UV Technology Not as Effective as EVS Workers in Disinfecting Hospitals

Study finds UV can make up for cleaning shortfalls, but not replace an efficient team

February 13, 2020

Although ultraviolet (UV) technology disinfection can improve the cleanliness of hospital patient rooms, a recent study published in Open Forum Infectious Diseases found it made the biggest difference in rooms that had not been cleaned thoroughly by the hospital Environmental Services (EVS) staff, Infection Control Today reports.

Researchers took samples of methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) and aerobic bacterial colonies (ABC) from five high-touch surfaces in patients’ rooms at a Veterans Health Administration (VA) hospital in Temple, Texas. The surfaces included bedrails, nurse call buttons, toilet seats, restroom handrails, and tray tables. The samples were taken before EVS staff manually cleaned the rooms, after they cleaned the rooms using one of three disinfectants or one cleaner, and after UV disinfection. EVS staff used sodium hypochlorite 10% solution, hydrogen peroxide with peracetic acid, or detergent to clean and disinfect the rooms.

The scientists found that ABC bacterial counts were 56% lower for post-manual cleaning plus UV, compared with manual cleaning alone. For MRSA, the bacterial counts were 93% lower for post-manual cleaning plus UV versus manual cleaning alone.

However, investigators measured the effectiveness of the EVS cleaning crews and found the bacterial counts varied significantly after manual cleanings, proving some individuals cleaned better than others. Bacteria counts also varied according to how long the cleaner was allowed to dwell on a surface, the potency of its dilution, and how much ABC or MRSA was on the surface in the first place.

Researchers concluded that although UV disinfection was found to significantly lower bacteria counts, it provided the greatest benefit by supplementing the least efficient cleaning solutions, disinfectants, and cleaning professionals. They believe an efficient EVS staff properly trained in proper cleaning protocols is the best defense against hospital pathogens.  

Learn how to measure the performance of your EVS team, as well as the benefits of UV disinfection technology.


St. Louis Custodians Approve New Contract

February 13, 2020

Custodians who clean and maintain some of the largest buildings in the St. Louis area voted this week to ratify a three-year contract, the St. Louis Business Journal reports.

The more than 2,000 custodians, who are members of Service Employees International Union (SEIU) Local 1, have been rallying for a wage increase of US$15 an hour. Union representatives say the median wage for custodians in the area is $10.75 hourly and many work two jobs to afford rent and other basic living expenses.

The new contract gives union members an average 14% hourly pay increase. It also gives the custodians paid sick days, additional paid vacation days, and ensures they will not see an increase in health care insurance costs.

SEIU Local 1 representatives have been negotiating with the Contract Cleaners Association, which represents building services contractors, since October. Although union members authorized a strike last month, they did not walk off the job.


Products EPA Certified to Kill Deadly Fungus

February 13, 2020

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) recently certified 11 disinfecting products for use against multidrug-resistant fungus Candida auris (C. auris).

According to the EPA, these newly certified products provide hospitals and other health care facilities with the tools and information needed to help combat this emerging health threat. Prior to these 11 products there were no antimicrobial disinfectants registered specifically for use against C. auris. The EPA worked collaboratively with the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) to ensure product effectiveness against C. auris.   

View the entire list of antimicrobial products registered for claims against C. auris here.

In addition, the EPA stated disinfectants with an EPA claim for C. difficile (List K) have been used effectively against C. auris.

IICRC Looking for Volunteers to Develop Infection Control Standard

February 13, 2020

The Institute of Inspection, Cleaning, and Restoration Certification (IICRC) is now accepting volunteers to assist in the development of a new remediation standard for infection control.

BSR/IICRC S410 Standard for Infection Control During Professional Cleaning and Maintenance of the Commercial Built Environment will outline practical principles, methods and processes to clean, sanitize, and evaluate the cleaning of the built environment where verifiable, hygienic cleaning is required. Cleaning-industry professionals interested in volunteering for the standard’s consensus body can download application forms from the IICRC’s website.

“In the wake of the current coronavirus outbreak, IICRC announces this important standard impacting the health of our nation,” said Brandon Burton, IICRC standards chairman. “We’re excited to build out our standards offerings and invite those with a thirst for knowledge and expertise in these niche areas to join us.”

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