Cleaning is Essential to our Country’s Shift Toward Re-opening & Staying Open
As the world continues to reopen from pandemic closures, the challenge to develop & implement standards and guidelines is at the top of the priority list for facility managers. As a facility manager, it is very important to know and understand that; cleaning is not just for aesthetics or appearance. Cleaning is for health. It is also critical to know and understand the difference between cleaning, sanitizing, and disinfecting. Cleaning physical removes soils from the surface, while sanitizing lowers the number of germs to a safe level, and disinfecting eliminates bacteria and viruses on a surface. Keep in mind that porous surfaces such as carpet, linen, couch, and other such fabricated surfaces cannot be disinfected, only sanitized.
Here are Five Questions to Consider for Your Disinfection Plan
1. Who is most at risk in your facility?
According to the CDC, older adults and other individuals with compromised immune systems have a higher risk of severe illness from COVID-19 and other pathogens like Influenza. Facilities with high numbers of at-risk groups, such as nursing homes, will require heightened disinfection protocols than those with low-risk groups.
2. What products should be used to clean & disinfect?
Check that the products you select are listed on the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) website and are proven to be effective against pathogens that can call illness, including SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19.
3. Where should your disinfection plan focus the most attention?
Focus on high touch points that everyone in the facility comes in contact with. This includes tabletops, counters, light switches, elevator buttons, door handles, remote controls, water fountains, and more. Other high-risk surfaces such as toilet handles, faucets in restrooms, or those that are in contact with raw food in food service areas should also be a priority.
4. When should you implement your re-opening plan?
While you may prefer for cleaning to be done at the end of the day or during after hours, pathogens are actively traveling between people and indoor spaces all day long. Using a targeted hygiene approach can help employees identify the most important times for cleaning and disinfecting without having to wait for cleaning teams to show up at the end of the day.
5. How are you going to execute your plan?
Whether you go with a Building Service Contractor (BSC )or prefer in house cleaning staff, these cleaning professionals should be trained on how to clean according to the best practices and CDC guidelines. When cleaning and disinfecting a surface, start by cleaning to remove any heavy or visible soil before applying disinfectant to achieve optimal results.
Encourage Hand Hygiene
According to the CDC, keeping our hands clean is one of the most important steps we can take to avoid getting sick and spreading germs to others. Many diseases and conditions are spread by not washing hands with soap and clean, running water. Why should you place emphasis on hand hygiene?
- People frequently touch their eyes, nose, and mouth without realizing it. Germs can get into the body through the eyes, nose, and mouth then make us sick.
- Germs from unwashed hands can get into foods and drinks while people prepare or consume them. Germs can multiply in some types of food or drinks, under certain conditions, and make people sick.
- Germs from unwashed hands can be transferred to other objects, like handrails, table tops, or toys, and then transferred to another person’s hand.
- Removing germs through handwashing therefore helps prevent diarrhea and respiratory infections and may even help prevent skin & eye infections.
Promoting hand hygiene in your facility will help you protect the health of your building occupants and the community. Hand washing helps your body defend against invasive pathogens and allows us to do our part in keeping ourselves and each other healthy and safe.