Spill Control Takes a Step Forward

Jeff Palmer

The biggest risk associated with spills in a foodservice setting is that of customers and employees slipping and falling on the spill. Moreover, a bodily fluid spill needs to be contained immediately in order to reduce the risk of spreading infectious germs or causing additional illness.

At DayMark Safety Systems, we have joined forces with Public Health Innovations to address both issues.

In partnership with Dr. Hal King and PHI, we have introduced a new spill control program that streamlines the cleanup of all types of spills and increases safety for employees and customers.

Having in place a response program that guides employees through a standardized set of steps can help contain both the mess and any infectious germs.

A Complete Spill Control Program.

Dr. King shared with us that the spill kits utilized in a quick service restaurant setting to prevent slips and falls or clean up bodily fluid spills are often highly ineffective. The majority of pads available on the market for regular spill control are small, expensive, not highly absorbent, and don’t properly contain bodily fluid spills. Most restaurants are forced to buy one-time use kits or build their own, which leads to inappropriate use.

After thoroughly researching the matter, Dr. King drew up the idea for a new spill kit to be used by retail food service and sales establishments. Later, we collaborated with Dr. King and took the first steps toward creating a new solution.

A New Procedure.

There are 11 critical steps in the recommended procedure for the spill control program:

1.  Take immediate action to contain bodily fluids and prevent spread of contamination by covering spill with absorbent pad.

2.  Spray or pour disinfectant over the pad and surrounding area; allow chemical to sit for the appropriate time defined on the disinfectant product label to complete disinfecting process.

3.  Place one set of yellow trash bags (double-bagged) next to area that needs to be cleaned.

4.  Put on disposable apron and three pairs of gloves, then wipe up as much fluid as possible using disinfectant-soaked spill pads.

5.  Place soiled pads into the trash bag.
6.  Remove one outer pair of gloves carefully and place them in trash bag.

7.  Spray disinfectant over area and wipe with a clean disposable towel

8.  Place disposable towel and second pair of gloves in trash bag. Close bag with a tie.

9.  Spray disinfectant over area again; allow chemical to sit for the appropriate time defined on the disinfectant product label to complete disinfecting process.

10.  Place all materials in third yellow bag, tie trash bag, and discard in dumpster.

11.  Wash and sanitize hands after discarding trash bag, before touching any food contact surfaces or guest contact surfaces.

Employees should use the same procedures for any type of spill, but should always be ready to disinfect a bodily fluid event. Any bodily fluid spill (such as vomiting) might have norovirus or other infectious germs in it; by following the same spill-containment procedure each time, it becomes second nature to staff members to also be ready to contain bodily fluids.

While formal training on this program should be done first and regularly, the best education is hands-on: the ideal time to train is when a staff member cleans up a spill. This can be made into a learning piece on how to also contain bodily fluids that can contaminate food. Using the spill pads consistently and correctly will reinforce an establishment’s health policy every time there is a spill.

Highly Absorbent Pads.

Mops and buckets take a long time to prepare and, in some cases, actually make spills worse by spreading germs around. At 8.5 times the efficiency of the leading brand, SafetyApplied Absorbent Spill Pads are designed to be more absorbent and better contain a mess than a paper towel or mop.

The pads are designed to be used in front-of-house situations as well as back-of-house spills—when used on general spills, employees will inherently know how to use them in the event of a bodily fluid spill. Preparedness becomes second nature when an employee uses the pads for any spill.

As outlined in the steps above, the pads can also be saturated with disinfectant that will kill germs while suppressing and containing the mess. Although most foodservice operations use food-grade sanitizers and cleaning products, it should be noted that these are not recommended as they will not prevent the spread of norovirus. Only disinfectants that are EPA approved and certified effective against norovirus should be used.

Jeff Palmer, President of DayMark Safety Systems, is a member of the International Food Service Manufacturing Association. Jeff pioneered the development of the successful Dissolve-A-Way® label technology and is a former Ernst & Young Entrepreneur of the Year Finalist.

Jeff Palmer

President of DayMark Safety Systems