. Make sure to cover all areas of exposed skin including the face, arms, top of the head and behind the ears.

There are very real dangers associated with sun exposure, particularly for outdoor workers; and unfortunately, these dangers are oftentimes overlooked in the workplace. Education is the key to prevention, and we hope that employers will work hard to educate themselves and put strategies and systems in place to protect their workers. Employers who have outdoor workers are encouraged to visit http://info.debgroup.com/clean-hands-stay-healthy-downloads-ca-swish-0 to request Deb’s Manager’s Guide and Poster for Skin Care at Work: Sun Protection for Workers. The guide will provide additional instructions on how to minimize your outdoor workers’ risk of sun exposure.

For more information about how best to protect yourself from UV rays, visit https://www.swishclean.com/uv_protection.htm or contact Swish Maintenance today.  Our Swish experts are available to help you decide which products will work best for your needs. Please contact them at 1-855-GOSWISH (467-9474) in Canada or 1-800-639-7226 in the US, or use your online account at www.swishclean.com. Products may vary depending on location.

References

1http://www.skincancer.org/skin-cancer-information/skin-cancer-facts

2http://www.cancerresearchuk.org/about-cancer/type/skin-cancer/about/skin-cancer-risks-and-causes

Original article:  http://info.debgroup.com/blog/sun-protection-a-universal-perspective

About the Author

Armand Coppotelli is the Business Development Manager & Training for Deb STOKO USA. He has more than 25 years’ experience advising best practices to maintain good skin health.

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Myth: Promoting a Positive Company Image Can Be Expensive

PURELL ES Everywhere System Workplace WellnessThere’s a widespread perception that promoting a positive company image has to be expensive. Organizations often think office amenities or wellness initiatives need to be dramatic to have a positive impact on employees. Companies become convinced they need to build a gym or redesign the entire office; they need to do something dramatic so their employees will have to notice.

But the reality is when you look at actually completing these types of projects, they’re very difficult and costly to implement. It’s much more practical to do small, inexpensive things for your employees that make their everyday lives better and healthier.

Why Employees Appreciate the Small Things

Not all of your employees will hit the company gym, participate in health screenings or engage in other wellness programs. However, if you provide something simple like PURELL® Advanced Hand Sanitizer and PURELL® Hand Sanitizing Wipes throughout work areas, employees are more likely to use these products on a daily basis. In fact, just placing PURELL™ products at restroom exits can have an impact because employees pass in and out of the restroom multiple times every day.

Many companies underestimate the opportunity to enhance their image with something as straightforward as hand sanitizer and hand sanitizing wipes. However, the fact that employees are likely to use these products every day means there is a substantial opportunity to improve their view of the company.

Proven Outcomes: 88% of Image result for employee wellbeingEmployees Like the PURELL™ Advanced
Workforce Solution

GOJO recently conducted a hand hygiene intervention and outcome study at the corporate offices of Medical Mutual of Ohio (MMO), a Fortune 1000 healthcare insurer. The study evaluated the impact of the PURELL™ Advanced Workforce Solution—a comprehensive hand hygiene program, which includes PURELL® Advanced Hand Sanitizer and PURELL® Hand Sanitizing Wipes—had on an office environment.

The study, “Impact of a Comprehensive Workplace Hand Hygiene Program on Employer Health Care Insurance Claims and Costs, Absenteeism, and Employee Perceptions and Practices,” which was published in the Journal of Occupational and Environmental Medicine, found that among employees in the intervention group:

  • 88% said they liked the PURELL™ products provided by their employer
  • 80% said having PURELL™ products throughout work areas positively affected their impression of their employer
  • When provided, PURELL® Hand Hygiene products had more of an impact on the overall impression of the office space than free coffee/soda, low-cost food, filtered water, a recycling program or ATM/banking

Employees also said having PURELL™ products available throughout the office and at their workstations made them feel “more in control of their health and well-being” and “free to interact with co-workers without worrying about germs.”

Landmark Study Shows Reduction in Healthcare Claims and Absenteeism

This study also found:

  • Employees filed 24% fewer healthcare claims tied specifically to hand hygiene-preventable illnesses, such as cold and flu and respiratory illnesses
  • Absenteeism fell by 13.4% compared to the previous year

The PURELL™ Advanced Workforce Solution is highly affordable for all organizations—not just large companies—and is easy to implement. Best of all: its effectiveness is proven, both as a self-funding wellness initiative and a way to promote a positive company image.

By Thom Wojtkun – Market Development Director, Office Buildings, GOJO Industries

For more information on PURELL® Hand Sanitizer systems and increasing employee well-being at your company, contact Swish Maintenance today.  Our Swish Product Specialists are available to help you decide which products will work best for your needs. Please contact them at 1-855-GOSWISH (467-9474) in Canada or 1-800-639-7226 in the US, or use your online account at www.swishclean.com. Products may vary depending on location.

