Ensuring A Safe and Hygienic Work Place during COVID – 19
by Mr Venkatraman – Executive Vice President, Casagrande Propcare
The Covid -19 pandemic has forced the global economy to slow down to almost a standstill. The months of lockdown, its impact on our business and safety of our workplace are increasing concerns for facility teams across the globe. The recent easing of lockdown in India comes as a much needed relief and while businesses are rushing to restart operations, the possibility of contracting the virus at work looms large in everyone’s minds. Today, facility management companies have taken up the role of safeguarding workplaces against the novel coronavirus. Many organizations are hiring professional companies for disinfection services and to formulate procedures to maintain hygiene and keep the premises safe for their employees. Dealing with experts in the field gives confidence of handling the workplace towards a clean, germ free environment from reducing the risk of transmission.
Stay Safe with 5Ms
Follow these 5Ms to stay safe.
Maintain Health: Employees must take care of their health at work and while commuting every day. Common colds, coughs or fever may be a symptom of COVID – 19 or just a simple illness. Precaution is best and if an employee is feeling ill, it is best to work from home.
Maintain Clean Hands: The novel coronavirus is mostly transmitted by touch. Hence it is necessary for all employees to wash their hands regularly, especially after touching common surfaces.
Minimize contact: Social distancing must be followed everywhere and this includes the workplace too. Employees must maintain a 2 meter distancing from each other at all times.
Mask Up: According to the new government guidelines, masks are now mandatory as they help reduce the chance of infection to a great degree.
Monitor News: Lastly, employees must follow credible news for the latest Govt guidelines to safeguard self
COVID SAFETY COMMITTEE
Organizations can form a special committee headed by a Senior management person and representatives from key departments to handle the situation of managing the workplace safer. The key objectives of the committee are to formulate policies, work place ethics, training and communication regarding decisions exclusively to handle the COVID situation. The committee shall decide on the number of people to report to work, entry protocols, their work place allocation, dining arrangements, restroom hygiene, meeting room usage and other common areas accessed by employees. They shall also respond to employee doubts or clarification arising then and there. Monitor and sustain the policies implemented. Choosing the facility disinfection vendor, deciding the frequencies are to be finalized before staff occupancy. Engaging a professional service provider makes it easier for team to draw the operational procedures, addressing the critical touch points for disinfection and selection of industry recognized disinfectants and application procedures.
Engage Professional Disinfection service
Selecting the right vendor for disinfection services gives you a confidence of handling your workplace hygiene as it is critical to minimize risk of infection transmission. It is very crucial to engage the right partner who understands the importance and implements the required disinfection strategies which makes the shared workplaces less vulnerable to germs. Selecting the disinfectant is very important as engaging wrong chemical can cause more damage or may not be effective.
Industry leads mostly follow EPA recommended list of disinfectants which is available in their website. The disinfectant should be capable to handle the Human Corona virus. It is very important to check the Kill Claim list of disinfectant before engaging them. The application procedure needs to be decided. To cover larger areas, ULV foggers or sprayers can be engaged. There are some social machines which have electrostatic ULV foggers which creates an electrostatic effect over the sprayed chemical making it more impactful over the surface.
The vendors should be guided to attend the critical touch points in the facilities like, lift buttons, hand railings, door handles, remotes, telephones etc. The workstations can be disinfected by applying the recognized chemical through spray bottles and wipes. The contact time and procedure of application also need to be verified. Some disinfectants are not recommended to be engaged for Porous Surfaces like carpets, curtains and drapes, chair furnishings as they might de colour. It is very necessary to do a sample testing a day before to check for impact if any.
The instruction about the time allowed for occupying the facility post disinfection need to be confirmed with the vendor. Sufficient ventilation to be ensured before disinfection. When the facility is disinfected or fumigated there should not be any occupants based on the prescription by the chemical used.
Organisation shall share the message to the occupants about the places being disinfected and deploy physical disinfection at regular intervals to boost the confidence of occupants. Standees, posters, TV displays, mailers, WhatsApp messages can be engaged to communicate on the actions taken to improve the awareness.
Regular checks at entry and exits, disinfection points, wearing masks during interaction, maintain minimum of 2meters from others, avoiding touching surfaces, washing hands at regular intervals if need to touch surfaces will help prevent transmission. Maintaining the right temperature, installing HEPA filters in AHUs, advising personal cutleries for dining and beverages, including health drinks, herbal teas in the corporate menus also can be implemented.
Corona is expected to stay with us for a longer period. We need to take this as a learning to handle our workspace from future threats related to disease transmission by following the recommended guidelines from institutions like ICMR and WHO.