COVID-19 Infection Control Guidelines For Facility Managers
Since the COVID-19 pandemic rocked the world in March 2020, facility managers have had their work seriously cut out for them!
Strict disinfection protocols, COVID-safe screen installations, and social distancing floor stickers are just some of the responsibilities you’ve had to add to your (already) long list of duties over the past two years.
But it doesn’t end there. As workers slowly filter back into corporate environments, facilities welcome visitors again, and the world teeters ever closer to that “new normal” we’ve been waiting for, COVID-19 cleaning protocols certainly haven’t stopped.
Should another harmful wave break out, you need to arm yourself with the proper deep cleaning, preventative, and cadenced COVID-19 measures to minimize the risk of another breakout and stop the spread as soon as possible.
Luckily, our guide to COVID-19 deep cleaning for facility managers will help you do that. If you’d like our top COVID-19 deep cleaning tips for a healthy, safe, and infection-free facility, just keep reading!
Your COVID-19 infection control cleaning guide
According to a MedRxiv study, COVID-9 can live on hard surfaces for up to 3 days! This research proves that if you want to prevent the infection from spreading, you need strict disinfection procedures every day and even every few hours in high-traffic areas!
Research from the CDC also tells us that the Coronavirus can reach 13 feet, with people’s shoes dispersing virus particles into the air. Considering the social distancing guidelines are currently between 3 (WHO) and 6 (CDC) feet, implementing correct COVID-19 protocols has never been more critical.
Below you’ll learn all about our essential tips to help keep your facilities clean, disinfected, and COVID-safe.
Promote personal hygiene
All major disease control institutions have agreed that personal hygiene protocols significantly prevent the spread.
Creating your own set of guidelines at your facility based on the below CDC recommendations and sharing them with visitors, employees, and customers will help slow down the spread of the infection.
- Wash hands often for at least 20 seconds
- Use hand sanitizer if you can’t wash hands
- Try not to touch your eyes, nose, or mouth
- Stay away from people who seem sick
- Sneeze or cough into a tissue and bin it
- Sneeze or cough into your inner elbow
- Stay home if you suspect you’re ill
- Wear a mask in crowded public places
- Wear a mask if you think you’re sick
Develop reporting procedures
With the right set of cleaning reporting procedures, you’ll be able to prove performance with key stakeholders, ward off potential lawsuits for poor cleaning practices, and, most importantly, prevent the spread of COVID-19.
You must keep on going written, photographic, and digital evidence to account for all facility disinfection and infection control activities.
Using this essential data, you’ll have peace of mind knowing you’ve accounted for every square inch of your building and can spot areas that need extra cleaning or your cleaning crew missed.
Create COVID-safe signage
Installing signage that outlines the COVID-safety measures your teams are deploying and offers personal hygiene reminders for building users will help reassure visitors that you’re taking infection control seriously.
Using the classic bright yellow signage we’ve become so accustomed to also helps ensure COVID-19 prevention stays top-of-mind with those who enter your facility, reducing the likelihood of an outbreak as people remember to follow the guidelines.
Adhere to IICRC® guidelines
Nightly janitorial crews often don’t have the required IICRC® infection control training to ensure your facility adheres to best practices for minimizing the risk of COVID-19 spreading.
Facilities must fill these skill gaps by partnering with a specialist cleaning team (like us) trained and certified to comply with all OSHA, CDC, and IICRC® guidelines and standards.
Implement preventative cleaning measures
Cleaning should be about health first and appearance second, and with COVID-19 still threatening facilities, preventing the spread of the virus through effective deep cleaning procedures must be your top priority.
What does preventative cleaning mean? Here’s how Dr. Berry sums it up in his 2017 article for the Journal of Cleaning, Restoration, and Inspection:
“Effective cleaning is the process of extracting and removing unwanted matter to the optimum extent to reduce exposure to unwanted matter. Most people clean carpets when they look dirty. Rarely does anyone recognize that their carpet needs to be cleaned for health protection…every time pollutants are extracted from the carpeting; the quality of the indoor environment is enhanced by reducing exposures.”
