How Your Hospital Locker Rooms Could Be a Breeding Ground for Bacteria

Any medical official can tell you that MRSA (methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus), simply known as infections that are resistant to antibiotics, can be extremely serious. That’s why it’s important to protect your hospital’s locker rooms from essentially becoming a Petri dish for this and other harmful bacteria.

However, like most things in life, there’s a right way and a wrong way to make sure that your staff and patients are protected.

Keeping Hospital Locker Rooms Bacteria-Free

For some, trying to prevent the growth of harmful bacteria is solved by treating every surface with vast amounts of heavy-duty cleaning products. However, this actually creates a number of additional concerns.

For one, the use of industrial cleaning products in large amounts can be harmful to the surfaces they’re being used to clean. Many cleaning products contain corrosive elements that can wear down certain materials like wood and metals. When these materials begin to corrode, it causes unnecessary maintenance and repair costs for building officials.

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More importantly, these cleaning products can be harmful to the cleaning staff, who may be accidently overexposing themselves to fumes and corrosive liquids. For these reasons, it’s important to use cleaning products only as directed or to consider alternative options.

One way to keep your hospital locker rooms free of bacteria is to use bacteria-resistant materials like HDPE, or high-density polyethylene.

Bacteria-Resistant Locker Rooms

HDPE is a heavy-duty plastic material that can be manufactured into lockers, shower stalls, bathroom partitions, and more. This durable material is naturally resistant to bacteria and incredibly easy to clean. Since they have color throughout and aren’t painted, cleaning staff can power wash HDPE surfaces without fear of causing damage.

Just how resistant to germs are HDPE materials? According to independent tests, 98.4% of MRSA bacteria on HDPE surfaces died within just 24 hours without the use of any cleaning products.

In addition to limiting the growth of bacteria, HDPE is resistant to dents, scratches, rust, and graffiti. These qualities make it ideal for use in medical facilities as well as schools, government buildings, and more.

HDPE in the Real World

Little Company of Mary Hospital in Evergreen Park, IL, is familiar with the benefits of HDPE materials, having chosen them for use in the clinical area and nurse’s lounge. To maintain a healthy and safe environment, 500 HDPE lockers was installed to replace the previous metal ones.

“The new lockers are much more hygienic than metal because bacteria cannot live on the surface for very long,” said Mary Grimm, RN, nurse manager for maternal child services at the hospital.

Read the full Little Company of Mary Hospital Case Study for more information about their experience with HDPE materials. If you’d like to know how you can use HDPE lockers, shower stalls, and partitions in your hospital locker room, contact us at Scranton Products today.

Locker Room Design Tips: How to Choose the Right Locker Material

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When you select new lockers for your school hallway or gym locker room, you need to choose the most durable and long-lasting materials that will withstand the daily wear and tear of a school environment. But with so many different options to choose from, how can you be sure that you’ll choose the right one for your school or facility?

To help you learn more about the advantages and disadvantages of the various locker material choices available to you, we’re here to give you some locker room design tips. Read on to learn how to choose the right locker material for your needs.

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Wood Lockers

Lockers made out of wood are used in a number of higher end settings. They share many of the same durability issues as painted metal but don’t perform as well since wood is typically more susceptible to damage from direct impacts than metal. If laminated plywood is used, that material may experience delamination if water or other liquids are able to seep between the layers.

The biggest issue with wood as a locker material is the fact that it is porous, meaning it will absorb odors as well. The odors can compound and create an unwelcome situation not only within a locker, but within a room or corridor where they are located. The porosity of the wood speaks of its organic nature and its ability to contribute as a food source for the growth of mold. Wood lockers will similarly require repainting or refinishing over time for a variety of reasons related to use, fading, and wear and tear.

Metal Lockers

Metal lockers are frequently found in school hallways and gym locker rooms because of their low cost and the view that they’re the standard product in the industry

Lockers made out of painted metal have been a common and long standing choice among many school districts and architects. They are typically viewed as a low cost option and a standardized product. However the cost benefit is limited to the initial purchase cost of the lockers only. Over time, they have been shown to require significant maintenance and attention which translates to more costs for several reasons.

While metal is seen to be fairly durable it certainly bends and is susceptible to dents and other damages. When the paint is compromised, then the metal is unprotected and that can lead to further damage such as corrosion or rust. This creates issues of both security and appearance if the damage occurs on the outside of the locker. It can also be a significant issue on the inside of the locker, particularly if wet items are placed on the bottom, scraping paint off and causing rust. That rust could eventually require the bottom or the whole locker unit to be replaced. In addition to the durability limitations of painted metal lockers, there are issues with keeping them clean and attractive. Painted metal has very low resistance to graffiti, scuffs and stains. Removal of any of these is typically not an easy task and may require the use of solvents that can damage the painted surfaces. In certain cases, removal may not be readily possible and the only option is to repaint.

