With organizations and venues reopening and with a slight sense of normalcy, business owners want to make sure their business is in a prime COVID safe condition.
Some of the questions asked include:
- How do we know which surfaces need to be cleaned and how often?
- Which disinfectants and methods are effective and safe?
- How can we give our employees, guests and visitors the certainty that our building is clean and safe?
Bridget Gardner, cleaning specialist, trainer, and director of consulting firm High Performance Cleaning (HPC) Solutions, has developed a comprehensive guide to cleaning for COVID-19.
"A plan for cleaning surfaces must be part of a COVID safety plan for every building," says Ms. Gardner.
“… However, there is a lot of conflicting information about how to do it best. There is no point in throwing money on extended hours and disinfectants if you have no idea whether they are successfully eliminating the risk of infection. "
Development of a preventive cleaning program
The four main strategies Ms. Gardner outlines include:
- Establish protocols for cleaning high touch points
A high touch point (HTP) is a surface that is frequently touched by many hands and is at a higher risk of hand contamination.
“Spend time watching people use the facility,” says Ms. Gardner. “For example, people don't always use the pressure plate on a bathroom door and instead slide it over or under it. Also, keep in mind that not every surface you touch is called a high touch surface. Identify the critical points where the risk of the contamination spreading is greatest. "
- Verify that disinfection methods are evidence-based and compliant
Disinfectants for contact points must be antiviral and, if possible, ARTG registered as effective against COVID-19.
“Disinfection is a process, not just a product. The process must be viewed in its entirety: the surface, the method application, the tools used and the time in which the disinfectant remains wet on a surface, ”explains Ms. Gardner.
- Make sure you have enough cleaning tools
Using reusable cleaning tools at multiple points of contact carries a significant risk of cross-contamination. However, single-use wipes generate a significant amount of waste that is typically too expensive for a community setting.
"Non-healthcare facilities should implement a color-coded system for each area of the facility, calculate the number of wipes based on the number of points of contact, and if possible carry, store and wash wipes on site," says Ms. Gardner.
- Check the cleanliness of high points of contact
The two main methods of validating the results of preventive cleaning are UV fluorescence and adenosine triphosphate (ATP) tests.
“Both UV fluorescence and ATP tests must be performed by trained personnel using audit protocols to ensure accurate and reliable results.
“Cleaning high points of contact is an extremely important component in keeping a facility and its residents safe for COVID. However, it is equally important that both cleaning and testing are carried out correctly as this can lead to safety errors, ”concludes Ms. Gardner.
For more information, see the HPC Solutions website at hpcsolutions.com.au.