Green or Just Plain Safe

Green_Canada_Flag
What is “Green” all about?
Cleaning for Impression?
For whom? Clients? Friends? The Public at large?
It took more than just a 90 minute stand up act to impress me of the need to clean green. Former Vice-President Al Gore has done more things for the environment than any twelve Greenpeace activists can ever claim to do; regardless of what the masses may think. It took a study that showed me the impact on humans and wildlife. That study discussed the number one cleaning surfactant used for over seventy years.
It took the addition of children in my world.
I can continue to chat about my reasons for my shift in focus. But the truth is that the need to use products and processes that use less energy, fewer non-renewable resources, and safer end results comes from an obvious and extreme change in visible effects on the environment.
Green is not about catch-phrases. It is not about winning over customers. It is not about a picture of a waterfalls or the Amazon rain forest.
The truth is:
We have to make a change; that change is not all that painful. It’s amazing the advances that have been made in the direction of a safer and better end result.
I have just chosen the right way to arrive at it.
Tell me your opinion.

What do you need to know about deep cycle batteries?

Trojan-Family

First and foremost, there are a lot of people who have very strong beliefs about batteries and their manufacture as well as durability. Secondly, batteries where I am concerned are not the kind you use in your flashlight.  I am referring to wet cell (acid) deep cycle batteries that are used in floor scrubbers, golf carts and solar systems.  Solar power storage systems are not relevant to this discussion however.

We sell only one manufacturer’s battery.  Why?  Because we know that if there is an issue with manufacturer flaws it will be solved, and quickly at that.  Most manufacturers have got their goods together when it comes to quality and durability.  From best to worst in class with North American Manufacturers there might be a 15% variance in longevity.  Not bad….  Not great.

What is the issue then?  Why are batteries always so stressful?  Like most pieces of work equipment that break, batteries are subject to user error.  What is the number one user error?  Short charging.  Users operate fully charged machines until they are drained sufficiently which is A-OK!  Here is where the issue occurs.  The operator has 99% of their work done and they just need to get a few minutes out of the batteries.  So batteries are charged for 15 or 20 minutes to finish out the day’s work.  This is a Faux pas.  Simple rules with batteries:  Always charge them 100% before using the machine again, and
always store batteries fully charged.  Case closed 90% of all battery failure resolved.  And millions of dollars saved.  Battery sales guys the world over frown    ; )
How else can batteries get damaged?
• Battery powered machines are used for a few minutes and put away plugged into the charger.
This is not necessary.  Batteries will self stabilize after short use.
• Machines are stored with the power on.  A drained battery will be sometimes irreparable.
• Operators refill batteries with tap water.  Simple rule…  Always use distilled water.
• There are certainly other reasons for failure.  The top five are here.
I could probably do a top ten list for fun.  I just might.

SS500

Speed Scrub 500 Right Side Disk

Sometimes change is good, sometimes it isn’t.  In 2005 the SS5 came out, what is the SS5 you say?   The predecessor to the SS500 of course!

Nobles had made what I believe is one of the most solid pieces of equipment I have ever seen- a workhorse.

Just the same as the Black and Decker Drill designed in the 1930’s, Nobles hit the mark.  A tank on wheels that cleans floors as effectively as any piece of cleaning equipment ever has. When the marketing team at Tennant Company announced that they were going to hand us a new, better version of this workhorse…  You can understand why we were nervous.
The SS500 is all that it could be and more.
What’s new?
• Fewer parts.
• Universality -A lot of the parts are used to make other models in the line.
• A battery refill system that automatically refills wet acid batteries safely and constantly.
• A shorter turning radius and almost perfect division of weight full and empty.

The Power of Oxygen

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The most essential element on the periodic table without a doubt is Oxygen.  Without it life fails to exist. Without it many cleaning processes don’t work as well.  For years, we have focused on using stronger chemicals to remove soils.  Recently we added a new product to our line- Stella Pot and Pan Soap.  We designed it with all the water conditioners that would make it an effective, lasting solution and remove soils quickly.

One thing was missing- Oxygen.  My testing team which mostly consists of family members helped me to quickly realize the stuff didn’t foam enough.  Ugh…  “True, I said but it removes grease from everything it touches”.  “It does they said… But the foam dies and it stops working”.  So why not try to boost the foam and see if it works better?  I did, and it does.  Lesson learned.  The power of oxygen in cleaning is every bit as essential as the wetter water that detergents bring to us.  Foam isn’t necessary in most cleaning processes; but when you clean things with lots of soil it sure helps.

