- OSHA Healthcare Advisor - http://blogs.hcpro.com/osha -

Brooms won’t sweep away infections

Q: Are we allowed to use brooms in a medical facility? Are there any restrictions or guidelines for doing so?

A: In just about any other workplace, brooms are a quick and easy way to clean up clutter or sweep away dust.

The problems with brooms however, is they may appear to “clean” an area, but they are actually just pushing dust and dirt out of the way, and spreading it around rather than eliminating it entirely.

Using brooms raises dust, which creates bacterial dispersal all over the facility. If you were to check window frames, doors or other areas of a facility after sweeping you would likely find new dust deposits. Inspectors and surveyors have been known to look for new dust deposits because they indicate the use of a broom that does not eliminate bacteria or dust.

Although there aren’t any OSHA standards or infection control requirements that address the use of brooms specifically, it goes against IC best-practices. The CDC’s “Guidelines for Environmental Infection Control in Health-Care Facilities [1],” includes a section titled “Recommendations — Environmental Services.”

Among other cleaning and disinfection recommendations, the guidelines address the issue of dusting methods specifically:

Use appropriate dusting methods for patient-care areas designated for immunocompromised patients (e.g., HSCT patients)

  1. Wet-dust horizontal surfaces daily by moistening a cloth with a small amount of an EPA-registered hospital detergent/disinfectant
  2. Avoid dusting methods that disperse dust (e.g., feather-dusting)

You can also download a sample cleaning and disinfection schedule, and a sample housekeeping schedule on the Tools page [2].