Characterisation of cleaning and disinfecting tasks and product use among hospital occupations

Healthcare workers have an elevated prevalence of asthma and related symptoms associated with the use of cleaning/disinfecting products. The objective of this study was to identify and characterise cleaning/disinfecting tasks and products used among hospital occupations. Workers from 14 occupations at five hospitals were monitored for 216 shifts, and work tasks and products used were recorded at five-minute intervals. The major chemical constituents of each product were identified from safety data sheets. Cleaning and disinfecting tasks were performed with a high frequency at least once per shift in many occupations. Medical equipment preparers, housekeepers, floor strippers/waxers, and endoscopy technicians spent on average 108-177 min/shift performing cleaning/disinfecting tasks. Many occupations used products containing amines and quaternary ammonium compounds for >100 min/shift. The authors concluded that this analysis demonstrates that many occupations besides housekeeping incur exposures to cleaning/disinfecting products, albeit for different durations and using products containing different chemicals.

Authors: Saito R, Abbas Virji M, Henneberger PK, Humann MJ, LeBouf RF, Stanton ML, Liang X, Stefaniak AB ;Full Source: American Journal of Industrial Medicine. 2014 Oct 28. doi: 10.1002/ajim.22393. [Epub ahead of print] ;