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Cleaning for People with Special Needs

One of the primary goals of a green cleaning and maintenance program is to protect the health of building occupants. This is done in many ways, including the identification and removal of harmful contaminants, such as particulates, mould spores, bacteria, and viruses.

While the cleaning process is intended to reduce exposure to these and other harmful contaminants, improper methods and cleaning products themselves can cause adverse health impacts. This is especially true for people sensitive to fragrances, those with asthma and allergies, and those with impaired immune systems because of cancer and other health conditions.

For these individuals, accommodations should be made relative to byproducts of cleaning activities, such as VOCs, dust, noise levels, and other factors. Pet dander is often carried on clothing and by other means throughout facilities, affecting people with sensitivities to pet allergens.

Understanding these sensitivities is essential for accommodating occupants. In some cases, different product selection may be necessary, the time of day that cleaning takes place may need to be altered, occupants who are reacting to substances may need to be relocated or diverted to other areas within the building, or other interventions may be required, such as vacuuming with HEPA filtered vacuums to remove or reduce pet dander and other particulates.

In most cases, effective accommodations cannot be achieved by the cleaning staff alone, but require everyone, including the affected individuals, to work together to achieve the best outcome.

Cleaning Operations

In situations where cleaning operations have the potential to adversely affect members of a vulnerable population, the building manager should:

  • Schedule daily cleaning activities to avoid their exposure to the cleaning process.
  • Adopt alternative cleaning practices that minimise or make unnecessary the use of cleaning chemicals.
  • Use cleaning chemicals in areas only where sufficient ventilation is present to allow airborne substances to dissipate before the area becomes repopulated. cleaning procedures and Products 27.
  • Provide additional ventilation through the use of blowers to enhance the rate of chemical dissipation.
  • Conduct cleaning operations in a manner that prevents the transfer of impacts to other areas of the building that may contain vulnerable populations.

Action Items

  • Identify building occupants with specific needs or sensitivities.
  • Develop a plan to address these issues.
  • Change products and/or cleaning schedules as necessary to accommodate them.
  • Address ventilation requirements to help mitigate problems related to indoor air quality (IAQ).

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