As employees re-enter the workplace and operations resume, it will hardly be business as it used to be. From physical space changes, depersonalization of work spaces, reduced staffing, new hygiene regulations and potentially new safety procedures when entering the facility – the workplace will most definitely be different. Employees may have some concerns in re-entering the workplace and also with what employers are doing to ensure their safety immediately upon reopening and thereafter.
As part of pandemic preparedness planning we have been asked by numerous companies to survey their facilities for potential decontamination cleaning in the event of a confirmed or suspected case of Covid-19 in their facility. One of the most common and efficient methods to provide decontamination cleaning is through the use of electrostatic disinfection misting.
Electrostatic spray is different than straight fogging. Electrostatic spray disinfection systems turn disinfectant liquid into aerosols and then apply a charge to each droplet so that they are attracted to surfaces. This means that surfaces are more completely covered and disinfectant is used with less waste. It is important to realize that any disinfectant approved by Health Canada for Covid-19 will be water based and will require a dwell time on surfaces of anywhere from 2 to 10 minutes to kill bacteria, germs and virus. So significant amounts of disinfectant are required in order to be effective.
When surveying various offices we have consistently noted that paper clutter and personal items such as pictures, notes and potentially critical company documents are left exposed on desks. In the event of emergency decontamination cleaning procedures these items will unavoidably be soaked with a water based disinfectant. In several cases, where emergency decontamination cleaning has been required, we have had no alternative but to damage paper clutter.
Our recommendation, as difficult as it may be to organize, is to adopt a “clear desk” policy during this pandemic period. Employees should be advised to clear their workspaces at the end of each day with the thought that they may not be able to return until after thorough decontamination cleaning is performed, or that some of their papers or personal items may be damaged if it has become necessary to disinfect the area with a water based disinfectant.
With thanks to Steve Holt of ServiceMaster of Markham/Richmond Hill for this insight.