Cleaning And COVID-19

By Patty Olinger
From the August 2021 Issue

W e’ve come quite a distance because the initial days and months of the COVID-19 pandemic. We’ve learned more concerning the virus and how it spreads, determined how exactly to curb incidences and the severe nature of symptoms through vaccinations, and executed additional measures that support infection prevention. Yet there’s a long road ahead for facilities maintenance and all stakeholders still.

Communicating precautions to take and cleaning procedures employed at a facility keeps occupants informed. Shown here, a Hyatt Hotels location features signage reminding visitors to stay six feet aside from one another. (Photo: Hyatt Hotels)

The Delta along with other variants of the herpes virus are leading to rising cases and hospitalizations in THE UNITED STATES, the uk, Portugal, Russia, and much more. With facility managers juggling how exactly to maintain safety in facilities which are currently open, approaching reopening, or remaining closed for the proper time being, it’s vital that you look back at what we’ve uncovered to find out how best to progress.

Considerations For Cleanliness

In March 2020, many organizations sought additional help with proper biorisk preparation, response, and recovery to handle a fresh threat. The Global Biorisk Advisory Council (GBAC), a Division of ISSA, tracked the launch of GBAC STAR™ Facility Accreditation fast. A facility is intended by the accreditation has generated and maintains a cleaning, disinfection, and infectious disease prevention program, gets the proper protocols set up, and contains a united team of trained professionals to handle those procedures.

During the last year, a large number of facilities have committed or earned to accreditation. As a total consequence of completing accreditation and balancing facility closures and reopenings during the last 18 months, facility managers have determined tactics which have been instrumental in upholding safety and cleanliness. Included in these are:

Documenting procedures. Having an obvious plan in place for several processes linked to cleaning, disinfection, and infection prevention measures is crucial. This may enhance confidence, consistency, safety, and employee morale. Processes can transform as new developments arise or facilities shift occupancy health insurance and limits and safety guidelines. It is crucial to help keep facility management and cleaning professionals current on every adjustment which will impact the direction they perform their daily tasks in order that lapses in cleanliness usually do not occur.

A documented plan may also help when approached by guests of the facility. For instance, at The Garlands of Barrington, a complete life Plan community in Illinois, staff could indicate their documented protocols which were vetted by GBAC STAR when guests sought rationale because of their requirements and method of cleaning. It can benefit facilities when talking with local public health officials also.

Carefully vetting solutions. Whether you’re considering utilizing a new disinfectant, device, or hygiene solutions like hand sanitizer, don’t rush the procedure. Determine whether disinfecting and cleaning products fit the bill predicated on your risk assessment. Consider your sustainability and safety goals. For example, by undergoing accreditation, one accredited convention center learned that the disinfectants they were using weren’t on the EPA’s List N. The facility could identify an improved solution that met not merely the EPA List N requirements for SARS-CoV-2, but its sustainability goals also.

Additionally, consider if the gear you intend to implement is compatible together with your chemicals. Be sure you check the merchandise label. Take into account that some solutions aren’t well-suited for electrostatic sprayers. Then, perform training to make sure a smooth transition when introducing new solutions.    

Openly communicating with everyone. Effective communication is paramount to learning and sharing dos and don’ts. That is true whether you manage one location or numerous facilities. This may mean regularly touching base together with your team of in-house professionals or your building service contractor. For instance, Hyatt Hotels focused on earning accreditation at every property worldwide. They created a fresh role, the Hygiene and Wellness Leader, at all their locations. Through the process, Hyatt’s teams learned new training guidelines which were shared across multiple properties to assist their preparedness and response.

Communicating openly with building visitors can be essential. Hyatt produced a “Know PRIOR TO GOING” letter detailing expectations for event attendees and hosts, while STAPLES Center in LA placed large display signs and stickers communicating its accreditation at entry points once fans could actually go back to the arena.


While you can find already signs suggesting that increased cleaning frequencies and long-term efforts around indoor quality of air may decelerate post-pandemic, the continuing future of cleaning has changed. Using effective products and technologies such as for example electrostatic sprayers to eliminate pathogens is essential efficiently, and so may be the real manner in which facilities achieve this. Thus, it’s really about both destination and the journey.

We should be cognizant of the merchandise we have been using and how exactly we are using them. Cleaning professionals are increasingly exposure to toxic chemicals that bring about eye and skin irritation. Building occupants may also have sensitivities to chemicals plus some ingredients may pose a risk to the surroundings. Facility managers have the effect of upholding safety for visitors and employees, and are viewed as experts on what to accomplish now. After all, CEOs along with other leaders now understand and value the role that cleanliness plays within their businesses.

While we have been already seeing some regions lift social distancing and mask rules, relaxing these policies doesn’t signal that people can get back to just how we executed cleaning prior to the pandemic. For most facilities, cleaning was conducted out of sight of creating guests previously. Having a well-documented, thoughtful cleaning, disinfection, and infection prevention program might help facility managers and their in-house or outsourced teams decrease the threat of infection and uphold appearance. Subsequently, it can help to uphold higher standards of cleanliness.

Cleanliness At Forefront

It’s vital that you acknowledge that there were claims of cleaning measures for COVID-19 being simply “hygiene theater,” meaning they develop a perception of safety without lowering risk actually. The truth is that cleanliness is essential for upholding public health. At the start of the pandemic, experts and the general public knew very little concerning the SARS-CoV-2 virus and how it had been transmitted. Cleaning was a strategic step to both target pathogens and present occupants and visitors greater assurance about their safety in places like food markets, airports, hotels, and assisted living facilities. Plus, COVID-19 isn’t the only real risk facility managers face. Influenza, Norovirus, MRSA, and countless other pathogens can spread among facility occupants.

With brand reputation, customer loyalty, and underneath line influenced by cleanliness, many organizations can’t risk failing woefully to meet customer expectations. Alongside cleaning, facility managers must prioritize proper infection and disinfection prevention. By taking into consideration the above recommendations which have benefited organizations across different sectors, facility managers can be confident knowing that they’re doing their best to keep safety for everybody who walks through their buildings’ doors.

Olinger, JM, RBP, Certified Forensic Operator®, Certified Bio-Forensic Restoration Specialist® is Executive Director for the Global Biorisk Advisory Council (GBAC), a Division of ISSA . GBAC’s services include biorisk management program assessment and training, Forensic Restoration® response and remediation, the GBAC STAR™ service and facility accreditation programs, certification and training of people and consulting for building owners and facility managers. Ahead of joining GBAC , Olinger was an assistant vice president in the working office of Research Administration and the Executive Director of environmentally friendly, Safe practices Office (EHSO) at Emory University.

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