Due to the presence of dangerous chemicals and the sensitive nature of the work performed, commercial laboratory environments often require increased hygiene and sanitation levels provided by experienced service providers.
Commerical Lab and Cleanroom Cleaning Challenges
Commercial labs require a wide range of daily cleaning services ranging from standard surface sterilization and disinfection to hazardous material disposal.
Labs containing clean rooms pose even more significant challenges.
Contaminants negatively impact experiments and sensitive production lines, resulting in costly shutdowns and unavailable facility resources while the area is thoroughly decontaminated.
In most environments, contamination is nearly unavoidable--the point of origin for cleanroom contamination is often the lab or, most commonly, operator and technician hygiene.
According to Camfil;
Absolutely everything, both inside and outside of the room, is a potential source of contamination.
From the equipment used for work all the way down to the very air in the room, everything must be scrutinized and controlled to keep contamination to an absolute minimum.
According to the National Environmental Balancing Bureau (NEBB), the number one cause of contamination within cleanrooms is the staff.
In fact, cleanroom operators and technicians are responsible for 70% to 80% of cleanroom contamination problems.
Preventing lab and cleanroom contamination requires:
- Strict adherence to personal hygiene standards.
- Protective garments and equipment, and;
- Regular cleaning and maintenance.
Lab and Cleanroom Cleaning Checklist
As previously cited, the primary sources of lab and cleanroom contamination are the operators and technicians.
According to Setra;
Personnel are considered to be the biggest threat and the highest source for contaminant material, accounting for about 75% to 80% of particles found in cleanroom inspections.
Personnel introduce particles through skin flakes, oil, hair, yeast and movement, while bringing in external particles from cosmetics, perfume, deodorants, lotions, and clothing (lint, fibers).
Additional sources of contamination are:
- Manufacturing equipment.
- Tools, and;
- Raw materials and products.
To maintain high levels of hygiene and safety:
- Lab techs and cleanroom operators should be encouraged to shower before entering cleanrooms and practice strict hand hygiene while avoiding the use of perfumes, sure deodorants, and jewelry.
- Occupants should always wear the required safety equipment and cleanroom garb to protect the facility from contamination.
Further, the lab should be cleaned every day.
- All horizontal surfaces, including floor, countertops, and benches, should be cleared, sanitized, and disinfected.
- All touchpoints should be cleaned and disinfected.
- Handwashing stations should be checked, filled, and serviced.
- Eyewashing and showering stations should be checked and cleaned as necessary.
- Glass surfaces should be cleaned and disinfected using lab-specific equipment.
- Lab equipment should be cleaned and sanitized as necessary, and;
- The trash should be emptied, and sharps and hazmat should be disposed of by certified personnel.
Finally, cleanroom and lab environmental systems should be checked, cleaned, and regularly serviced by licensed professionals to prevent contaminant spread.
Lab Hygiene and COVID-19
The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has established particular guidelines for commercial labs operating during the quarantine and into the future as facility employees return to the lab, which includes:
- Standard guidelines for social distancing and protective equipment.
- Recommendations for establishing COVID-19 contamination reporting.
- Personal hand hygiene recommendations, specifically pertaining to handwashing, and;
- Surface cleanliness and disinfection recommendations.
According to the CDC;
As more workers return to the laboratory, extra measures may be needed to ensure a clean and appropriate environment.
Reevaluate current protocols for cleaning, use of PPE, and handwashing.
High-touch locations and equipment with a high frequency of handling and contact present a higher probability of contamination in the work area and should be disinfected frequently.
Increasing the number of available cleaning supplies and distributing them throughout the laboratory can encourage staff to more frequently clean surfaces and equipment.
Use visual reminders, such as posters displayed throughout the laboratory environment, common areas, and restrooms, to emphasize the importance of hand hygiene and to encourage frequent handwashing.
Hands should be washed regularly with soap and water for at least 20 seconds. An alcohol-based hand sanitizer containing at least 60% ethanol or 70% isopropanol can be used when soap and water are not available.
Commercial labs are one of the many facilities deemed critical to the nation's infrastructure during the quarantine.
Protecting occupant safety and the integrity of the sensitive operations and equipment inside the facility is paramount.
Outsourcing your organization's cleaning and infection prevention and control services to an experienced provider is a proven method for onboarding vital services without significantly increasing costs or management overhead.
Contact us today and discover why Vanguard Cleaning Systems® is the Standard of Clean® for businesses throughout Northwest Arkansas, Missouri, and Oklahoma.
In Oklahoma, dial 918-960-4450
In Arkansas, dial 479-717-2410
In Missouri, dial 417-812-9777