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January 2015 Catch Up

Happy New Year!  We hope you had a good holiday, whatever you were doing.

This month, we have had the privilege of working alongside the hardworking housekeeping team at Ampleforth College and Abbey.  This beautiful place has been the home of a community of Benedictine Monks since 1802 and is also a co-educational boarding school for 600 students aged between 13-18 and a hospitality provider offering pastoral retreats and pilgrimage's providing guests with time for reflection.Up keeping the beautiful antique mouse man furniture and old wooden flooring to preserve it for others to enjoy for years to come are some of the challenges to consider and we look forward to supporting the everyday cleaning issues that arise in order to keep such a place clean and hygienic. 

Our website continue to provide knowledgeable resources in our Hygiene Management Scheme section and COSHH training is readily available for all our customers to undertake, free of charge.  Once completed, this provides a downloadable certificate of competence.  To give you the chance to check this out, click on Resource Centre which is the second to last tab running along the top of the site, schroll down to the Hygiene Management Scheme and click on COSHH  E Learning.  The e mail address to log in is This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. and the password is coshhtest.

This month sees the arrival of a new team member, Tim Chadwick.  He joins us a General Manager and he will be working closely with me and all the team.  Tim has recently returned to his home town of Scarborough after gaining 18 years management experience working in London as a Facilities Manager.  During this time he managed various projects with the most notable being The British Museum, The National Gallery, The O2 and South Bank University in the public arena, although gained corporate experience working with companies such as IBM and McKinsey & Company.  We are very excited about Tim joining us as we believe that his management skills will be easily transferred into the company focussing on high standards of service delivery and client satisfaction, whilst ensuring good team moral and motivation.

 tim chadwick

Our sunflower selfie competition which ran up until just before Christmas, saw Dan Hargreaves Chef at Copper Horse scoop the prize of a hamper of seasonal treats!  I am sure you will agree Dan's entry had the aww factor.

Until next month, keep safe and warm!





Our chemical manufacturers are now reviewing their products under the new Globally Harmonised System of Classification and Labelling of Chemicals (GHS). This system was created to standardise how the hazardous properties of chemicals are classified throughout the world. 

How products are Classified

As before, a system of calculations and thresholds is used to classify the products. This avoids the need for any unnecessary animal testing. Products containing ingredients that are over a certain threshold level are required to display the corresponding Hazard Pictogram and Statements on the label.

New Pictograms, Signal Words and Statements

New red diamond shaped Hazard Pictograms will replace the orange square Hazard Symbols, though some of the internal images are similar.

The new symbols are:

The orange CHIP symbols were accompanied by ‘Indication of Danger’ words, such as Toxic, Corrosive, Irritant etc but CLP will replace these with two new ‘Signal Words’. The word which appears with the pictogram will depend on the hazard class and category - severe hazards will include the word ‘DANGER’, whilst all others will include the word ‘WARNING’.

The ‘Risk (R) Phrases’ are to change to ‘Hazard (H) Statements’ 

    H200-H299        Physical Hazard
    H300-H399        Health Hazard
    H400-H499        Environmental Hazard

and the ‘Safety (S) Phrases’ are to change to ‘Precautionary (P) Statements’

    P100-P199        General         e.g. Keep out of reach of children
    P200-P299        Prevention     e.g. Protect from moisture
    P300-P399        Response      e.g. IF ON SKIN:
    P400-P499        Storage         e.g. Store locked up
    P500-P599        Disposal        e.g. Dispose of contents/container to. . .

Previously ‘Not Classified’ products

Some of the threshold levels in CLP are lower than under CHIP. For example under the CHIP system a product would need to contain more than 20% of an ingredient classified as R36 (Irritating to eyes) to trigger an ‘Irritant’ hazard symbol but under CLP this is reduced to 10% to trigger a hazard pictogram. This will result in many products being classified where previously they were not. 

The product formulation has not changed, only the system used to classify it. In our estimation, as many as 80% of previously non-classified products will now include a Hazard Pictogram on the label.

Versatile product label under old system CHIP – product was not classified:

Versatile product label under new system CLP – product is no classified:

Interpretation of the “Corrosive” Image

As mentioned above, some threshold levels are lower under CLP than under CHIP. 

This particularly affects the Hazard H318 ‘Causes serious eye damage’ (Which was R41 ‘Risk of serious damage to eyes’ under CHIP). This has changed significantly from a 10% threshold triggering an ‘Irritant’ symbol to a 3% threshold, triggering a GHS05 ‘Causes Damage’ pictogram.

The image we currently recognise as “corrosive” is and still will be used on Caustic Soda based products such as DISHWASH and OVEN CLEANER. However in the future it will ALSO be used on products which may contain only 3% of certain types of ingredients. It is now very important that users read the Hazard Statements on CLP labels rather than just relying on a glance at the image.

