Colour Coding has been a process used by Thames Valley Cleaning for many years. During the current times it is even more essential to ensure that staff are well trained in the use of colour coding to help stop cross contamination. We invest heavily in easy identification of the correct cloths, mops, buckets and products via colour coding to be used in different areas of schools, office and medical buildings.
Due to the current outbreak of the Corona Virus which shows itself as a respiratory illness that was first uncovered in China in January of 2020, it is important to understand what cleaning operatives can do to help prevent the spread of infection whilst also protecting themselves. The virus, believed to be from the same strain as the SARS virus, has presented itself as a respiratory illness with varying levels of severity from minor symptoms to death. As with any virus, the spread can be rapid with person to person contact enabling it to spread at pace. Any form of infection is created by exposure to harmful micro-organisms such as bacteria, fungi, viruses and internal parasites.
Routes of InfectionMicro-organisms which can cause infection are generally spread by one of four main routes:
1. Airborne Transmission: Transmitted through the air, coughing, sneezing, or contaminated dusts can result in respiratory discharge into the air we breathe.
2. Faecal-Oral Transmission: Transmission through touch by not washing your hands effectively after using the toilet and transferring micro-organisms to touchpoints that could be passed onto other individuals touching the same point.
3. Direct Contact Transmission: Transmission from person to person or even animals, the transfer of micro-organisms from anything that is touched.
4. Blood and Body Fluid Transmission: Transmission through the penetration of skin from an injury or a contaminated needle, or other sharp object resulting in the breaking of the skin. It can even be caused by an animal or insect bite.
What can we do to help prevent the spread?
Standard precautionary measures need to be applied in order to help prevent the risk of spread of any infection. Not all infections are possible to identify straight away, or how any infection is spread may not be known in the early stages of an outbreak. We can help and contribute to the prevention and reduce the risk by applying good standard precautionary practices such as the following:
• Achieving good hand hygiene
• Correct use of personal protective equipment (PPE) such as gloves, aprons, masks etc.
• Managing sharps
• Disposing of waste appropriately
• Accident management
• Managing spillages of blood and body fluids
• Achieving and maintaining a clean environment
Achieving Good Hand Hygiene Effective hand hygiene is one of the simplest and important measures we can adopt to help control the risk of infection. Handwashing needs to be thorough and methodical to ensure your hands are sufficiently cleaned.
Disposable gloves should be worn whenever there might be contact with body fluids, mucous membranes, non-intact skin or chemicals. Disposable gloves are for single use only, and they must be removed and discarded appropriately as soon as the task is completed.Hands must always be washed following the removal of disposable gloves; gloves are not a substitute for handwashing. Correct colour-coding must be adhered to when choosing disposable gloves for the relevant task. The type of disposable glove in use may vary dependant on the user, and a risk assessment may be required where any risk of sensitivity or allergy is identified to find the most suitable glove for the operative.
Disposable Plastics Aprons:
Disposable plastic aprons should be worn whenever there is a risk of contaminating clothing with body fluids, or there is a known infection. Disposable plastic aprons are for single use only, and they must be removed and discarded appropriately as soon as the task is completed. Correct colour-coding must be adhered to when choosing disposable plastic aprons for the relevant task.
Masks, Visors and Eye protection:
Where the risk assessment for the task identifies the use of masks and eye protection, or when any activity may cause body fluids or substances to splash into the eyes, face or mouth then masks and relevant eye protection must be worn. Masks specifically will be a requirement when there is suspicion or evidence of any infection that can be spread through airborne transmission. Operatives must ensure the mask is fitted correctly and changed regularly between areas. Any mask used must be disposed of appropriately on the completion of the task.
The BICSc colour-coding system is a method of cleaning that reduces the risk of cross-contamination. This is done by segregating areas of a site by different coloured categories. Areas include clinical (healthcare), sanitary appliances (washroom), general food and bar use, general washrooms, general lower risk areas and bespoke or site-specific. By following a colour-coding system, you will ensure that cleaning standards are improved, and cross-contamination is prevented.