Phenolic Lockers

Phenolic is a hard, dense material made by applying heat and pressure to layers of paper impregnated with synthetic resin.  Phenolic lockers are the most commonly thought of as durable lockers but are extremely heavy. Phenolic lockers are also not color throughout and most known for their black core exposed edges.

Phenolic material is not recyclable and not made in the US due to its harsh chemicals.

HDPE Plastic Lockers

HDPE plastic lockers are inherently moisture impermeable and non-porous, therefore lockers made of this material will never rust, corrode, or delaminate. For this reason, there aren’t any related maintenance issues or costs. From the standpoint of general durability, an impact test conducted following ASTM standards showed that HDPE plastic lockers had 59 times greater resistance to impacts when compared to metal lockers.

The nature of this material is to absorb and disperse any impact, meaning that dents are not likely and it is more resistant to abuse. Further, since the material is manufactured with solid coloring throughout, it makes scratches difficult to see, helping to retain its appearance under normal wear and tear conditions.

From a general maintenance standpoint, the qualities of HDPE that make it impermeable and nonporous mean that dirt, marker, paint and other items don’t stick to it. Worry-free maintenance is a real possibility when HDPE lockers are installed.

Even though there are many material options to choose from for lockers, it is important to understand the characteristics and what material will best fit your facility’s needs.

Scranton Products’ Duralife and Tufftec lockers are made with HDPE plastic material and have a wide range of design options. Learn where you can find HDPE plastic lockers near you.


Sustainable Building Products

4 Ways to Be More Environmentally Conscious without Remodeling

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It’s important to attempt to be environmentally friendly as much as possible, and that includes commercial restrooms and public locker rooms. Even a few minor tweaks and changes can go a long way in terms of supporting the environment.

You don’t have to completely remodel your restroom or locker room to boost your eco-friendly aspects. Scranton Products is here with four ways that you can be environmentally conscious without remodeling, so read on to learn how.

Read more

Here Today, Gone Tomorrow: What Happens When Your Locker Rooms & Bathrooms Can’t Stand the Test of Time?

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What’s the one thing that you don’t look forward to each year in terms of your bathrooms and locker rooms? Maintenance costs.

If you’re a facility manager, you never want to have to repeatedly dip into your budget for pesky repairs and tweaks that only end up reoccurring each year. If you’re noticing this issue, the problem stems from the inability of your bathroom and locker room materials to stand up to the test of time, and we know why.

Scranton Products is familiar with this trend and is dedicated to making sure that your bathroom or locker room is durable and long-lasting so you won’t have to worry about any extra maintenance costs. Continue reading to learn why your bathrooms and locker rooms aren’t standing the test of time, what happens when they can’t, and how you can prevent this problem. Read more

Summer School Cleaning & Maintenance Plan

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During the typical school year, your building experiences a lot of use. However, performing the maintenance and large-scale cleaning that’s needed isn’t always an option when school is in session. That’s why many educational facilities wait until the summer recess to complete large-scale projects. However, this still leaves two possible conflicts.

The first conflict occurs when a school is still used during the summer months. Some schools, for instance, run summer camp programs, while others serve as pseudo community centers for public meetings or for clubs and organizations. Although it’s terrific that the school is being used by the community throughout the year, it makes it even harder for building officials to perform the needed cleaning and maintenance.

The second conflict arises from the mere effort of trying to complete multiple major projects in such a short span of time. This puts additional pressure on administrators to plan and coordinate with project leaders thoroughly ahead of time to make sure that the maintenance and cleaning can be completed within the time frame before students and faculty return to class.

Cleaning and Maintenance Plan

1.      Clearly define the objective.

The first step to designing a successful cleaning and maintenance plan is to clearly define the object. For instance, “Clean the entire building, top to bottom” isn’t a clear object.

Ambiguity is the enemy of effective planning, so be specific. Do the floors and carpeting on all levels need to be cleaned? Do the lockers need to have graffiti removed or need repairs?

Making a clear plan will also help when determining cost and balancing the school’s budget.

2.      Consider the stages and order of maintenance and cleaning.

You should also consider the order in which the maintenance and cleaning is performed. It’s highly recommended that, in most cases, cleaning is performed after maintenance. This is because some maintenance can leave behind dust and debris.

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If the cleaning team came before the maintenance was completed, they would have to come back and perform a second cleaning. This redundancy can result in an inefficient use of the school’s budget and unnecessarily extend project timelines.

3.      Prioritize cleaning and maintenance projects.

Planning major cleaning and maintenance over the summer gives your teams only a few months to complete these projects. As a result, you may need to prioritize which projects are done at the beginning of the summer and which are done later. You may also need to determine which projects should be done right away and which ones, if any, can wait until next summer if time constraints require them to be postponed.

