Internal housekeeping



Executive housekeeping, environmental and janitorial services staff constantly encounter infective hazards in the work environment. Common venues consist of motels and hotels, hospitals and healthcare facilities and schools and office buildings in which janitorial services companies clean on a regular basis.

Cleaning procedures used by housekeeping and janitorial staff are designed to remove or kill bacteria and viruses to make spaces safe for building occupants. While doing their job, especially bed-making and toilet/bathroom cleaning, employees are potentially exposed to infection or contamination at numerous discrete events during their work day. These are occupational hazards that, in the case of human pathogens, places them at risk of illness. This causes unnecessary cost to worker and employer.

The exposure to bacterial, viral and fungal pathogens for housekeeping and janitorial staff does not end there. Germs can live on various hard services for up to 24 hours, and recent studies have shown that hands are responsible for the spread of an estimated 80% of infectious diseases. Germ exposure can even come from touching the seemingly innocuous objects in a room (desks, clocks, lamps etc.) especially if the previous occupant was infected with the common cold, flu or any number of transmissible infections.

Maintaining hand-hygiene can be challenging for employees involved in the sanitation industry and is often due to:

  • the time it takes to wash and dry hands;
  • the lack of availability and proximity to hand-hygiene facilities;
  • housekeeping staff, after bathrooms are cleaned, losing access to facilities by which to clean their hands;
  • skin damage with dry, chapped or irritated skin as a result of wet work;
  • assumptions that hands not being visibly dirty are not in need of cleaning.

Exposure to these infectious hazards together with poor hand-hygiene can contribute to:

  • absenteeism from work due to occupation related illness;
  • reduced efficiency and mistakes at work due to employees being ill;
  • "presenteeism" - where infected employees, being at work, infects others.

The result of the unmet need for hand-hygiene is often widespread and unrealized. It is an insidious drain to employer, employee and end client. This is why it is a significant challenge to housekeeping and environmental services managers.

Next >



The Orbel™ Instant Hand Sanitizer Applicator

The Orbel™ is a portable hand sanitizer reservoir and applicator that conveniently dispenses highly effective hand sanitizer by way of a swipe of a hand. Its portability and ease of use makes it a convenient, access anywhere solution enabling employees to maintain hand-hygiene compliance irrespective of activity type, whilst preventing loss in productivity.

The Orbel™ is available with a highly effective hand sanitizer (ethyl-alcohol and water-based formulations) that will help prevent transmission of infectious diseases that are commonly encountered in the sanitation industry work environments. Safe and effective hand-hygiene is the front line of safety in the environments serviced by housekeeping and janitorial staff to prevent them from becoming infected with frequently encountered germs.

The Orbel™ applicator not only saves time and protects workers from infectious diseases generally associated with this type of work, it:

  • can contribute to an increase in work performance and productivity;
  • can contribute to the reduction and cost of absenteeism due to illness. Reports estimate that absenteeism costs the US economy $227 billion a year due to lost productivity associated with poor health;
  • demonstrates commitment to employee health and wellbeing and forming the cornerstone of any workplace wellness program;
  • complements existing hand-hygiene protocols;
  • habituates good hand-hygiene practice;
  • reduces costs associated with illness to employees and improves employer Health and Safety compliance regimes;
  • increases customer perceptions of venue cleanliness;
  • is cost effective when measured by ROI;
  • improves skin health that often suffers due to wet work or glove use.

In addition to the benefits, the Orbel™ brings to employees; it is also a visible demonstration to customers, guests and the wider community on a commitment to hygiene in all its forms.


 to increase hand-hygiene efficiently, reduce infections and save money  with the Orbel™ Instant Hand Sanitizer Applicator.
 No workplace can afford to be without it.

For further reading, consult the References section.

For related hand-hygiene meetings and events, consult our Calendar of Events section.


Next >



Infectious Diseases of Concern & Skin Hazards for Janitorial, Housekeeping and Environmental Service Staff

Infectious diseases commonly encountered and at issue consist of virtually every communicable disease known to humans and include:

  • pneumonia (bacterial & viral)
  • meningitis
  • tuberculosis
  • Methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus skin infections, blood-borne infectious diseases (HIV & Hepatitis B &C),
  • respiratory infections such as respiratory syncytial virus (RSV), cytomegalovirus (CMV) the common cold and influenza, and
  • gastrointestinal infections such as rotavirus, hepatitis A, and norovirus.

Skin care for housekeeping and janitorial staff and the Orbel™ Advantage

Due to constant wet work, housekeeping and janitorial staff often suffer from skin dermatophyte infections. These are fungi visible by black or UV light (Wood’s lamp) that require keratin for growth and cause superficial infections of the skin. Less frequent infections caused by non-dermatophyte fungi include infections by Malassezia and Candida species (yeast infections).

This occurs with skin where its barrier function has failed or begun to fail because of irritation from chemical exposure and maceration due to use of gloves and prolonged moist conditions. This group of workers are not the only to suffer from these types of fungal infections, as healthcare personnel, food processing and service workers and other who rely on gloves or are in continuous contact with moist environments are at risk for nuisance cutaneous infections.

Various types of dermatitis, psoriasis, and callus formations along with nail involvement seem to be common and must be addressed with anti-fungal treatments and preventive care. Relapses are common so housekeeping and wet work staff need to be vigilant in preventive action, and frequent use of hand sanitizers containing emollients has been seen to generally improve overall skin health.

Use of the Orbel™ portable dispenser becomes a means of both reducing microbial risks and improving skin health.