OVER THE LAST YEAR, INDUSTRIAL CLEANING AND SERVICE PROVIDERS AND COMPANIES AROUND THE WORLD HAVE HAD TO ADAPT TO CHANGES BROUGHT ON BY THE COVID-19 PANDEMIC.
If there’s one thing that’s for sure, it’s that COVID-19 has changed the cleaning industry for good.
But with these changes has raised a lot of confusion and controversy regarding what really matters when it comes to cleaning, disinfecting, and enacting a secure facility response plan in the new normal.
Drawing images of the Wild West, source information on proper protocols and regulations is constantly changing and evolving, making it challenging to keep up with the latest findings and recommendations
. This makes it extremely important for cleaning companies and their customers to remain flexible and adaptable in their cleaning, disinfecting and disposal procedures to ensure the safety of all workplaces.
When hiring a cleaning service to tackle COVID-19 disinfection in your factory, plant or warehouse, it’s important to understand what proper and improper approach and procedures are being used across the industry so you can hire the right company for your needs.
TO HELP CLEAR UP SOME OF THE MISINFORMATION, WE’RE DEBUNKING THE TOP MYTHS SURROUNDING SERVICE AND HEALTH & SAFETY RELATED EFFORTS TO COMBAT COVID-19.
MYTH #1: SURFACE CLEANING IS GOOD ENOUGH.
As more businesses have started returning employees to the workplace and welcoming customers back through their doors, there has been a growing demand to create safe and healthy indoor environments.
As a result, many industrial cleaning companies have placed a heavy emphasis on manual wipe up but can leave a lot to be desired in terms of effectively meeting essential disinfection and decontamination. Towards effectively cleaning, suppliers and their clients need to strike a balance – between site-specific requests – and tried-and-true cleaning and disinfecting methods.
Expertise is king with COVID. In combating the virus careful considerations should be made, from the handling of multiple surface types through to the external environment. Specialized cleaning personnel are expertly trained to remove, neutralize and destruct the virus.
Treatment options can range in terms of the scope of work and the level of space that require attention. It is important to know whether the customer requires routine or responsive services, where handheld pump, or airless sprayers and heavy-duty foggers
are on the table.
This myth showcases just how important it is to understand COVID-19 transmission. Based on extensive scientific findings, it’s been established that there are three main modes of COVID-19 transmission
THE THREE MODES OF TRANSMISSION:
1. SURFACE TOUCH:
transmission that takes place by touching an infected surface (such as a door handle) or an infected person (with a handshake).
2. DROP SPRAY:
droplets that are sprayed out of an individual’s mouth or nose when they cough or sneeze, travelling up to 6ft through the air.
3. AEROSOL INHALATION:
small droplets that are formed through the mouth and nose that build up in indoor environments and can spread beyond 6ft.
With this knowledge, manufacturers should focus their core efforts on strategies that reduce risks of transmission from every mode. In order to do this, effective cleaning companies will utilize multiple cleaning strategies and safety protocols to secure a production area or facility from a potential spread.
To put things clearly, regularly disinfecting high-touch surfaces
will help mitigate “surface touch” transmission, while wearing proper face coverings or other PPE such as safety glasses or goggles, and gloves will help to mitigate any of the “drop spray” transmission.
MYTH #2: ALL MASKS AND FACE COVERINGS ARE EQUALLY EFFECTIVE.
With so many mask options out there (disposable or reusable? N95 or KN95?), how can we make sure we’re choosing the most effective masks for our cleaning staff?
N95 VS. KN95 VS. SURGICAL MASKS: WHAT’S THE DIFFERENCE AND WHICH ONE iS BEST?
masks and KN95
masks are made from multiple layers of synthetic material and are meant to be worn over the mouth and nose. Both masks are designed to filter out and capture 95% of 0.3 micron particles in the air – this is where the “95” in their names comes from. N95 and KN95 masks have been found to have a better fit than surgical masks
over the face and around the neck, ensuring that droplets and particles do not enter or exit through gaps around the mask.
