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An education in floor cleaning 9 Jun, 2014

An education in floor cleaning

Educational facilities are challenging environments to keep clean, requiring a flexible and knowledgeable approach. Natalie Dowse, Marketing and Product Manager for Truvox International Ltd, offers some tips to ensure floor cleaning results come out top of the class.

If you were to compile a list of the busiest facilities, not just in the UK but right across the world, then schools, colleges and universities would surely be in the top three. Conventional term times are obviously busy, but these buildings are now also increasingly used out of conventional hours and dates. Before and after-school clubs, PTA/ Student Union meetings, fundraising events, sporting activities, evening classes – the list goes on. This means that cleaning services needs to be constant but flexible, providing a top class, clean and hygienic environment, which doesn’t inhibit the use or enjoyment of the buildings or facilities.

Flooring in schools needs to stand up to some tough treatment. Footfall is extremely heavy – from pupils, students, staff and other visitors – plus there are numerous deliveries to contend with, and the movement of items such as chairs, desks and sporting equipment. A huge amount of dirt and debris is walked into educational establishments every day, and seasonal issues such as snow, ice and fallen leaves add to the demands made of floor cleaning regimes.

Clean floors are essential in educational environments for a number of reasons. Dirty floors constitute a slip risk, compromising safety for everyone using the buildings. According to the Health and Safety Executive (HSE), 55% of all accidents in education are caused by a slip or trip. It states that, last year, HSE received almost 2,000 reports of major injury slip and trip accidents in the education sector, which constituted a 5% increase on the previous year.

In its bulletin for schools, colleges and universities – ‘Watch Your Step in Education’ – HSE advises those involved in school management and maintenance to:

  • Get the design right – such as designated walkways in the right place, canopies over doorways and sufficient storage facilities
  • Fit the right floor and keep it maintained
  • Put in the right floor cleaning system
  • Provide the right cleaning equipment in the right place
  • Check cleaning and maintenance procedures are being followed
  • Supply enough rubbish bins  

It also highlights the important role that cleaning operatives and caretakers can play, offering some essential, common sense advice:  

  • Follow floor cleaning instructions
  • Use the right cleaning product in the right quantityUse equipment
  • Clean up spills
  • Deep clean at the end of each day
  • Don’t create new hazards
  • Report maintenance issues

The term, ‘new hazards’, can allude to the problems caused by additional obstacles, such as trailing leads and power cables. This issue can be addressed by using battery-powered machines, which are increasing in popularity, not only because of their safety aspects, but also their ease of transportation and maintenance. Machines must also be able to clean floors and leave them dry enough to walk on in the quickest time possible, as wet floors present another significant slip hazard. Models that are quiet in operation are also more suited to educational environments as they provide the least disruption during lessons, and especially at exam times.  

When it comes to cleaning in educational establishments, safety is just as important as delivering the highest hygiene standards. By choosing a floor care specialist that has a proven track record in providing successful services in these locations, schools, colleges and universities can rest assured they have the best ‘teacher’ when it comes to floor cleaning.

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