Businesses are being urged to adopt enhanced cleaning and disinfecting protocols to promote workplace safety, but don’t know where to begin. Before you implement disinfection protocols, you need to know the basics:
- What disinfectants are approved to use
- What methods of disinfection are recommended
- What programs are available to you
While there aren’t disinfectants made to specifically target COVID-19 yet, the EPA has identified disinfectants with emerging viral pathogens AND human coronavirus claims for use against SARS-CoV-2, the cause of COVID-19.
These disinfectants can be found on the EPA’s N-List. When using any type of cleaning or disinfecting chemical, always follow the instructions for use located on the product label. Product labels will identify how long the disinfectant must dwell on the surface (remain visibly wet) to produce effective outcomes.
Methods of Disinfection
Disinfection is a two step process. Before a surface is disinfected, it must be thoroughly cleaned to rid the surface of soils, like dust and dirt.
Once an area is thoroughly cleaned, you can begin touchpoint disinfection. This is defined as the disinfection of commonly touched surfaces. Hopefully disinfection has always been included in your service schedule, but how frequently your facility is disinfected will most likely change.
Touchpoints must be disinfected daily using the correct products and personal protective equipment (PPE). If your business is open to the public, we recommend disinfecting touchpoints every 2 hours to protect the safety of employees, customers and worksite visitors.
Touchpoints include, but are not limited to:
- Door Knobs
- Light Switches
- Elevator Buttons
- Desks, tables and counterops
There are three methods of disinfection that can be used to disinfect against COVID-19:
1. Bucket and Towel
Fill a bucket with an approved disinfectant. Soak a microfiber towel with the solution and wipe high touch surfaces giving the correct contact time indicated on the label.
This method is recommended for nightly cleaning, or while the identified area is unoccupied, because of the variables involved. It requires many microfiber towels because once a towel is dipped, it can’t be dipped again. Using this method, surfaces become very wet and require time to dry. There is also the potential that a bucket will be knocked over. Performing this method of disinfection when there are no distractions is ideal.
Use disposable wipes to disinfect commonly touched surfaces between uses or every 2 hours, whichever is more frequent. Make them available to your staff and customers for easy disinfection and peace of mind.
Wipes are an effective method of disinfection because they are pre-saturated with the right concentration of chemical. They are also a more sanitary option because they are one time use, which leaves zero margin for error. If you are encouraging your staff to disinfect their personal work stations, wipes are the best option.
3. Electrostatic Disinfection
Wiping every single surface with a microfiber towel or disinfecting wipe is time consuming. It is also impractical to disinfect every single surface, which has resulted in a focus on touchpoints.
Electrostatic spray disinfection is a fast method of disinfection that helps you achieve 360-degree coverage of targeted surfaces. In addition to being fast, it is effective and safe around people, office electronics and plants.
Electrostatic disinfection devices use positive and negative charges to make disinfecting solutions electromagnetically adhere to surfaces so that even the smallest areas, or areas that often go unnoticed like the bottom of hand rests, are disinfected.
This is the most effective method of disinfection as both a preventative and reactive measure. We recommend this service at least one time per week to all of our customers in addition to regularly scheduled services.
Disinfection is a team effort. Recognizing this, we’ve created programs to help our customers stay protected before, during and after reopening for business.
1. OctoClean Does it All
Customers have the option of requesting an OctoClean day porter to handle disinfection of touchpoints, shared work stations and common areas during the day. At night, we offer enhanced disinfection services, including electrostatic disinfection at least one time per week.
2. We Do it Together
Customers can also involve their staff. We’ve put together a Workplace Safety Kit. This kit includes guidelines for cleaning and disinfecting, checklists and the disinfecting wipes needed to keep your business disinfected when our staff isn’t there. In the evenings we will still perform enhanced disinfection services.
How you choose to implement your disinfection protocols is up to you. Whether you outsource all your services or collaborate with a service provider to keep your business safe, you need to ensure everyone is on the same page.
Set a zoom meeting before staff are welcomed back to work and discuss the new protocols. Give resources to your staff in advance and answer all their questions to reassure them that you are doing all you can.
Protocols should not only include guidelines for disinfection, but what you will be doing to promote hand hygiene, screen staff and how you will handle positive cases.
Together, we can create clean and safe workplaces.