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Protection For Outdoor Workers From Ultraviolet (UV) Rays

How can outdoor workers stay safe in the sun?AdobeStock_103924961-duplex-2.jpg

Roofers, construction workers, gardeners; all spend the majority of their working
day in the light of a silent threat to the health of their skin. Without adequate UV protection, they are putting themselves at risk.

According to a recent study by Imperial College London, working outdoors could lead to one death and around five new cases of melanoma skin cancer a week[1]. The findings from the study were hardly surprising, given that IOSH’s No Time To Lose Solar campaign revealed that despite working outside for up to seven hours a day, only 59% of construction employees regularly applied sunscreen[2].

Understanding the threat

UV light is invisible, and there are three distinct types: UVA, UVB and UVC. Often there are misconceptions regarding when protection from UV rays is required, which can make compliance problematic. UV rays are not affected by sunlight or temperature, and can’t be seen or felt, meaning outdoor workers are often unaware that they are at risk.

Interestingly, it has also been suggested that UVB wavelengths can be beneficial to employees if exposure is minimal and controlled. They can kick off the chemical and metabolic chain reaction that produces Vitamin D. According to Professor Andrew Wright, Consultant Dermatologist at Bradford Teaching Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust, “15-20 minutes of unprotected sun exposure, without skin reddening or burning, per day should be sufficient for most people to produce the required Vitamin D level[3].” It is crucial that Health & Safety Managers are able to establish when UV protection is necessary, and for this to be effectively conveyed to employees.

Duty of Care

Employers have a duty of care to protect their employees from hazards in the workplace and according to Health and Safety Executive (HSE) guidelines, UV radiation should be considered an occupational hazard for people who work outdoors. However, many employers are failing to meet this responsibility, as a study which IOSH conducted in conjunction with the University of Nottingham revealed that 70% of employees claimed that they had never received training on the risks of working outside[4]. It is a problem which is becoming increasingly prevalent, and one in which Health & Safety Managers must help to solve.

The key to combatting skin damage and even skin cancer for outdoor workers is by changing their attitude on the protection of their skin through education and training, whilst also providing employees with effective solutions.

How to effectively protect the workers

When it comes to choosing an effective solution for outdoor workers, it is crucial that Health & Safety Managers choose a ‘broad spectrum’ sunscreen which provides protection against UVA, UVB and UVC rays.

With regards to application, for the average sized adult, it is recommended that employees apply at least one teaspoon of sunscreen to each arm, leg, front of body, back of body and face (including ears and neck)[5]. Where possible, it should be applied to clean, dry skin 15 minutes before the initial exposure, and reapplied liberally every two to three hours. For industrial workplaces, it is also crucial that the sunscreen chosen is both water and sweat-resistant, to ensure that they remain protected at work. Additionally, it is important for sunscreen to offer quick skin absorption to ensure that the hand dexterity with tools isn’t negatively impacted.

For outdoor workers who spend the majority of their day outside, it is also recommended that a high Sun Protection Factor (SPF) is used – either minimum SPF30 or SPF50 is advised. Sunscreens with a lower SPF such as SPF15 will only be able to filter out 93% of incoming UVB rays, whereas SPF30 and SPF50 sunscreens are able to filter out 97% and 98% of all incoming rays respectively[6].

Help and guidance in incorporating UV protection in workplaces is widely available. It is advised that companies conduct a detailed internal risk assessment first, and then implement protection methods. Ideally, these aspects should be formalized into a fully-fledged Sun Protection Policy.

Through implementing employee training and introducing sunscreen dispensers, employers can ensure that workplaces contain more informed employees, who are happier, healthier and will have minimized their risk of being diagnosed with skin cancer.

For more information about how best to protect yourself from UV rays, contact Swish Maintenance today.  Our Swish Product Specialists are available to help you decide which products will work best for your needs. Please contact them at 1-855-GOSWISH (467-9474) in Canada or 1-800-639-7226 in the US, or use your online account at www.swishclean.com. Products may vary depending on location.

[1] Imperial College London
[2] IOSH No Time to Lose Campaign
[3] Professor Andrew Wright, Consultant Dermatologist at Bradford Teaching Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust
[4] IOSH
[5] British Association of Dermatology
[6] Skincancer.org

Original article:  http://info.debgroup.com/blog/protection-for-outdoor-workers-from-ultraviolet-uv-rays

About the Author

Paul Jakeway is the Marketing Director for Deb in the UK & Ireland.

Having recently joined the business in 2015, Paul is focused on raising awareness of the importance of hand hygiene best practice in the workplace to prevent the spread of germs and improve skin health.

 

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STOP THE STINK Addressing odour challenges in washrooms 

Regardless of facility type, keeping restrooms odour-free is a common challenge.

