In the last week, or so, Picture Perfect Cleaning has received a tremendous number of requests from panicked clients, to ensure they are prepared for the Coronavirus. From adding on a significant number of hours and days to our cleaning, to ordering extra supplies.
We are experiencing something our modern-day society has never witnessed before, and let’s face it, the world is not prepared for this pandemic. As a commercial cleaning company, we believe we are responsible to do everything we can to help reduce the outbreak, as well as the worries of our clients. We do not take this responsibility lightly at all and are working overtime to ensure our clients are protected in every way we can possibly protect them. Below I will be discussing some of things Picture Perfect Cleaning is doing to best prevent the virus in our client’s workplace. I will also provide some pointers on what you can do in your workplace to help limit the spread of viruses.
Fogging your workspace with an electromagnetic sprayer
Luckily, Picture Perfect Cleaning recognized the need to prepare for a virus outbreak and purchased an electrostatic handheld sprayer in January. We wish we would have bought more than one, as they are now impossible to purchase anywhere. It is a brilliant piece of equipment as it provides an electrical charge to our solution, allowing the solution to wrap around surfaces with an effective and even coverage. Double-charged particles envelop the conductive surfaces. We are using an amazing, botanical, chemical in the sprayer. It is completely plant-based, approved by the government, and kills 99.99% of all viruses when properly used. Because it is plant-based, it is extremely safe for everyone, including children. This chemical is in large demand, but thankfully, we have an excellent supplier, who has put us at the top of their list, and we have purchased a large amount so that we can offer this service at any time.
Following our Communicable Disease and Illness Control Policy
Picture Perfect Cleaning is incredibly fortunate to have, who we believe is, one of the best Health and Safety Managers in the city of Calgary. Lyndsay has many years of experience in the health and safety world and joined our team a few years ago as a consultant, to help us take our health and safety practices to another level.
Picture Perfect Cleaning has instituted a Communicable Disease and Illness Control policy to create guidelines for communicable disease and illness control. The guidelines are designed to protect both clients and employees from contracting communicable diseases and illnesses. This policy must be used in conjunction with all applicable health and safety regulations and governmental legislation, including the Alberta Public Health Act and the Communicable Diseases Regulation.
This Communicable Disease and Illness Control Policy will be amended at a minimum annually, but may be amended more often as contagious infections come in season (e.g., influenza, H1N1, cough/cold season and now the Covid-19).
Training our custodians and managers properly
All employees will be provided with general education on infection prevention and control (IPAC) practices. This education will include:
• The risks associated with communicable diseases;
• The importance of appropriate immunizations;
• Hand hygiene;
• Appropriate cleaning and/or disinfection of items;
• Any pertinent health notices that may affect the workplace; and
• Employee responsibilities in the face of health notices or bulletins.
• Clients who appear to be ill should notify Picture Perfect Cleaning as soon as possible, and extra precautions must be taken to ensure that communicable diseases are not spread from clients to staff or to other clients.
• Employees must follow all health and safety policies at all times.
Custodians must wear the proper Personal Protective Equipment when working and cleaning
PPE creates a physical barrier that protects our employee’s own tissue from exposure to infectious materials and from transmission resulting from contact with clients. The type of PPE is dependent on the nature of the interaction with the client and/or the environment that they work in. Here are some of the items and reasons we train our custodians to use:
• As gloves may break, proper hand hygiene must be performed prior to putting on gloves.
• Gloves must always be changed if the employee is going from one client meeting to another.
• Gloves should be put on immediately before performing the activity for which they are being used. Gloves must be removed and discarded immediately after use; hand hygiene must then also be performed.
• Non-latex gloves must be used if a latex allergy is present for an employee.
• Employees who have any open wounds on their hands are required to wear a bandage over the wound and then gloves over the bandage.
• A mask can be used in the event that Health Canada recommends it for airborne infectious diseases.
• Masks should be put on immediately before the activity for which it is indicated, and hand hygiene is to be performed after removing the mask.
Understanding the difference between cleaning and disinfecting
Cleaning is the removal of foreign material (e.g., dust, soil, blood secretions, microorganisms, etc.). Cleaning physically removes rather than kills the microorganism and thorough cleaning is required for any equipment/surface to be disinfected, as organic matter may inactivate a disinfectant.
Disinfection is the process used on inanimate objects and surfaces to kill microorganisms. Cleaning and disinfecting agents may be combined into a single product to save a step in the cleaning and disinfecting process.
Maintaining a clean and healthy environment is integral to the safety of employees and clients and is a top priority at Picture Perfect Cleaning. Environmental cleaning and disinfection is performed on a routine and consistent basis to provide a safe and sanitary environment.
Adding on extra cleaning services
It is possible that you are not allocating enough budget towards the proper cleaning services in your workspace. We highly recommend that now is the time to review this internally and decide if this is something you may want to invest further into, to ensure all viruses are eliminated.
Wash your hands
Hand hygiene is the most important measure in preventing the transmission of microorganisms. Hand hygiene includes both washing the hands with plain or antimicrobial soap with water as well as non-rinse alcohol-based hand rubs. All employers should provide the following:
• Provides employees with the ability to wash their hands with soap and water or alcohol-based hand rub;
• Provides education to employees about how and when to wash their hands;
• Ensures that client hand hygiene is also supported and education is provided.
Cough and sneeze in a Kleenex or in your elbow
From what we understand, Covid-19 is mainly spread through respiratory secretion, mostly from coughing and sneezing. It is very important that your employees practice respiratory etiquette and personal practices that help to prevent the spread of microorganisms. These personal practices include:
• Avoidance measures that minimize contact with droplets when coughing or sneezing, including:
o Turning the head away from others;
o Maintaining a two (2) metre distance from others;
o Covering the nose and mouth with a tissue. If tissues are not available, other avoidance measures (e.g., coughing or sneezing into elbow) may be used;
• Immediate disposal of tissues after use; and
• Immediate hand hygiene after disposal of tissues.
Don’t go to work if you think you may have Covid-19
According the CDC the symptoms, which may not show up for 2-14 days, are fever, cough and shortness of breath. If these symptoms arise, we recommend following these guidelines, as we use these for our business as well:
• Employees who may have contracted a communicable disease and are in the early stages of infection should not report to work as they may infect the others in the workplace.
• Employees are required to exercise their judgement and call-in if they are contagious, using the Call-In Procedure.
• Management should keep records of absences due to illness and is responsible for noting any alarming trends or repeated outbreaks of infections.
• Employees should only return to work when they are no longer symptomatic or when a medical professional has certified that they are no longer contagious.
Hire a reputable commercial cleaning company
It is surprising how many commercial cleaning companies don’t have a plan in place to handle the Coronavirus. As we mentioned above, the world isn’t prepared; However, Picture Perfect Cleaning certainly is, and working with us, you can feel confident you are doing everything in your power to reduce the risk of infectious disease.
These are just some of the things Picture Perfect Cleaning is doing as a company, and what we recommend you also implement within your own work environment. Please let us know if you have any more tips that you would like to share with us.