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

Source: Rena Saito, M. Abbas Virji, Paul K. Henneberger, Michael J. Humann, Ryan F. LeBouf, Marcia L. Stanton, Xiaoming Liang and Aleksandr B. Stefaniak, American Journal of Industrial Medicine, Volume 58 no. 1, January 2015
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From the abstract:
Background: 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 characterize cleaning/disinfecting tasks and products used among hospital occupations.

Methods: 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.

Results: 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.

Conclusions: This analysis demonstrates that many occupations besides housekeeping incur exposures to cleaning/disinfecting products, albeit for different durations and using products containing different chemicals.