Concerns Over Classification

We accept, and agree, a global system of classifying cleaning chemicals is necessary but obviously there are concerns about how end users will react to seeing Hazard Pictograms on products where previously there were none.
After 20 plus years of CHIP symbols it is important that users are educated to understand the new Pictograms and Statements and how these affect the assessment and subsequent use of PPE if required. 

We would like to point out that the hazard classification on the label applies to the undiluted product only.

Communication and Training

It is going to be very important that users of chemicals are fully aware of the changes and understand the regulations. It is the responsibility of our cleaning chemical manufacturers, to communicate with customers and issue detailed product support information as the changes occur. This information will then need to be relayed to end users so they are able to recognise the new Pictograms and the associated risks and the need to review COSHH Risk Assessments.  


It is important to remember that to minimise the risks associated with a product, it should be used as recommended, which is stated on the label, Safety Data Sheets and through training.  

If you use chemicals at work, you should:

1.    Look out for communication regarding Classification changes on products and check that you are doing what is needed to use the chemical safely. 
2.    Check the Hazard and Precaution Statements that accompany the Hazard Pictogram on the label.
3.    Follow the advice provided on the new labels and, where appropriate, in Safety Data Sheets and use Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) if required.
4.    Review COSHH Risk Assessments and update if necessary.
5.    If you are an employer, alert your employees to these changes and provide adequate information, instruction and training.

You will find further details on CLP Regulation via the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) website


Hand Care for Health Care Workers

Improved adherence to hand hygiene practices and multidisciplinary approaches to skin health may significantly impact patient outcomes and employee health.

Maintenance of intact, healthy skin reduces the risk of transmission of pathogenic organisms and the risk of occupationally related skin disease. Understanding the key components of an effective hand-care plan and implementing a therapeutic regime are fundamental components of any patient and employee safety program.

Hand washing and hand antisepsis

When hands are visibly dirty or contaminated or visibly soiled with blood or other body fluids, wash with water and either a non-antimicrobial soap or an antimicrobial soap.

1. When washing hands with soap and water:

- Wet hands first with water

- Apply the amount of product recommended by the manufacturer to hands

- Rub hands together vigorously for at least 15 seconds covering all surfaces of the hands and fingers.

2. Rinse hands thoroughly to remove all residual soap.

3. Dry hands with disposable single-use towels ensuring that the all skin and spaces between fingers are thoroughly dry without excessive friction

4. If hands are not visibly soiled, use an alcohol-based hand gel/foam for routinely decontaminating hands.


Frequent and repeated use of hand hygiene products can compromise the skin barrier function and cause contact dermatitis.

Alcohol-based products may cause dryness and irritation of the skin.


Select hand hygiene products with low irritancy potential.  GoJo Soap and Purrell Sanitiser are recommended by us.

Perform hand hygiene before glove donning and after glove removal.

Follow manufacturer’s recommendations for appropriate use of all products.

Dermal hydration and moisturisation

Preventing dry skin and reducing the risk of dermal irritation and contact dermatitis should be the goal of every health-care employer and employee.

Skin moisturisers are used to help prevent skin from becoming dry and to restore dry skin to its normal condition. The HSE (2007) recommends that health-care workers be provided with products that will minimise the occurrence of irritant dermatitis associated with hand antisepsis or hand washing.  GoJo Hand Medic is recommended by us.

Appropriate glove usage

Some individuals may experience a dermal reaction in response to either the chemicals in the formulation of natural rubber or synthetic gloves or to the protein allergens in natural rubber latex gloves.


Repeated donning and removal of multiple pairs of gloves may cause a friction related irritation across the dorsum of the hands.

Prolonged wear may result in skin occlusion and either dryness or maceration.


Select gloves with low irritancy potential.

Perform hand hygiene before glove donning and after glove removal.

Follow manufacturer’s recommendations for appropriate use of all products.

In conclusion

Early intervention, good hand care and adherence to work place policy on glove use and infection control should reduce the incidence of occupational skin conditions.



The news that recently broke of a case of avian influenza on a poultry farm in Nafferton, East Yorkshire is disappointing news for British poultry farmers, but they and the British public should be reassured that this situation was identified early and that measures to contain the virus to the farm it was found on were promptly initiated by Defra.

Bird flu affects many species of birds, including chickens, ducks, turkeys and geese. It can be passed between commercial, wild and pet birds. Birds do not always get sick from infection, so seemingly healthy birds may still pose a risk to people who come into contact with them.

Bird flu, or avian flu, is an infectious viral illness that spreads among birds. In rare cases it can affect humans.