Most experts agree that your primary focus when thinking of cleaning and maintenance should be on areas of safety or health concerns. Many times this involves restrooms, locker rooms, and cafeterias. For example, bathroom partitions or lockers that have been damaged by rust can pose a serious safety risk, as corrosion can weaken the structure and leave sharp edges exposed.

4.      Identify materials that need to be replaced and the timeline needed to replace materials.

When choosing replacement products, be sure to select cost-effective materials that provide adequate durability and low maintenance costs and don’t negatively impact the indoor air quality of the school.

One material that features all of these characteristics and more is HDPE. Used in the making of bathroom vanities, partitions, and lockers, HDPE is a highly versatile and dependable material.

The Best Lockers for Pool Areas

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The lockers in pool locker rooms need to hold up in this high-moisture and high-humidity environment. So your patrons have a clean, sanitary locker room environment at your facility, your pool locker room needs to be equipped with the best possible lockers. So which ones should you choose?

Scranton Products provides Tufftec Lockers that are designed to withstand the moisture and humidity common in pool environments. Continue to reading to learn why Tufftec lockers are the best lockers for pool areas. Read more

5 Questions You Should Ask When Shopping for School Lockers

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When you’re shopping for school lockers for your facility, you want to be sure you’re choosing a durable material that can withstand the impact of students unloading their books, gym clothes, sports gear and other belongings. There are many different factors to consider when shopping for lockers for your school. Read on to find out the five questions you should be asking.

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1. How durable is the material?

School lockers face a lot of harsh wear and tear daily, so it’s important to choose lockers that are made of a durable material that can withstand this use.

The traditional option for hallway lockers is metal but they can come with a lot of drawbacks. They’re prone to dents with minimal impact which can compromise the aesthetics of the lockers and will end up costing a lot of money for repairs and replacement.

A impact test was conducted following ASTM standards that showed Duralife Lockers had 59 times greater resistance to impacts when compared to metal lockers.

2. How much maintenance do they require?

Constantly having to perform maintenance on your school lockers will become expensive in the long wrong. You want to be sure that the lockers you’re choosing are low maintenance to save you from this cost.

Traditional metal lockers have a lower initial cost than plastic lockers, making them an economical choice for schools. However, there are hidden costs such as additional expenses associated with cleaning, painting and the general maintenance of these lockers on an annual or semi-annual basis which may be overlooked.

By comparing the true cost of a traditional metal hallway locker to a Duralife HDPE locker over a 20 year period a study was done to take into account the initial cost, maintenance, dent and scratch repair, painting cost, graffiti removal and replacing damaged and corroded parts to create a cost of ownership model. Within 2 years, Duralife HDPE lockers are less expensive than metal. In 20 years, the accumulated savings are substantial.

3. How much noise do they produce?

 The noisy clanging that comes from shutting a metal locker can be distracting as it rings throughout the hallways, so look for an option where the sound is muffled.

Duralife Lockers are 3 times quieter than metal lockers and reduce noise in the hallway. This eliminates distractions from the hallways and leads to a better learning environment.  The difference between that is a metal locker noise would be equivalent to an alarm clock 2 feet away where the Duralife locker noise is considered similar to that created by a washing machine.

4. Are the lockers made of sustainable material?

Some major traditional metal locker brands do not meet the strictest standards for air quality and sustainability. These products are not Greenguard Certified. The Greenguard Certification Program gives assurance that products designed for use in indoor spaces meet strict chemical emissions limits. This contributes to the creation of healthy interiors.

Duralife Lockers are Greenguard Gold Certified and meet the strict criteria for products intended for use in schools, as well as other environments where children spend a lot of time. With Duralife Lockers, you can be confident that the lockers are not having a negative effect on your school’s air quality.

5. Are the lockers visually appealing?

It’s also important that the lockers are aesthetically appealing in your facility. You want people to come into your school and see it as a respectable environment. DuraLife Lockers have appealing vents throughout and a clean-looking surface. There are also built in handles and combination locks that are recessed to improve student safety.

To learn more about Scranton Products’ DuraLife Lockers download our free eBook, The Ultimate Guide to HDPE Plastic Lockers for Schools.

Providing a Safer Gym Locker Against Bacteria

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New strains of MRSA, a drug-resistant bacteria, are emerging nationwide, causing hundreds of thousands of infections annually according to federal data, reports and academic studies. Though cases once were confined to hospitals, they are now showing up regularly in schools and gym locker rooms. Read more

The Duralife 123 Challenge: Do Your School Lockers Pass the Test?

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School personnel including teachers, principals, facility managers, PTA members, and superintendants all around are taking the Duralife 123 Challenge to find out if their school lockers pass the test. Lockers line the hallways of schools and face harsh wear and tear every day as students unload their books and belongings, open and close them between every class, and even draw on them. Will your school lockers pass the test? Take the Duralife 123 Challenge to See for Yourself.