A variety of factors can impact washroom smells, including Image result for stop the stinkthe age of the restroom, type and amount of ventilation, temperature, and cleaning frequency, processes and products used.

Since structural components are more difficult to change, proper cleaning is the best way to keep restroom odours under control.

ROOT OF THE PROBLEM

Identifying the cause of the malodour is the first step in any successful restroom cleaning program, closely followed by removal of the source.

In most cases, urine is the culprit, which becomes a feeding ground for bacteria. The bacteria rapidly grow as the urine changes from acid to alkaline salts. The alkaline salts attract more moisture, which allows the bacterial growth process to renew and causes a stronger odour until the bacteria is destroyed.

Odour-causing uric salts lurk in many areas of a restroom, including in and around toilets and urinals, on tile surfaces, grout lines, walls and ceilings, and even in drains.

THE ENZYME CURE

Fragrance or an odour-control system can be used to mask the stink; however, these products only provide a temporary fix. They do not address the root cause of the unpleasant scent. As a result, the malodour will remain or even become worse with time.

Bio-enzymatic cleaners, on the other hand, eliminate the bacteria food source and neutralize existing odours. They are specially formulated with non-pathogenic bacteria that produce enzymes (a type of protein that breaks complex molecules into smaller pieces), ‘good’ bacteria that allows them to break down soils, an odour neutralizer or counteractant and traditional chemistries that help saturate surfaces. Together, these components essentially eat and digest chemical and organic waste found on tile, grout, carpet and other fabrics as well as in drains. This process is often referred to as bacterial digestion.

What’s more, bio-enzymatic cleaners continue to work as much as 80 hours after they have been applied to surfaces. This is especially effective when cleaning heavily soiled tile and grout. The grout can become cleaner even two or three days after application. An added bonus is odour relief. When bio-enzymatic cleaners are applied to these soiled areas, the organic waste becomes ‘food’ for the bacteria, which consumes it. Resultantly, surface odours are immediately eliminated. With regular product use, deeply embedded odours will diminish over time.

NIX THE MIX

Bio-enzymatic cleaners are often considered safer for the environment and human health than other cleaning products because they harness the power of cleaning chemistry with naturally occurring microbes. However, as with all cleaning chemicals, green or conventional, they must be used according to manufacturer’s instructions to ensure worker safety and optimal results.

Bio-enzymatic cleaners should never be used in conjunction with bleach or chemical disinfectants. Safety is not the primary issue here; rather, there’s concern about performance and effectiveness. In general, bleach and most disinfectants will minimize or eliminate the cleaning ability of bio-enzymatic cleaners. Conversely, the presence of bio-enzymes may degrade the microbial efficacy of the bleach or disinfectant.

Image result for bio-enzymatic cleaners

Jennifer Meek is director of marketing at Charlotte Products Ltd., a leading manufacturer of Enviro-Solutions’ proven green cleaning chemicals. She has been involved with the green and professional cleaning industries for more than 11 years.

For more information about bio-enzymatic cleaners or effective washroom cleaning solutions, contact Swish Maintenance today.  Our Swish Product Specialists are available to help you decide which products will work best for your needs. Please contact them at 1-855-GOSWISH (467-9474) in Canada or 1-800-639-7226 in the US, or use your online account at www.swishclean.com. Products may vary depending on location.

Posted in Odour and Air Quality, Washrooms | Leave a comment

Understanding the Importance of a Disinfectant Label

Choosing the right disinfectant to use and applying it properly is a critical step in the cleaning process. Important information regarding dwell times and kill claims can be found on the products label. These label instructions will provide your staff with explicit information on how to properly use the product. But what is a kill claim and dwell time? Helping your staff understand these important key terms will go a long way in assisting them to do their jobs well and ensure proper application of a disinfectant.

Understanding Dwell Times

dwell-time-1A dwell time is the contact time the disinfectant is required to remain on the affected surface to effectively kill bacteria and germs. Each disinfectant will have a manufacturer’s suggested dwell time; these times may vary and must be followed closely for the product to perform effectively.

According to CleanLink,  cleaning professionals are less likely to follow the instructed dwell time, especially if they are pressed for time. So, although the stress of janitorial work can be overwhelming, following the requirements of the disinfectant is a crucial part of the cleaning process. If the disinfectant isn’t left on the surface for the suggested contact time, the bacteria on the affected surface is less likely to be killed, leaving customers and employees susceptible to infections and illnesses.

Additionally, disinfectants should only be used when needed. Occupational Health and Safety explain they’re discovering that many pathogens are now becoming immune to some disinfectants, as a result of overuse and improper use.  To ensure the safety of your cleaning team, your patrons, the environment, and the efficacy of the product, be sure that your team is using these products only when needed and as recommended.