Deep clean all hard surfaces
Before you can even begin with a daily sanitization and disinfection protocol using COVID-destroying chemicals, you need to remove all contaminants trapped within your surfaces with specialist, cadenced deep cleaning.
Whether it’s hard floors, elevator buttons, door handles, countertops, or desks, you need to give special attention to every surface in your facility and apply the right cleaning solution to adhere to manufacturer instructions.
“Most disinfectants are not going to achieve the desired results when applied to soiled surfaces, soft furnishings, etc. Even surfaces that appear visibly clean must be cleaned thoroughly prior to application of chemicals… proper cleaning of surfaces is much like washing of hands and offers more protection than application of hand sanitizer as it removes the contamination rather than trying to ‘kill’ or destroy it.” – Rachel Adams-Beja, Industry Instructor & Consultant
How to clean hard surfaces
Here is what the CDC recommends for cleaning your facility’s surfaces:
- Assess surface type & how often people touch it
- Clean high-touch surfaces at least once daily (light switches, handrails, keyboards, sinks, faucets, doors, etc.)
- Wear high-quality PPE
- Follow cleaning label instructions
- Wash hands and change gloves often
- Clean dirty surfaces with soap or detergent before disinfecting with an EPA-approved cleaning agent
- Ventilate the space as you clean (opening windows and doors)
- Never mix products or chemicals
Recommended infection control cleaning products
Here are some EPA-recommended cleaning products for killing the COVID-19 virus on surfaces that they believe to be effective:
- List N: Disinfectants for Use Against SARS-CoV-2
- EPA’s Registered Antimicrobial Products for Use Against Novel Coronavirus
Thoroughly clean carpeted areas
Adhering to a regular carpet care and cleaning schedule using the right tools, machines, and chemicals will ensure that your facility addresses any surface that may carry pathogens.
Cleaning, sanitizing, and disinfecting carpet more frequently during periods of increased illness can help you curb the impact of COVID-19 outbreaks, and maintaining cleanliness after an outbreak will be vital to preventing another one in the future.
Below, you’ll learn how to clean, sanitize, and disinfect your facility’s carpets and the differences between them to help you increase carpet longevity and reduce the risk of COVID-19.
How to clean carpet
While carpet helps improve indoor air quality as it holds onto dust, dirt, mold, and other materials, you must thoroughly clean the carpet regularly to remove the build-up of soil and other potentially harmful particles (like COVID-19) that settle deep into fibers.
To clean carpet in your facility properly:
- Use a Carpet and Rug Institute vacuum
- Ensure it has HEPA filters to trap airborne particles
- Maintain your vacuum according to instructions
How to sanitize carpet
Sanitizing your carpet is a little different. During sanitization:
- Use an approved disinfectant to clean equipment
- Ensure that employees wear the right PPE
- Follow the manufacturer’s instructions
Can you disinfect carpet?
It’s important to note that while facilities can disinfect hard surfaces like countertops and hard flooring, according to the EPA, no disinfectant can claim to disinfect soft surfaces such as carpets.
Partner with a trusted, specialist cleaning company
By working closely with a deep restorative cleaning and infection control partner, like Corporate Care, you can bolster current COVID-19 cleaning protocols to prevent a future outbreak and implement the correct cleaning procedures if there is one.
We’re your trusted resource for COVID-19 preparedness, disinfection, and ongoing protection. Part service, part consulting – we guide and advise you through the entire process, from preparation to post-remediation.
Our IICRC-certified technicians know all the OSHA and CDC best practices and get to know the ins and outs of your facilities to implement an effective long-term plan against COVID-19.
At Corporate Care, we are on a mission to help facilities deliver a clean, COVID-safe, and welcoming environment by providing sustainable solutions with stunning results that the nightly cleaning team can easily maintain. Get in touch today to develop an effective specialist surface care program for your facility.