A new method of cleaning campus buildings has earned Wake Forest an award for best new cleaning program from an industry group, which also recognized eight custodians for their outstanding work.
The University began implementing the “Operating System I” (OS1) approach to cleaning campus buildings last fall, starting in the Calloway Center and later, Greene Hall. The successful implementation of those new cleaning methods and procedures won the University the “Rookie of the Year” program award this summer from ManageMen, which developed the OS1 cleaning approach and provides training to universities and businesses.
Wake Forest also received “green certification” following an audit of its OS1 program by ManageMen. According to ManageMen, organizations that receive green certification “demonstrate leadership in operating a safer and environmentally responsible approach to cleaning,” by cleaning for health first and then for appearance, and by reducing chemical usage and waste.
The eight custodians who helped implement the new approach in Calloway and Greene halls received Outstanding Cleaning Worker awards:
All eight custodians work overnight, from 11 p.m. to 7 a.m. “As with most changes, the custodians weren’t really looking forward to changing to the new system,” said Frank Thomas, director of custodial services. “But after the training and them seeing the process first hand, one member actually asked why we hadn’t done this sooner. Along with the team’s hard work, cleaning at night has proven to be the best practice because the workers don’t feel like they’re disturbing the customer. And customers have been pretty positive once they get used to the idea.”
The OS1 approach is a better way of managing the cleaning process, Thomas said. The system emphasizes teamwork and training; using the proper equipment and a limited number of chemicals; and standard procedures in how things are cleaned.
Custodians receive extensive training, learning to use each piece of equipment and chemical the same way to ensure consistency. They are trained in four areas — as Iight-duty specialists (trash collection and dusting), vacuum specialists (floors), utility specialists (hallways and recycling), and restroom specialists — and rotate tasks every two weeks.
Thomas said the new system is also more environmentally friendly because it reduces the number of cleaning solutions to only two — one solution to disinfect restrooms and one for all-purpose cleaning. “Perfumes” were eliminated from cleaning solutions because they can mask problems, without really cleaning something, he said.
The new system is now being used in South Residence Hall, the Worrell Professional Center, and Tribble and Carswell halls, and will be implemented in the Z. Smith Reynolds Library in October. As additional custodians are trained, Thomas hopes the program will be used in all administrative and academic buildings by the summer of 2012.
— By Kerry M. King (’85), Office of Communications and External Relations