Defining Cleaning Standards
Protocol For Cleaning Facilities
BY Mervin Brewer
Defining Cleaning Standards
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What Does, “Going Green” Mean for Your Facility in Horseheads, NY, 14845 – ACS Facilities Services.
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For many years, the inspection program throughout Salt Lake City School District consisted of three simple standards: “unacceptable,” “meets standards,” and “excellent.” The cleaning expectations are clearly defined and posted on the district website. Everyone from new staff to head custodians are trained on what cleanliness standards each specific area of the building should be held to. And inspectors will hold staff accountable.
During an inspection, assessors will complete a checklist while walking through the facility. The results of this appraisal are shared with the head custodian. And if problems are found, we spotlight them to the manager, with a reminder as to what the expectation is.
It is important to understand that no matter what time of day or night a building is inspected, we do not look for things that are one-off issues. We’re aware that one night a sweeper may miss a classroom because of a parent-teacher conference or some such event.
What we do look for are ongoing cleanliness issues such as dirt in the corners and edges of rooms and hallways, or a build-up of dust or finger marks on touch points. If cleanliness is lacking and standards are not met, we instruct the custodian on what it would take to better the rating for that area, and we encourage they work toward an “excellent” rating.
From time to time there will be areas within some of the buildings that will not meet the minimum cleanliness standards. These become teaching moments where we remind the custodial staff what the minimum standard is and suggest ways to meet expectations. If it is a first offense, a notation is made on the inspection sheet, identifying changes that need to be made immediately. If, on the next inspection, the area still does not meet the standard, it is marked as “unacceptable” and possible disciplinary action would be discussed.
It is important to make cleaning standards and expectations available because they should also be fluid. Things change and the standards need to change and evolve over time.
As supervisors, it is our duty to learn how to better serve our employees. To do this, we must seek out continuing education for ourselves as a way to discover new methods and more efficient ways to achieve the goals of cleaning for health. This additional knowledge will enable us to increase standards in our training and our inspections.
While change is slow, it is definitely something that we can measure by looking at inspections from years past and seeing where we have evolved. Inspections give us data we can use in making good decisions for improving the standard of cleanliness in our department.