Understanding Kill Claims

Kill claims are a list of microscopic organisms (bacterias, viruses and fungi) that each
disinfectant is effective at eliminating. These bacterialists are provided on the label of every disinfectant on the market.  Additionally, every true disinfectant has an Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) registration number or a Drug Identification Number (DIN).  This number indicates that a disinfectant has been proven effective, with a minimal risk to the user.

Every disinfectant is different and the labels are there to indicate which microscopic organism they can kill. For example, disinfectants can kill TB (tuberculosis) bacterium, H1N1 Influenza A virus, MRSA (methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus), and other pathogens. However, the disinfectant that kills MRSA may not work against the TB bacterium. Although this may not always be the case, it demonstrates the importance of selecting the disinfectant that is effective against the particular pathogen you want to kill.

Improperly used disinfectants are ineffective, so it’s important to ensure your staff understand the label instructions before applying the product to any affected surface.  This will ensure that the job is completed in a safe and effective manner.

For detailed information about our recommended disinfectants, check out our High Performance Program.  Our Swish Product Specialists are available to help you decide which products will work best for your needs. Please contact them at 1-855-GOSWISH (467-9474) in Canada or 1-800-639-7226 in the US, or use your online account at www.swishclean.com. Products may vary depending on location.

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Understanding the Differences Between Cleaning, Sanitizing and Disinfecting

Petri dish with bacteria coloniesIn today’s society, there are an immense number of microorganisms, bacteria and viruses in a person’s immediate surroundings. And, it’s not unusual to think that performing daily cleaning routines will limit the number of bacteria within the workplace. However, this may not always be the case.

Sometimes, it’s as simple as using the wrong mixture of products or misunderstanding the different cleaning methods and applications.

So why is any of this important? Knowing the difference between cleaning, sanitizing, and disinfecting methods is essential to properly kill the microorganisms, bacteria, viruses, and fungi lingering on surfaces within a workplace.

Cleaning Methods

  1. Cleaning: Cleaning is the removal of dirt, germs and allergens from surfaces. By cleaning affected surfaces with a combination of soap (or detergent) and water, you will remove visible debris, dirt, and dust, but you will not kill germs.
  2. Sanitizing: Sanitizing on the other hand, will help reduce the number of microorganisms present on a surface. It is better than cleaning alone but it will do nothing about viruses and fungus.
  3. Disinfecting: Above all, disinfectants are used to kill microscopic organisms on surfaces. Each type of disinfectant will kill different types of microorganisms, and these kill claims are listed on the label.

Cleaning Applications

It’s important to remember that each cleaning method serves its purpose and you are not required to disinfect every surface, every time you clean it. Disinfecting surfaces that do not require it will contribute to the resistance of microorganisms. The following examples will help demonstrate when each cleaning method is most effective:

  1. Cleaning: Cleaning is most effective when you are removing visible imperfections from surfaces that have a lower risk of pathogen transfer. Examples of a low-risk surfaces would be your floors, or windows. According to an article from CleanLink, cleaning is favorable to your health because it removes the allergens and microorganisms from the surfaces in your indoor environment.
  2. Sanitizing: Sanitizing is meant to reduce the occurrences of microorganisms. According to CleanLink, sanitizers should be applied to food contact surfaces. This method is better to use when in combination with cleaning as it helps reduce the amount of growths that can occur on your surfaces.
  3. Disinfecting: Disinfecting is more suited for killing the microscopic organisms on frequently touch surfaces such as desks, phones and doorknobs. Be sure to read the content on disinfectant labels, as it will have a list of kill claims and dwell time.  A kill claim is a list of microscopic organisms that each disinfectant is capable of “killing,” and dwell time is amount of time the disinfectant needs to sit on a surface before being wiped off.  Each disinfectant is different so be sure to understand the label before you use it. Stay tuned for an upcoming blog with more information on kill claims and dwell times.

Designing a routine that effectively works together, such as cleaning, sanitizing, and disinfecting will drastically reduce the number of microorganisms, viruses, and fungi present on surfaces. This in turn, will lower the amount of illnesses your staff or customers come in contact with, creating a healthier, cleaner environment for everyone.

For more information on how to build an effective cleaning program, contact our Swish Cleaning and Chemical experts today at 1-855-GOSWISH (467-9474) in Canada or 1-800-639-7226 in the US, or visit www.swishclean.com.  Products may vary depending on location.

 

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Hand Hygiene Tips for Back to School

Hand Hygiene KCSchool season is quickly approaching, and as children return to the classroom, parents and teachers can’t help but worry about the surfaces they are constantly interacting with.  According to an infographic from Kimberly-Clark Professional, surfaces that teachers and students touch have 10 times more bacteria per square inch than in any other profession. With so many people coming together in the school setting, it’s easy to see how classrooms can become ‘hot spots’ for germs and bacteria.  Continue reading

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