nora rubber flooring for use in high-risk areas
By Australian Hospital + Healthcare Bulletin Staff
Tuesday, 16 May, 2017
For many years, hygiene departments in hospitals and nursing facilities have strongly focused on the control of infections caused by multi-resistant microbes. In addition to MRSA bacteria infecting wounds, the increase in Gram-negative bacteria such as Klebsiella pneumoniae and Escherichia coli have been a recent cause of problems for many institutes. The fight against multi-resistant pathogens includes extensive prophylactic and hygiene measures for patients and medical staff, and also extends to building materials due to their considerable effects on hygiene standards. After all, surfaces can be a veritable hotbed of bacteria.
As well as being easy to clean, nora rubber floor coverings can also be completely disinfected and are therefore suitable for use in high-risk areas that require regular disinfection. These findings were confirmed in a recent study at the Institute for Medical Microbiology and Hospital Hygiene at the University of Marburg, Germany. Professor Reinier Mutters, Director of Hospital Hygiene at the Institute, described the background to these tests:
“The especially high risks associated with infectious diseases, for instance in OTs and ICUs, must be countered by reliable disinfection of surfaces if all dangers to patients are to be eliminated. In OTs, for example, there must be no more than four microbes per cubic meter of air. Consequently, the floors must be easy to clean and disinfect. In general, all areas catering to patients should allow for disinfection. This also applies to the surfaces of floor coverings. Infections can break out at any time, so effective containment measures must be possible at short notice. Under simulated hospital conditions, we tested the full disinfectability of four rubber floorings with differing surface structures. This involved fixing samples of nora rubber floorings to a hardboard substrate, and arranging them edge to edge or sealing them with a nora compound. Then we contaminated the samples with four different microbes, and disinfected them with commercial agents after one to two hours. Following this, the samples were wiped, likewise with commercial microfiber cloths, once only from left to right. Each test was repeated five times.
The analyses of all four rubber floorings tested after surface disinfection showed a high log10 reduction in the applied microbes of 5.1 to 6.5. This applied to all installation types, both joint-sealed and edge-to-edge. All nora rubber floor coverings tested therefore comply with very high hygiene standards, making them suitable for use in high-risk areas. This also applies expressly to the rubber floorings with hammerblow and structured surfaces.
As a hygienist, I have a very high assessment of the edge-to-edge installation. This variant retains a high hygiene standard even after a very long period of time. Floorings that are not dimensionally stable may tear at the joints. The consequences are unhygienic cracks and greater contamination in the joints than on the flooring itself. These microbial hot-beds can be prevented with tight edge-to-edge installation.”
Thanks to their extremely dense surface, nora rubber floor coverings do not need any coatings, varnishes, or joint sealing, eliminating additional sources of pathogens. As they do not contain plasticisers (phthalates), the material is immune to shrinkage, so the floor coverings retain their dimensions for decades. As well as minimizing the risk of microbial invasion, gap-free installation and the absence of coatings also saves time and costs associated with recoating and resealing, so all areas remain accessible around the clock, seven days a week. This means that nora floor coverings also present the most cost-effective solution for clinics over the long term.
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