The ongoing Coronavirus (Covid-19) pandemic has impacted businesses of all types and most companies have had to review and re-assess their working practices to protect their staff and customers. Many organisations had to, or chose to, close their business premises and where possible staff have worked from home, but as the lockdown is further relaxed more companies are looking to re-open premises, either wholly or in part, and need to make sure that they meet their legal responsibility to protect their employees and other people on site.
Because of this contract cleaning has now taken on a new meaning as the Covid-19 virus continues to sweep the globe. Whether you are a private landlord or a commercial property owner then gaining the confidence of your tenants and employees and showing that you are proactively protecting their health is vital. Professional cleaning firms like Ideal Cleaning Services Ltd are busier than ever as cases of Coronavirus continue to be reported, with doctor’s surgeries, offices and schools seeking deep cleaning services following patients, employees, teachers and pupils being tested for the virus.
I recently read an article that I found very interesting and which provided some very good ideas and advice as to how best to avoid the spread of germs during the Covid-19 pandemic. Because I thought the information provided was so relevant I have used some of the relevant points in this article because it is only through continued awareness that we will eventually win the battle with the Coronavirus strain Covid-19.
Commercial cleaning companies are reporting that clients, particularly those in UK cities, such as large businesses and restaurants, are now more often requesting further services, such as preventative deep cleans, since Coronavirus cases hit the UK. However there is cleaning and then there is disinfection and cleaning to prevent the spread of germs. A Coronavirus deep clean should include the close and careful sanitisation/disinfection of all touch points, floors and fittings. Germs can easily and quickly spread from one person to another by touching unclean equipment or surfaces. The key to success in any clean is attention to detail but in the case of a Covid-19 deep clean this is even more important.
Following a deep clean a full fogging service, carried out to the correct European (EN) standards for killing bacteria and viruses, is a sensible additional precaution for the highest level of hygiene.
Public Health England (PHE) has published advice on what people need to know about cleaning (in non-healthcare settings) if someone suspected of carrying the Coronavirus has been present. This guidance has been prepared based on knowledge of other viruses and is being regularly reviewed and updated.
If you are carrying out a deep clean at premises where you suspect someone may have been carrying the virus, the main risks to consider are:
- Contaminated surfaces
- Virus shedding from people who may be carrying it
- The amount of time an infected person spent in the setting
- The amount of time that has passed since the individual was last in the setting.
Studies of other viruses suggest that these risks are most likely to be reduced significantly over 72 hours. It is therefore recommended that an area be kept closed and secure for 72 hours, before cleaning, as the amount of virus living on surfaces will have dramatically reduced over this period of time. The same period of time is recommended for the disposal of cleaning items and personal protective equipment (PPE).
At a minimum, disposable gloves and an apron should be worn. Additional PPE for the eyes, mouth and nose might be necessary if visible contamination is present. Your local PHE Health Protection Team can advise on the most appropriate PPE for cleaning settings where a higher level of virus is indicated. The correct PPE is a must so don’t cut corners just to save money.
Responsible waste removal is essential if infection is suspected. Contaminated waste should not be stored with normal waste for 72 hours. If this is not possible then collection can be arranged through a specialist waste contractor who will treat it appropriately.
To protect the health of your property and its occupants and assuming you do not use a cleaning company, you may want to provide your employees or tenants with a daily cleaning schedule, for ongoing germ control. Here are 10 top tips and pieces of advice to stop the spread of germs in building or home:
- Focus your cleaning efforts on areas of the building where germs are most likely to spread, for instance the kitchen and the bathroom.
- Soap and hot water will rinse germs away, disinfectant will kill them. In the case of the COvid-19 virus a recommended and proven Viricide will be required
- Damp surfaces are a breeding ground for germs so make sure you thoroughly dry all counter tops and chopping boards.
- Make your cleaning schedule a regular one, tackling germ hot spots on a daily, rather than a weekly, basis and focus on all touch and contact points.
- Clean your cleaning equipment. Unless the tools you’re cleaning with are germ-free, then you’ll only be spreading harmful bacteria around. Use disposable cloths where possible. Reusable cloths should be disinfected after use or washed at 60C after each use. After washing, dry all cleaning equipment thoroughly.
- Use two different coloured buckets when using liquid cleaners – one for mopping, one for rinsing.
- Consider steam cleaning carpets and soft furnishings for effective germ control.
- Wash household linens, towels and underwear at 60C to kill germs.
- Use hands-free bins for food waste disposal to minimise the risk of germs spreading.
- Store pet food and equipment separately from the rest of the household to prevent any cross contamination.
In these challenging times, when hygiene is an even more critical concern than before, we understand that many companies may be re-evaluating their current cleaning requirement and in these cases it is important to do your home work! Whether you are undertaking deep cleaning and disinfection works yourself or using a cleaning company, due diligence is a must because it is more important than ever now to get it right.
Our company along with many others have been working hard to support their clients through these unprecedented times. In many cases our teams have not only supported frontline workers but have been the frontline workers. Where customer’s premises have remained open they have continued to provide routine and deep cleaning and disinfection fogging services, and in the daily working practices, work schedules have been re-focused with an emphasis on the regular disinfection of contact points, such as door handles/touch plates, handrails, keyboards, telephones and desk surfaces, to protect against Covid-19 transmission, whilst also maintaining critical hygiene standards in workplace kitchens, tea points, canteens and washroom facilities.
Where customers are now looking to re-open premises and receive staff back into the working environment, We as a specialised company are able to provide Return to Work Deep Cleaning to premises with our Specialised Industrial Division utilising ‘Fogging’ techniques to disinfect the air and all surfaces within an office/work space. This technique will not harm furnishings, carpets or I.T. equipment and leaves a residual film offering further anti-virus protection for up to 30 days after treatment and some peace of mind. Yes we are fully aware that these programs and processes will not stop everyone from catching the virus but it will
As an employer, owner or a proprietor it is as stated by the HSE your responsibility to protect people from harm. This includes taking reasonable steps to protect your workers and others from coronavirus. Coronavirus can transfer from people to surfaces. It can be passed on to others who touch the same surfaces. Keeping your workplace clean reduces the potential for coronavirus to spread and is a critical part of making and keeping your business ‘COVID-secure’.
I know that we are in unprecedented times and that sometimes we will feel as if we are walking through a minefield because of the uncertainty we face daily, however remember you are not in this alone and if you are undertaking deep cleaning and disinfection works yourself, don’t be afraid to ask for advice or help from an experienced and qualified cleaning company. After all it is what we are trained to do!