International facilities management services provider OCS Group, employing thousands of cleaning personnel around the world across a range of sectors including healthcare, education, sport and leisure, business, industry and government, has worked with hand protection specialist, Globus to help develop I-CON™ and have already experienced benefits.
Created by Globus, I-CON™ is a new nitrile chemical resistant ‘smart’ glove system to protect cleaning professionals against chemical hazards whilst reflecting the highly recognised British Institute of Cleaning Science (BICSc) approved and adopted colour-coded system for infection control.
Having trialled the gloves across selected company test sites, OCS Group is enhancing worker safety by rolling the new I-CON™ range out to all of its personnel across the UK, with the previously used vinyl gloves now being fully replaced by the new Globus range.
According to Head of Cleaning for OCS Group Yvonne Taylor, the I-CON™ range arrived at an ideal time – in line with its latest review of the chemicals used across the UK business.
“Such has been the positive impact of the I-CON™ range, it is now part of our service delivery model for the whole company and is part of our standard operating procedures for staff.”
“Importantly the new I-CON™ range provided a wealth of worker and management benefits, not just from a chemical resistant and comfort perspective but also from the fact that the range reflected the colour coding approach in line with the British Institute of Cleaning Science (BICS) which we use, namely:
• Red for sanitary appliances and washroom areas
• Blue for general areas excluding washrooms and clinical areas
• Green for general food and drink areas
• Yellow for clinical, treatment and isolation areas
“With I-CON™, staff know exactly which glove they are meant to be using in each specific area and environment thanks to their colour coding. This approach dovetails in with the wider colour coding regime we adopt for all other cleaning equipment used. Red gloves with red mop and red cloths for example. Everything works together so no-one is left in any doubt that we have a coordinated solution for each specified type of area – whether that is staff, management or customers alike. It’s a really effective management tool that also gives the staff great confidence", said Yvonne.
The new I-CON™ range not only protects workers’ hands against the most common chemicals used but also helps prevent contact contamination from bacteria, viruses, pathogens and vaccines.
Unlike commonly used gloves made from vinyl or latex that do not necessarily meet the required performance under EN legislation, all gloves within the I-CON™ system are manufactured exclusively from a robust high-grade nitrile.
There are eight I-CON™ system gloves - four single-use and four re-usable. Every glove is CAT III certified in accordance with the EN374-1 chemical resistance standard whilst cross contamination threats in infection control areas are also reduced significantly thanks to the I-CON™ colour system - with individual coloured gloves designated for specific work areas.
“I-CON™ is now playing a central role in worker safety, protecting against the chemicals being used across our sites" said Yvonne. Other benefits of the I-CON™ range include enhanced comfort, protection and durability, solving wider problems that OCS was having with the vinyl gloves it was providing to workers.
“We banned latex gloves company-wide and opted instead for vinyl gloves but had been having growing issues with these. In some situations, members of staff were having to double and in some circumstances triple-glove with the vinyl options because they simply weren’t up to the job. They kept tearing and snagging which created safety issues. This simply isn’t the case with Globus’ I-CON™ gloves as the premium nitrile makes them more durable and removes these issues completely.”
HIGHLY SUCCESSFUL WORKER TRIALS
OCS carried out I-CON™ user trials in a hospital it was responsible for and received some really positive feedback:
• DURABILITY - "The hands of our staff didn’t get sweaty or excessively hot from wearing I-CON™ which was an issue with the vinyl ones previously."
• LONGEVITY - "Because staff are not having to double or even triple-glove for certain tasks as they had done previously, we are using far fewer gloves."
• TRAINING - "We have, with the help of Globus, undertaken worker training sessions at the time at which the wider chemical rationalisation was taking place which was perfect timing for us as we could build our hand protection into the wider programme at exactly the same time."
• WORKER BUY IN - "The beauty of this approach and the quality of the I-CON™ range is that you could see our staff really understanding the benefits, as they could clearly see and feel the difference. The training is fantastic and really supports what we are trying to achieve."
As a result of the positive impact that I-CON™ has had, vinyl gloves have now been completely removed from OCS and are no longer available to cleaning staff.
“Such has been the positive impact of the I-CON™ range, it is now part of our service delivery model for the whole company and is part of our standard operating procedures for staff. We are also currently re-writing our training manual to incorporate I-CON™ and have trained all of our regional managers across the UK in the new range, who, in turn are training all of the teams across our client sites," said Yvonne.
Nicholas Green, Corporate Account Director of Globus said he was delighted that OCS had been so proactive in testing and integrating the benefits of the new I-CON™ range into the heart of the company.
“From day one, Yvonne could really see the benefits of the I-CON™ range in what she was trying to achieve. We have been delighted not only with the performance of the new range but also in the way that I-CON™ has been integrated into the OCS quality approach."