It’s important to understand the nuances of cleaning a medical facility, as there are many different types of specialized medical facilities with different needs.
In addition to cleaning processes, employee training and supplies for cleaning medical facilities will differ from other venues, which may impact how you bid on the project. If you need to invest time or money into training resources, you will need to factor that in when generating an estimate for the facility. Beyond that, you will also need to consider the types of cleaning products and equipment required for the medical facility you’re bidding on.
Knowing that every building is unique in some way, here are universal protections you will need to take when cleaning any medical facility.
Hopefully your team will never need to use it, but in the event of an accident, you need to have an exposure control plan available and ensure staff are ready to implement it. This is something you will want to have in place before bidding on a project.
According to the Healthcare Environmental Resource Center, an exposure control plan is an employer’s “written program that outlines the protective measures an employer will take to eliminate or minimize employee exposure to blood and other potentially infectious materials.” As noted on the center’s website, the plan must contain at least:
- An exposure determination, which identifies job classifications, and in some cases, tasks and procedures where there is occupational exposure to blood and other potentially infectious materials
- Procedures for evaluating the circumstances surrounding an exposure incident
- A schedule of how and when other provisions of the standard will be implemented, including methods of compliance, communication of hazards to employees, and recordkeeping.
Additionally, the U.S. Department of Labor’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration sets guidelines and has resources that can help facility service providers to properly prepare for cleaning medical facilities.
Equipment, Cleaning Products, and Processes
The training you conduct and any new equipment or resources needed for the job will play a factor in how you bid. For example, the proper way to dispose of hazardous or pharmaceutical waste is different from cleaning the trash in a typical commercial office building, which may impact how you train staff, workload shifts, and prepare to successfully complete the work.
You also may need to review your choice of cleaning gloves and consider which are the safest for your cleaning crew, depending on the medical facility. Do you choose butyl rubber gloves, natural latex, or other materials? Does your team require other personal protective equipment (PPE)? The cost of safe disposable gloves or other PPE may impact the cost of the project if the client wants you to provide your own supplies.
Additionally, if the medical facility has an isolation room, you will need to use different equipment and chemicals than what you use in other parts of the building. This may also have an impact on the time it takes to clean the space and the cost of supplies, so be sure to factor that into your estimate.
There is a chance the medical facility may want or need to provide their own supplies and equipment. Regardless of whether your organization or the facility purchases the materials, these choices will impact your bid.
If you are cleaning a facility that, for example, is open from 5:00 a.m. to midnight, and most of the cleaning occurs when the building is closed, your crew is going to have a tight window of time to get the cleaning done. You may need to hire additional team members to complete the task, which would drive up labor costs.
If it is a busy center with a high amount of foot traffic, the cleaning may be more labor intensive than a facility in a rural space that doesn’t see as many patients. You will still need to clean in the same manner, but a space with a lot of traffic may have a larger amount of garbage, dirtier floors, and overall require more time to complete its necessary cleaning plan.
Patient Age and Risk Level
The age of typical patients visiting the facility will also likely impact how you clean it. Pediatric clinics are going to have toys and play areas for children, who may be sick and carrying viruses. As infants and immune-compromised patients have a higher risk of catching a disease, it is imperative that these play areas are cleaned thoroughly every time a cleaning crew comes in.
On the other end of the spectrum, a medical facility with an aging clientele will also face specific challenges. There may be unanticipated accidents in restrooms the cleaning crew needs to handle. Also, older patients are at a higher risk of slipping and falling, so the crew needs to take extra precaution when mopping high-traffic areas.
Bidding on medical facilities can be challenging if you do not have experience doing it, so start planning now. Keeping in mind some of the suggestions shared in this article will give you a solid head start.