A change for the better: Supporting an organisational hygiene culture

Teknomek considers how the right choice of cleanroom furniture and layout can affect contamination control and operational success

Maintaining a sterile environment such as that in a cleanroom can be a time-intensive and a significant operating expense nevermind the time and energy that goes into designing such specialist facilties in the first place. Now, imagine just how frustrating it would be to fail a MHRA audit because the changing room next door is non-compliant!

The design and upkeep of changing rooms, wash rooms and administrative areas are all equally significant to establishing and maintaining a business-wide hygiene culture.

Perhaps it seems a little contrary to step back from focusing on the cleanroom itself; however, the changing and locker rooms, in particular, are its first line of defence and as such, have a vital role as scene-setters of the sterile environment.

It makes sense to work backwards starting with the practicalities of the cleaning regime when designing a changing room: start with the form factor of the furniture and equipment, careful design choices can reduce clean down time simply by offering easier access.

When an auditor assesses a wash trough, for example, they are not just considering how easy it is to clean in isolation – they are also looking at the areas around it, including underneath and behind.

Tack matting can remove contaminants

Next, look at how hygiene is factored into the furniture design itself and ask:

  • Are there dirt traps – gaps, ledges, folds or other flaws that could collect dirt or mould?
  • Are there ledges or other flat surfaces that could collect water and germs, especially around taps?
  • Does it have clear drainage points?
  • Does the room layout encourage best practice changing procedures?

Follow a different tack

Finally, consider how dirt could potentially make it into that environment in the first place. Sticky tack matting can be deployed to remove contaminants from shoes as well as electromagnetically attract airborne particles. While these mats are most commonly placed at entrances and exits of cleanrooms, they can greatly improve hygiene for the long-term if used as part of a cumulative strategy throughout the facility.

Furniture design choices and the placement of other materials elsewhere in a facility may seem of little consequence when considered in relation to the upkeep of cleanroom itself. However, an audit can be passed or failed anywhere and on a factor that could be easily overlooked. There is a saying: “Don’t stress the small stuff.” It is not true in this context. Investing in the right furniture is one step towards alleviating that stress.

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