There are many types of bird flu, most of which are harmless to humans. However, two types have caused serious concern in recent years. These are the H5N1 (since 1997) and H7N9 (since 2013) viruses. However, Defra have already indicated that the avian influenza virus type involved is NOT the highly pathogenic strain of avian influenza known as H5N1 and so it is likely to be a relatively less significant strain of the virus.

How bird flu spreads to humans

Bird flu is spread through direct contact with infected birds (dead or alive), an infected bird's droppings, or secretions from their eyes or respiratory tract.

Close and prolonged contact with an infected bird is generally required for the infection to spread to humans. For example:

1)  touching infected birds that are dead or alive

2)  inhaling or being in contact with dried dust from the droppings or bedding of infected birds

3)  inhaling or being in contact with droplets sneezed by infected birds

4)  culling, slaughtering, butchering or preparing infected poultry for cooking

Bird flu is not transmitted through cooked food. Poultry and eggs are safe to eat in areas that have experienced outbreaks of bird flu.

Signs and symptoms

Like other types of flu, bird flu symptoms often include a high temperature, aching muscles, headache and respiratory symptoms such as a cough or runny nose. Most people with the condition rapidly develop more severe respiratory problems.

Diarrhoea, vomiting, abdominal (tummy) pain, chest pain, and bleeding from the nose and gums have also been reported as early symptoms in some people.

Within days, potentially fatal complications such as acute respiratory distress syndrome and multiple organ failure may develop.

Having flu-like symptoms is extremely unlikely to mean you have bird flu, unless you have been in recent close contact with birds in an area where outbreaks have been reported.

Spectrum supplies several Approved Disinfectants for use in the control of Avian Influenza.

We recommend specific disinfectant dilution rates following the results of tests carried out using our disinfectants against various Avian Influenza strains. The dilution rates are also the same as the DEFRA (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs) Approved Poultry Order dilution rates for these disinfectants, which DEFRA recommend using.   Call us for more information about these disinfectants.

The Department of Health also recommends the maintenance of good basic hygiene, such as frequent hand washing followed by hand disinfection with an alcohol hand rub, for example Handsan Hand Sanitiser or Purrell Hand Santiser, to reduce the spread of the virus from your hands to your face, or to other people. The frequent cleaning of hard surfaces (e.g. worktops and door handles) to avoid possible human transmission is also recommended.




Dirty fingerprints on television, computer, laptop, tablet and phone screens are a bug bear for many, not only looking unpleasant but also harbouring bacteria which may become harmful, thus causing infections. Giving the screen a quick wipe over may seem like a simple task, however you could be causing real damage to your device.

Here are our dos and don’ts for screen cleaning:

DON’T spray cleaning fluid directly onto the screen. The materials used to manufacture modern screens (mostly fine and very thin materials) simply won’t withstand the effects of fluid being directly applied. The chances of the liquid completely evaporating are very slim, and there is no doubt that it will leave residual damage.

DON’T use cleaning fluids with an alcohol or ammonia base. Even though glass cleaner may seem the most logical solution, they are often ammonia based and can therefore strip anti-reflective coatings off screens, cause clouding or simply damage the screen. Alcohol based products work to the same effect, so we advise you to always check the content of the fluid.

DON’T use paper towels of cleaning rags used for general purposes. Once again, we re-iterate that modern screens are very delicate/sensitive and therefore abrasive materials like paper towels are not suitable, encouraging damage such as scratching. Similarly, any slight abrasive thing in a cleaning rag is likely to cause scratching.

DO prepare the screen. At a basic level, turn the device off, however we recommend unplugging it completely. In addition, wait until the screen is cool. A warm screen makes it more difficult to clean and can even cause damage.

DO dust the screen. Your aim should be to remove as much from the screen as you can without having to actually touch it. One way is to use a can of compressed air (spraying at least a foot or more away from the screen.) This dislodges the most electrostatically-adhered dust particles. More ideally, we recommend using a simple rubber dusting blub.

DO use a microfiber cloth. Ensuring it is dry and clean, microfiber cloths are the safest tool to use for cleaning screens. Light pressure and wide movements from either left to right or top to bottom provide the best results.

DO use a dampened cloth. For some extra cleaning power, we recommend dampening a microfiber cloth with distilled water, as tap water can leave mineral deposits and a film on the screen. The cloth should be damp when touched, but not so damp that any water can be wrung out of it.

DO use a dampened cloth with distilled water and white vinegar. If the distilled water alone isn’t working at tackling a particularly ardent cleaning task, then use a 50/50 mixture of distilled water and white vinegar. Use the same light pressure and wide movements discussed before, and make sure the microfiber cloth is suitably damp but not so any residue will be left behind.

And that’s all there is to it!