As we move toward reopening businesses and into the recovery stage (albeit slowly and in a controlled manner), what can organizations do to make sure employees feel safe returning to the workplace?
It’s critical that employees returning to work feel confident that their workplace has been properly cleaned and disinfected post-COVID-19—and continues to be kept “COVID clean”. In one recent survey of more than 500 office workers, 73% said they will be somewhat or very concerned about illnesses spreading in their workplaces. Almost half (47%) were somewhat or very concerned that their employer would not take adequate steps to ensure a hygienic building.
Even in commercial buildings where food is being prepared, such as cafeterias, concerns run high. Employees and customers alike are worried about contagious germs, despite the fact that coronavirus is not food-borne and the chance of transmission through food preparation is quite low.
ATP testing a critical tool for reassuring returning employees
Post-COVID-19 concerns as businesses re-open are understandable considering what everyone has experienced over the past months. The good news is tools exist to measure the efficacy of cleaning and disinfection initiatives.
One such tool is ATP testing. ATP (Adenosine Triphosphate) is a type of molecule found in all organic matter, living or once-living, including food, bacteria, mold and other microorganisms. If ATP is detected on a surface after cleaning is complete, there is evidence that biological matter you probably can’t see is still present. Testing for ATP has therefore become a critical tool for verifying the cleanliness of facilities and providing peace of mind to returning employees that their environment is safe.
A health care network in Connecticut that used ATP testing for the past 3 years attests to its effectiveness at monitoring cleanliness. In the words of the Director, a room may have “looked and smelled clean…but now you know whether the room is clean or not.” This kind of “Trust but Verify” approach resulted in the facility achieving the highest score for level of cleanliness out of 600 health facilities.1
ATP testing is available in Canada at trusted commercial and facility cleaning companies; and is an ideal tool to use in conjunction with commercial cleaning technologies such as electrostatic disinfection services.
Can your business pass the regulations to open and stay open post COVID?
The pressure to be “COVID-clean” and be able to pass health and/or safety inspection audits directly impact all businesses. In Ontario, for example, businesses will now need to abide by scores of new rules and regulations in order to re-open, stay open, and avoid fines by health inspectors.
Specifics of what businesses must abide by to be deemed safe to reopen in Ontario were announced the week of April 27 by Premier Doug Ford and Labour Minister Monte McNaughton. These include:
- Measures to ensure appropriate physical distancing, e.g. eliminating pay-at-the-door options, holding team meetings outdoors, staggering shift times, and using ground markings and barriers to manage traffic flow.
- Physical changes to the workplace including installing Plexiglas barriers, increasing air intake on building heating, ventilation, and air conditioning (HVAC) systems, and using boot sanitizing trays.
- Sanitation and protective measures such as promoting proper workplace sanitation, providing personal protective equipment, substituting dry dusting with vacuuming, ensuring customer-facing staff are given hand sanitizer, providing a place to dispose of sanitizing wipes, and enforcing hand washing before and after breaks.
The workplace safety guidelines listed above are very similar to those outlined in Saskatchewan, Manitoba and Quebec’s business reopening plans. At this time Alberta, British Columbia, Newfoundland and Labrador, New Brunswick and Nova Scotia are still in a state of emergency and have not announced their plans for reopening of non-essential businesses.
Governments are serious about enforcing post-COVID building disinfection. In Ontario, an additional 58 people are joining the provincial labour inspectors beginning in May. Some of the new inspectors will focus on communicating COVID-19 safety guidelines; others will enforce emergency measures. Inspectors have the power to issue fines of $750 in accordance with the province’s emergency measures.
Looking for a Coronavirus cleaning company?
Like everything we’ve witnessed in this global pandemic, commercial disinfection and building disinfection services call for extraordinary measures and commitment. How can you assure your employees that the workplace is safe when you reopen?
As a trusted cleaning company, Kleenway is already positioned with COVIDkleen™ standard operating procedures and protocols to help facility managers and businesses address Coronavirus by providing:
- Quick response teams ready to get your business post-COVID clean with commercial disinfection and building disinfection services
- ATP testing and quality control measures that can be tracked and reported
- Auditing service so that your organization can get a quick facility analysis done using ATP technology, providing a report that identifies issues
- Electrostatic disinfection following ATP inspection to ensure that the facility is clean
Kleenway’s president, Bill Germanis, understands what’s at stake as businesses start to re-open:
“It is going to be vital to have frequent and visual cleaning protocols in place to make employees feel safe in the workplace in the post COVID-19 world,” says Bill. “As a COVID cleaning company, Kleenway is already out there as workplaces reopen, with effective coronavirus commercial, healthcare and building disinfection services. It is possible to be post-COVID-19 ready—just ask us how.”
1. Lilllis, K (2015), ATP Testing: A proven Method to Measure Cleanliness, Hygiena
For more than 35 years Kleenway has been providing superior and trusted commercial cleaning and facility maintenance services that ensure you have a clean and safe facility. Contact us for a quote today.