Also referred to as N95 respirators, these masks are often confused with KN95 masks. While their names and functionalities are similar, they are held to different standards. Most N95 masks are manufactured and recommended for use in construction and heavy-duty industrial jobs where workers are exposed to dust, or small particles and potential bodily fluids, such as blood.
According to extensive research, the most effective mask continues to be the N95 mask
without a valve.
While arguably the least comfortable mask for cleaning staff, the N95 mask without a front valve option is the most safe and secure for facility cleaning and decontamination. A valveless N95 mask
, or respirator eliminates the risk of any virus, or COVID, to be transmitted through a valve – upon exhaling.
WHAT IS THE BEST PPE VALUE IN INDUSTRIAL CLEANINGAND DECONTAMINATION WORK?
When it comes to industrial cleaning, disposable methods
are always best – for a supplier and the client. It can actually become more hazardous to other workers when cleaners wear re-usable HAZMAT suits and full-face respirators, while being in a COVID-19 infected area.
Intimidating, self-contained breathing apparatuses (SCBAs)
look more impressive than they actually are. The valves allow air that is breathed to be released back into the environment, possibly contributing to further spread of the virus. In addition, the mask filter element requires specific attention to detail with their maintenance as it traps and may, if not properly cared for, buildup contamination from site to site.
For equipment that is less disposable, such as SCBA full-face respirators, a COVID crew must thoroughly disassemble
such equipment by the wearer after each and every use.
With increasing online advertisement for dramatic and sophisticated PPE manufacturers can only trust that a cleaning company is well established, and trained to ensure the highest possible levels of service. Whether it be Tyvek or HAZMAT suits, disposable is best, while other PPE are best as disposable as well.
In order to minimize deadly risks, a cleaning company must inform and uphold their standards to clients. This is another reason that disposable Tyvek or HAZMAT, and N95 masks are recommended as the most effective and safest option – for both cleaning staff, and facility employees that remain – near any area.
Fogging has become a widespread method of disinfecting large facilities because it’s quick and easy. However, the CDC has rejected “fogging” as the most effective method in combating COVID-19, as it doesn’t actually make direct contact with the virus.
IS YOUR CLEANING COMPANY USING FOGGING AS THE SOLE FOCUS OF THEIR CLEANING PROCEDURE?
Fogging as a sole method of disinfection doesn’t meet EPA-registered requirements
and may violate law. It must always be paired with proper pre-cleaning procedures in order to be effective. It’s also important to note that improper application of disinfectants through fogging can lead to a false sense of security (and an increase in health hazards, leading to further spread of COVID-19). For example, many cleaning service companies guarantee “floor to ceiling” fogging services. This strategy of fogging well above the human height is actually wasting time, resources and money since COVID particles are unlikely to sit above 8-10 feet in the majority of site circumstances.
When a company is undertaking fogging, misting and spraying methods (whether electrostatic and other new technologies), they must ensure to following all associated instructions, and allowing for necessary target range
adjustment and dwell time
. Just like soap needs to be lathered in your hands for at least 20 seconds to be effective, disinfectants need to dwell for specified periods of time in order to ensure any bacteria or viruses have been removed.
Make sure you’re choosing a company that follows the right
methods and legal guidelines for disinfecting COVID-19.
MYTH #4: CLEANING AND DISINFECTING ARE ONE IN THE SAME
Cleaning and disinfecting are separate procedures and should both be employed with germs and viruses.
WHAT IS CLEANING?
is the process of removing germs, dirt, and impurities from surface areas. Cleaning does not kill germs or viruses, but can wipe them away, lowering their numbers, and the risk of spreading infections.
When cleaning a space that has had no confirmed or suspected cases of COVID-19, cleaning once a day
may be sufficient for virus removal on surfaces.