Thirty Seven Years of Sanitation

preview-full-CCE 1986

Thirty-seven years
We have been hard at it for thirty-seven years. Very few things have remained constant for such a long period. Although we have undergone cosmetic changes and our company has grown over the years we have continued to be the best we can be.

About four years ago we set out to reword our company’s mission statement. I realized very quickly how similar my plan is to that of my father’s. Focus on products that get to the customer quickly and with the right advice on how to use them.

I am proud to say, despite market pressure and constant change, things have always stayed constant at Corporate Facility Supply.

    A company that focuses on:

  • The right product delivered by the right people.
  • The support to teach you how to use our product safely.
  • The delivery methods to save you money and product.
  • A constant focus on product before price.

Professional Cleaners

Those of you who have read my blog in the past realize one thing.  I believe that we as cleaners are an under recognized bunch.  I often mention the story from my youth of when I was 19.  Young and foolish I guess, I mentioned to my grandfather that I didn’t want to be a salesman.  His career of 58 years was all spent in sales in one capacity.  So I am sure when I heard this from him that he might have just been a tiny bit offended.

In what was definitely a teenage moment I said to him. My father has told me that if I want to take over his business some day that I will have to learn to sell.  By learning to sell he meant doing so for 10 or 12 years before I started to learn the intricacies of management.  In my infinite wisdom I countered with.  I always wanted to own my own business or be a professional.
Immediately I knew that I had ruffled feathers by his response.  “Chris, what do you mean by professional?  Are you saying that you want to be a lawyer?”  Yes I said.  Or a Chemical Engineer or maybe an Architect.  “Chris you have it all wrong!” He told me.  “No matter who you are, no matter what you do, as soon as you receive a paycheque for your work efforts.  YOU ARE A PROFESSIONAL”  A little surprised but clueless nonetheless the conversation faded off into his aches and pains.

A few years later as I was training a group of cleaners I heard a voice say, “If we are expected to do this we are going to have to get paid a lot better.  What do they think we are doctors and nurses?”

The moral of the story:  If you like what you do.  You will make more than just great money as any professional should.  You will make yourself and those around you incredibly happy.

Does the ban on Triclosan Matter?

The news has been all a buzz this week with the ban of Triclosan anti-bacterial soap in Minnesota. This ban has now set a precedent for other states and possibly even Canada to follow. The main reason for this ban is the adverse health effects found by a University of Minnesota study. The study “raised concerns that [triclosan] can disrupt hormones critical for reproduction and development” as indicated by this CBC article.

courtesy of freedigitalphotos.net
courtesy of freedigitalphotos.net

As a cleaning supply distributor, we have a wide range of hand care products. Out of our line-up only one of our products has triclosan as its anti-bacterial ingredient. Here at Corporate Facility Supply we place a strong emphasis on our Eco-Standard Solutions line up which encourages the use better for health and better for the environment products.

With this news we checked what our distribution was like for our hand cleaners, and it is very clear that even with the claim for being anti-bacterial, our triclosan based soap is our second least popular seller. Our best seller is our ‘green’ option. This goes to show that the message of thorough and regular hand washing with soap and warm water is the best way to combat the spread of germs is a best practice and this message is getting across to consumers.

Do you think it’s a good idea to ban triclosan based products based on this study? Are you going to continue to use them? Let us know by commenting on our linked in page or tweeting us @corpchem, sharing on google+.

Consumer based advertising has taught us wrong

Poster CLvSAvDIvST

Consumer based cleaning advertising has unintentionally taught us wrong.

The majority of us clean and that’s good. At work you, your staff or an outside contractor cleans the office. That is also good. What I have noticed though is that the quality of cleaning in home and at work may not be up to the quality that it should be. No, I’m not talking about shirking chores or neglecting to clean, I’m talking about improper cleaning due to lack of training or failure to read instruction.

What inspired this post was a recent visit to a friend where I observed some household cleaninPoster CLvSAvDIvSTg. Because this is what we do here at Corporate Facility Supply, I had to inquire why my friend made the purchase of the product and what was the goal trying to be accomplished. To simplify my observations and the explanation I received, a ready to use spray and wipe liquid disinfectant/cleaner was being used as only a cleaner when the goal of disinfecting was the intent.

