Background: Healthcare workers have an elevated prevalence of asthma and related symptoms associated with the use of cleaning/disinfecting products. The objective of this study was to identify and characterize cleaning/disinfecting tasks and products used among hospital occupations.
Methods: Workers from 14 occupations at five hospitals were monitored for 216 shifts, and work tasks and products used were recorded at five-minute intervals. The major chemical constituents of each product were identified from safety data sheets.
Results: Cleaning and disinfecting tasks were performed with a high frequency at least once per shift in many occupations. Medical equipment preparers, housekeepers, floor strippers/waxers, and endoscopy technicians spent on average 108-177 min/shift performing cleaning/disinfecting tasks. Many occupations used products containing amines and quaternary ammonium compounds for >100 min/shift.
Conclusions: This analysis demonstrates that many occupations besides housekeeping incur exposures to cleaning/disinfecting products, albeit for different durations and using products containing different chemicals.
Keywords: asthma; cleaning products; cleaning tasks; disinfecting chemicals; healthcare workers.
© 2014 Wiley Periodicals, Inc.