WHAT IS DISINFECTING?
is the process of using chemicals to kill germs and viruses directly on surface areas. This process does not necessarily clean dirty surfaces but is effective at killing germs and viruses on a surface after
WHEN TO CLEAN AND WHEN TO DISINFECT.
The CDC has approved a best practice for the disinfection process
. Cleaning companies should follow the proper process and ensure they are cleaning more frequently and disinfecting after cleaning in shared spaces is recommended for best results. Shared spaces that meet the following criteria (whatever facility size) would benefit from disinfection:
When cleaning a space that has had no confirmed or suspected cases of COVID-19, cleaning once a day may be sufficient for virus removal on surfaces.
ITS IMPORTANT TO NOTE THAT SOME PRODUCTS, SUCH AS CLOROX WIPES, CLEAN AND DISINFECT AT THE SAME TIME. ITS ALSO NOTED THAT CERTAIN CLEANERS AND DISINFECTANTS SHOULD NEVER MIX.
- Confirmed cases of COVID-19 within the space
- Low number of people wearing masks
- Infrequent hand hygiene
- High traffic areas and high touch surfaces (assembly lines, control rooms, breakrooms, lunchrooms, restrooms etc.)
MYTH #5: GREEN PRODUCTS ARE EFFECTIVE DISINFECTANTS.
While the green cleaning trend has been on the rise over the last few years, it’s important to understand how – and if – green products fit into a COVID-19 world. Unfortunately, green cleaning can diminish the disinfection aspect of infection control
. Since disinfection refers to the destruction of a microorganism, it
is, at its core, largely a non-green process. Disinfectants are EPA-registered pesticides that meet strict requirements. The EPA currently does not allow green logos on their registered list of disinfectants.
Therefore, if you wish to employ more green cleaning trends, it is critical that your service provider test the effectiveness of these methods after cleaning has been completed.
Post-cleaning verification can determine whether microbes have actually been eliminated or simply moved around and spread across different surfaces.
DOES YOUR FACILITY REQUIRE CLEANING?
DON’T TAKE ANY CHANCES. CALL IN OUR EXPERTS.
The spread of COVID-19 can put business and employees into an extremely serious and tricky situation. At TEAM Group, we understand that the health and safety of your family, employees, and clients are on the line. We work in both emergency and scheduled situations to analyze your problem and create a thorough, safe and cost-effective strategy. An industrial cleaning that takes in time and situational site-specific requests into account is a company that can save yours time, money and potentially, lives also.
HERE’S HOW TEAM GROUP CAN HELP:
1. MODIFY OR ENHANCE EXISTING SERVICES AND PROCEDURES
. If an outbreak is detected or suspected, we assess the level of risk, isolate the area, and clean according to government-approved standards. Our approach means you do not have to shut down your entire plant or risk the further spread of infectious microorganisms.
2. ONSITE AND LOCAL WASTE DISPOSAL
. When it comes to non-hazardous and hazardous waste disposal, such as COVID-19 medical waste, our TEAM works with you – both on-site or off-site – to ensure the most cost-effective and safe methods for waste disposal.
3. PREVENTATIVE AND EMERGENCY DEEP CLEANING
. TEAM is audited and approved by a certified industrial hygienist (CIH). Whether its overnight deep cleaning or the last-minute replacement of a current supplier, we’ll work with you to ensure all of your needs are met.
4. STANDOUT POST-CLEANING VERIFICATION SERVICE
. We employ a rapid monitoring tool, ATP Testing Cleaning Verification System, to detect living organisms such as COVID-19. If there is any organic matter after decontamination, our ATP test will pick it up and identify its location. This allows us to identify which areas of your facility need more decontamination before we certify that your facility has been cleaned to suitable standards.
5. FAST, FAIR AND COMPETITIVE PRICING
. We understand that this is important work. That’s why we don’t overcharge for our cleaning and disinfecting services.
Get in touch
with us to learn how TEAM Group can clean and disinfect your facility with peace of mind.