As we enter into the second year of the global COVID-19 pandemic, business owners are continually challenged to protect their clients and employees from recurring viral surges and new variants. It doesn’t help that with each outbreak come new guidelines and safeguards that must be put into effect at a moment’s notice. Here’s what you need to know about Omicron variant disinfecting.
Omicron Surface Contamination
The highly transmissible Omicron variant, in particular, demonstrates the importance of heeding essential disinfecting procedures in the workplace. While Omicron’s primary mode of transmission is airborne respiratory droplets, studies have shown that it is still quite possible to be infected from contact with contaminated surfaces. In fact, researchers have found that Omicron can survive for more than eight days on plastic surfaces, surpassing the survival time of the previous variants.
In response to this, the EPA and CDC urge businesses to develop plans for cleaning and disinfecting actions that include:
- Assessment of surfaces that are high-contact areas and need frequent disinfecting.
- The use of appropriate cleaning products from the EPA’s List N.
- Cleaning personnel appropriately using personal protective equipment during disinfection.
The question becomes how can employers ensure cleaning staff follow through on the above established COVID disinfecting protocols?
How a COVID Deep Cleaning Service Can Help
Most in-house janitorial employees have little to no experience working with the strong chemicals required for virus disinfection. This presents a potentially hazardous situation, as they can unwittingly combine disinfectants and cause respiratory issues for anyone in close proximity. Inexperienced staff may also use solutions that are too weak to kill the virus, creating an unsafe working environment.
To prevent these incidents, many employers are contracting with specialized COVID-19 cleaning services. This also ensures common surfaces and air spaces are thoroughly disinfected, resulting in a greatly reduced risk of infection and cross-contamination.
A specialized COVID-19 cleaning company should do the following as part of their Omicron variant disinfecting protocol:
1. Site survey and plan
A walk-through of the site to determine the surface types, traffic volume, common touchpoints that need cleaning and disinfecting. A customized COVID-19 cleaning plan is created.
2. Detailed surface cleaning
Disinfection of high-touch surfaces including counters, light switches, doorknobs, elevator buttons, phones, keyboards, restroom fixtures and handrails as recommended by the CDC.
Omicron variant disinfecting can’t be thoroughly done with just any off-the-shelf cleaning products. The specialized cleaning service must use CDC and EPA-approved disinfectants to effectively sanitize the workplace. The staff is trained in the proper application of these disinfectants, which reduces inhalation exposure to those with asthma and other respiratory issues who would be adversely affected by the products.
3. Electrostatic disinfectant spraying
Desktops, floors, drapes, carpets, and walls as well as hard-to-reach places benefit from electrostatic spraying for improved infection control.
4. Quality control checklist
Confirmation that all areas were cleaned and disinfected as outlined in the original site plan.
5. Ongoing assessments
Periodic assessments are made to ensure that all areas are sufficiently covered. Updates to cover cleaning of additional surfaces, fixtures, and other new common touchpoints are made to the disinfecting list.
Omicron Variant Disinfecting When Someone Is Sick
If an employee tests positive in the facility, additional cleaning protocols should be undertaken.
- Close off the areas that were used by the sick person.
- Wait several hours before cleaning and disinfecting the space.
- Cleaning and disinfection of all areas used by the sick person, including common areas and shared electronic equipment.
What to Look For in a COVID-19 Cleaning Service
Finding and hiring a reputable cleaning service for Omicron variant disinfecting is a serious undertaking, and there are many factors to consider in your choice. Below are questions to ask a prospective specialized cleaning service.
- How much prior experience do you have with biohazard cleaning?
- What kind of training and certification in biological hazard cleaning do your cleaning technicians have?
- What type of Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) will employees wear to protect themselves and others?
- Which chemicals will be used in cleaning and disinfecting the facility?
- What cleaning techniques do you implement, especially when there has been a confirmed positive COVID-19 case on site.
When considering a third-party cleaning service, a background check should be conducted to protect company assets. This is especially critical if cleaning personnel must be granted access to highly secured areas in the building.
The Bottom Line
Creating a safe workplace is a number one priority for management. However, without proper disinfection protocols, employees and visitors are at risk of contracting COVID-19, which can drastically disrupt business operations. Hiring a professional cleaning service can greatly improve the odds of eliminating viral bacteria through their thorough disinfection protocols. At JaniTek, our state-of-the-art equipment and highly trained staff provide the most reliable commercial cleaning services in California’s Central Valley and Central Coast. Contact us for a free, no-obligation consultation today.