In a household environment, in most cases, this is not disastrous. In a professional or commercial environment however, there cannot be any mix-up as to the proper procedure of chemical and cleaner use. What is the cause of this poor cleaning education? To be honest, there are probably many causes to this problem, but one that came to my mind, in this case with my friend,  is the portrayal of disinfectant cleaners in media.

 

Consumer based advertising shows us that their products kill germs and have disinfecting claims. The nature of the advertising beast  simply doesn’t
have enough time to demonstrate and educate on proper cleaning and disinfection technique. I do not blame them for the problem. The job of the Ad is to sell. However, for effective disinfection of a surface a dwell time of 10 minutes is usually needed. (Many ads do state this in the fine print on the TV spot and of course the labels have instructions, but who really reads those?)

I strongly believe that the perception of spray and immediate wipe disinfection comes from our exposure to TV based ads.  I also wouldn’t be surprised  if these habits are bleeding into professional environments. At the core of the problem, there is a lack of understanding  the difference between cleaning, sanitizing, disinfecting and to an extent sterilizing.

In the end  I proceeded to give a helpful five minute lesson on the difference between cleaning, sanitizing and disinfecting to my friend. With this being said and done, I now wonder, how many others out there do not know the difference? To educate others on the difference we here at Corporate Facility Supply (@CorporateFS on Twitter) have created a neat poster titled “Cleaning vs. Sanitizing vs. Disinfecting vs. Sterilizing” which you can download and view or print for yourself.

We hope it helps in educating the public and make sure to fully read and follow the directions of your cleaning products before use at home or at work. Did you know the difference? Let us know in the comments or on Twitter.

What is your current supplier doing about GHS?

HOW DOES GHS AFFECT YOUR BUSINESS?

If you haven’t heard already, in Canada there is going to be an integration of GHS (Global Harmonized System) with our current WHMIS (Workplace Hazardous Materials Information System).

This does not mean that WHMIS is going away. In Canada, we are merely integrating the missing components of GHS to our current standards. The updates include changes to classification rules, label requirements and safety data sheet (SDS) formerly Material Safety Data Sheet (MSDS).ghs blog image

Why are these changes taking place?
There are many reasons as to why all countries are adopting GHS. One of these is to ensure consistency between countries and allow for smaller nations that cannot afford their own standards to be able to adopt these standards for safety. There are also easier to understand symbols in GHS. To let the users of the products know how to safely handle materials, a more user friendly system has been adopted. It was found that even after training on WHMIS many would not remember what WHMIS symbols and classifications meant. By adopting a ‘household’ symbol style, classification should be easier to recognize.

What are the benefits of GHS?
The basic goal of hazard communication is to ensure that employers, employees and the public are provided with adequate, practical, reliable and comprehensible information on the hazards of chemicals, so that they can take effective preventive and protective measure for their health and safety. Thus, implementation of effective hazard communication provides benefits for governments, companies, workers, and members of the public.

What must change to meet GHS?
Most of these changes will occur on the end of the supplier. It is your supplier’s responsibility to review classifications, have up-to-date SDSs and labels that adhere to the new policies for the products which they provide. We will outline in a later post what these labels and SDSs need to include to comply with the new standards.

In Canada, as an employer, your responsibilities to educate and train workers on hazardous materials regularly, ensure those materials are properly labelled and stored, prepare workplace labels and have up-to-date SDS (MSDS) available do not change.

Revised training from WHMIS to GHS standards will be necessary. If you have your own in house training program, slight modifications may be necessary to meet the new standards. If you purchase your WHMIS training system from your supplier or a third party, such as the WHMIS training course through Corporate Facility Supply, it is that party’s responsibility to have the course up-to-date for your training needs.

When does this come to effect?

In the US, most companies have completed their changes to meet the GHS standards. In Canada, complete implementation needs to be done by May 2015. In this time suppliers may be updating their labels and MSDS (SDS)s to meet these standards. Having these newer labels and SDSs does not violate current WHMIS standards and adopting them earlier is encouraged as to meet the May 2015 deadline.

Next Steps.
As a business or employer, consult with your chemical supplier on how to start making the changes if they haven’t already approached you on it. They should have a plan in place. If they do not have a plan, you may want to consider a new supplier. Also continue the discussion here, on LinkedIn under our Corporate Facility Supply company page or on Twitter @CorporateFS #GHS.