Impact

You may think that metal lockers are more durable than plastic lockers, just like some of the school personnel who took the Duralife 123 Challenge, but they quickly found out that High Density Polyethylene (HDPE) Duralife Lockers are far superior.

The first test of the Duralife 123 Challenge is to use forceful impact against a metal locker, then again against an HDPE plastic locker.

After hitting both lockers with a hammer, the  school personnel found that the metal lockers  were easily dented with little force while HDPE plastic lockers could be hit as hard as possible and did not leave a mark.

Traditional metal lockers are usually made from 16 gauge steel which is less than 1/16 inch thick material. This thin material makes metal lockers prone to denting and other types of damage. But Duralife Lockers are made of 1/2 inch thick rigid HDPE plastic, which makes them 59 times greater in resistance to impact than metal lockers.

Graffiti

Graffiti is a big issue when it comes to school lockers. Students may write all over their lockers, leaving damage and making your school appear in a negative light. It’s important to avoid a locker material that makes it difficult to clean graffiti off, and it’s also costly to utilize various cleaning methods in an effort to do so. You may also have to end up replacing the lockers or repaint them which is very costly.

The second test of the Duralife 123 Challenge is graffiti.  School personnel wrote on a metal locker and a Duralife Locker with permanent markers, and then they attempted to clean the marker off. As they tried to wipe the marker off the metal lockers very little came off and the graffiti was still very visible, , But when they wiped the marker off the HDPE plastic lockers, there was no residue left with little effort.

Noise

One big issue with metal lockers is the noise they produce when students close them. Hearing this loud sound ring throughout the halls is enough to give anyone a headache, and it’s particularly distracting to the students in class when they hear various locker slams in the hallway.

The third and final test of the Duralife 123 Challenge is noise.  School personnel slammed a metal locker then slammed an HDPE plastic locker to see which one made more noise. Metal lockers made a loud sound, while HDPE plastic lockers made a more muffled, quieter sound.

So take the Duralife 123 Challenge today and find out if your school lockers pass the test. To learn more about Scranton Products’ DuraLife Lockers, click here to download our free eBook, Sustainable Building Products: How to Make Your Facility Eco-Friendly from Top to Bottom.

Sustainable Building Products

HDPE vs. Metal: Which Material Comes Out on Top?

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When you’re searching for products for your facility, one of the most important factors to consider is material. The material of your products makes all the difference when it comes to durability, sustainability and aesthetics. You also want to make sure that you’re purchasing materials that will hold up over time Some popular materials include high density polyethylene (HDPE) and metal. If you’re torn between the two or you’re just looking for more information, keep reading to find out which material is the better option based on what matters most to you.

Pleasing Aesthetics

You want to make sure that the products in your facility add to your building, or blend in, rather than standing out and looking unsightly. Traditional metal lockers have vents and handles that protrude from the surface, which is not aesthetically pleasing. These protruding elements may also lead to bumps and scrapes and reduce safety in the facility. HDPE plastic lockers have vents built into the surface with recessed handles and locks for a smooth, clean look. The recessed handles and locks help to improve safety by eliminating the risk of bumps and scrapes.

Damage Resistant

Overall, HDPE plastic holds up better than metal against damages such as impacts, scratches and even graffiti.

  • Impact: Traditional lockers are made from 16 gauge steel which makes the material less than 1/16” thick. HDPE plastic lockers are made of ½” thick rigid HDPE plastic which makes them 59 times stronger and resistant to impact than traditional metal lockers.
  • Scratches: Scratches are also commonly seen on metal lockers which expose the metal underneath the paint. This requires paint to cover up or complete replacement. However, HDPE plastic lockers are one solid color throughout. You won’t have to spend time and money covering scratches or chips in the pain.
  • Graffiti: If you have to deal with graffiti in your facility, you’ll want to choose a material that can easily be cleaned. Markers can be very difficult to remove from metal lockers, and could even leave behind residue. But because of HDPE plastic’s non-porous surface, graffiti readily wipes off. Stickers and contact paper can also be easily removed.

Maintenance

Choosing materials that constantly need to be repaired, replaced or cleaned gets costly. While budget is always an important factor in choosing materials, it’s crucial to understand that products that are the least expensive initially could end up costing you in the future. Traditional metal lockers have a low initial cost, making them a top choice for facilities. However, additional expenses for these lockers, such as cleaning, painting and general maintenance will add up. The initial cost of metal lockers is lower than HDPE plastic, but HDPE plastic is less expensive over time. If you’re considering installing lockers or bathroom partitions into your facility, consider HDPE plastic over metal lockers for durable and sustainable products. Click here to find out where to buy Scranton Products.




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