06 Sep Compliance is not a swear word…..
Almost every business that relies on children as customers thinks compliance is a bad word – to some extent anyway. Many large businesses use the increased levels of legislation to sell products and services that increase cost and reduce convenience when it could so simply be reversed. In the current economic climate it has never been so important to look at your costs but with complicated contracts and dreaded compliance, many businesses turn a blind eye and accept what they are sold as being the only solution. Here are my top tips to save money, increase compliance as well as improve confidence that as a ‘child-friendly’ business you are encouraging hygiene best practise as well as possibly reducing your carbon footprint.
Step 1 – Hand Soap
Liquid soaps are expensive. Much more cost-effective are spray soaps and foaming soaps. They both dispense about 90% less soap with each dose, on average a foaming or spray soap system is about 50% cheaper than a standard bulk-fill liquid system. However, there is a health benefit too, as it is easier to both use (spread over the skin) and wash off which greatly reduces the risk of soap being left on the skin which can cause dry skin and in extreme cases eczema.
Step 2 – Hand drying
Invest a little – but not a lot! Buy a good quality energy-efficient hand dryer (paper towels are proven to be more hygienic but in the indoor play environment less practical). Do not be enticed by high tech ‘Hygenic’ driers such as the Dyson Airblade. Using the Dyson as an example it is not hygienic as the dirty water collect in the bottom of the unit and runs down the wall. It is impractical because smaller children cannot get their little arms over the top and finally THEY ARE NOISY, they may pass the European noise levels before you put your hands in but I would doubt it once hands are placed inside. Look for a standard 2400W unit or a low noise low energy unit – there are a few out there. Energy saving is relevant to usage so be careful and compare savings with cost.
Step 3 – Nappy and Sanitary waste collection
Firstly check with your local authority what their guidance is. EU guidance is that if you produce more than 25Kg of ‘offensive waste’ you must show duty of care that the waste is collected and disposed of in a suitable manner. Larger washroom service providers will bamboozle operators with hidden charges, price increases and long and complicated contracts. Only ever sign a contract for twelve months. Find a local independent service provider (www.iwsa.org.uk). If you empty the nappy bins daily to an external collection bin there will be less odours and the need for expensive air fresheners is reduced.
Step 4 – Save water
Install flush savers into your cisterns (£1 each) and ensure you have a water management system that reduces the flow and stops water being wasted overnight. You can also install retrofit pressure taps to prevent water taps being left on. A good local washroom service provider will advise for free on all these issues.
And there you have it four easy steps to ensure compliance and save money – Toilets (and baby changing areas) are important – they tell your customers whether hygiene is a priority or not. Outbreaks of infectious diseases are spread through poor handwashing so having ‘cool’ systems that encourage children to wash their hands reduces risk and improves parents perceptions of your business. Parent power is moving and with new smartphone apps such as NappyApp (www.nappyapp.co.uk) parents will know in advance where the best facilities are and whether they want to spend their hard-earned cash there or not.