Keeping Your Workplace SAFE

The COVID-19 outbreak has given us a reminder that active steps must be taken to reduce the risk of contagious illnesses in your workplace. Whether your workplace is currently closed, partially open, or fully operational, now is the time to ensure that a plan is in place to ensure the safety of your employees and clients. By following Germie’s SAFE virus prevention guidelines (Sanitation, Attention to detail, Frequency, and Education), your workplace can proceed with peace of mind, knowing that current and future outbreaks are effectively controlled.

Sanitation

Every office needs a sanitation procedure of some sort. It is important to document and test your office’s sanitation procedure to ensure that your methods are effective for your workspace, and up to date. Current evidence suggests that the SARS-CoV-2 virus responsible for the recent COVID-19 outbreak can live on surfaces for hours to days depending on the climate and surface. This is not uncommon among microorganisms. Many can sustain life on surfaces for multiple days at a time while multiplying at rapid rates. The CDC recommends that cleaning of visibly dirty surfaces followed by disinfection is a best practice measure for prevention of COVID-19 and other viral respiratory illnesses. Sanitary surfaces, or surfaces upon which the germ count is lowered to a safe level, can be created by the removal of germs (Cleaning) or the killing of germs (Disinfecting).

Cleaning

The Removal of allergens and microorganisms from the environment. When a surface is clean, soap or detergent has been used (along with physical scrubbing) to remove dirt, germs, and impurities. Cleaning helps reduce the germ count upon a surface.

Disinfecting

The killing of microorganisms from the environment.
When a surface is disinfected, it means a chemical product or effective physical method has been used to kill the germs upon that surface.

Technology enhanced disinfecting methods are used in specific situations to provide additional benefits that typical chemical disinfectants cannot meet by themselves.

Electrostatic Spraying

This method uses an advanced sprayer to electrostatically charge the particles in the cleaning solution. The solution contains positively charged particles which “stick” to the negatively charges surfaces and objects they are sprayed upon. Because the particles in the spray are positively charged, they cling to and coat any surface they are aimed at.

UV Sanitation

This method uses short wavelength ultraviolet light to kill or inactivate microorganisms by destroying nucleic acids and disrupting their DNA, leaving them unable to perform vital cellular functions. It is effective against 99.9999% of all surface microorganisms (bacteria, viruses, mites) without even touching the surface.

Attention to Detail

Any sanitation must be done with the upmost attention to detail to ensure proper results. A cleaner must form a comprehensive plan prior to any cleaning or disinfecting begins. They must identify and make note of all “touch points” in the room. Ideally, a map or floorplan, a thorough cleaning checklist, and a journal are all utilized throughout the process. The floorplan and checklist can be used as tools for the cleaner to remind them of all areas that require cleaning, as well as highlighting any touch points that require additional care. They can note which cleaning methods, and disinfectants are to be used for a particular surface, and jot down any additional notes from the current clean in the journal.

To ensure that your cleaner will exhibit a high level of attention to detail on the job, a complete training program is required. Each new employee should be equipped with everything they need to succeed on the job. A good cleaning training program will do a thorough job of explaining the “Why” behind the “What” and “How.”

Candidates that make great cleaners tend to score high in the personality trait conscientiousness, which means careful and diligent. Conscientiousness implies a desire to do a task well, and to take obligations to others seriously. Conscientious people tend to be efficient and organized as opposed to easy-going and disorderly. They exhibit a tendency to show self-discipline, act dutifully, and aim for achievement; they display planned rather than spontaneous behavior; and they are generally dependable.

Germie ensures all cleaners display a high degree of conscientiousness through personality testing. Our Certified Cleaning Professionals go through rigorous training and are monitored with regular inspections from managers to verify their jobs are being done with the upmost attention to detail.

Frequency

Sanitations of office surfaces must be done often enough to combat the viruses and bacteria that build up on top of them. The frequency of these sanitations depends on the type of surface and the amount of use it sees, but as a general measure.

Food Contact Surfaces should receive some sort of cleaning and/or disinfecting between each meal, or every 4 hours.

Desks, Keyboards, Desk Phones should be cleaned and disinfected thoroughly a minimum of once per week, and maintained throughout the week by removing loose papers, trash, and food.

Common areas such as meeting rooms and lobby furniture should be cleaned and disinfected once per week.

Public bathroom sinks, countertops, and taps should be cleaned and disinfected once per day if possible, or once every other day if using a long-lasting disinfectant.

Toilet bowls should be bleached and scrubbed once per week.

Vacuuming of carpet or sweeping & cleaning of hard floors should be done once every other day, or once per day in high traffic areas.

Carpet and upholstery deep sanitation is recommended at a minimum of once every 3 months.

“Touch Points" should be identified, mapped out, and cleaned as often as possible. It is also recommended to avoid touching these areas with your hands as much as possible to avoid spreading germs across the office.

Germie ensures proper frequency in your office by thoroughly examining your office and identifying which areas fall into which categories. If even one area is consistently overlooked, it can quickly become a high-risk area for your employees and clients.

Education

Educating your employees on the importance of keeping their surroundings neat and sanitized is an important measure that all offices should be taking at this time. Investing the time and energy to keep your workforce informed will lead to a lower rate of illnesses, and fewer sick days.
Proper Handwashing techniques should be applied by all employees. Regular handwashing, when done properly by all employees:

Reduces the number of people who get sick with diarrhea by 31%

Reduces diarrheal illness in people with weakened immune systems by 58%

Reduces respiratory illnesses, like colds, in the general population by 21%

Ensure that your employees can identify touch points in your office and recognize when their hands are dirty. Place reminders next to common touch points such as doorknobs, refrigerators, and cabinet handles. Supply hand sanitizer to all employees and remind them to avoid touching their faces.
Employees should practice coughing and/or sneezing into a tissue, or into an item of clothing if one is not readily available. Sneezes can travel the entire area of a small room no matter which direction it is aimed in. A sneeze may or may not be triggered by a contagious illness, but regular sneezing can be a sign that your room’s allergens are at a high level. This implies that surfaces are not being adequately sanitized, which can increase the likelihood of encountering something dangerous.
Place a poster such as this to remind employees of the importance of thorough hand washing and send regular reminders to those working on keyboards all day to wash their hands prior to snacking at their desks.
Educating your employees on the signs of illness can prove beneficial to detect signs of illness in an early phase. Visible signs of early phase illness include:

Perspiring

Pale skin and/or lips

Swollen face

Droopy corners of the mouth

Hanging eyelids

Red eyes

Coughing/Sneezing may or may not be present yet in early stage contagious individuals

Free In-Office Consultations

We know every workplace is different, but to ensure employee safety all offices should be following the above guidelines on a regular basis. If you feel that your office could use help in any of the above areas please contact us at clean@mygermie.com for a free SAFE-ty consultation. Your company will receive a free one-time full-service sanitation from our cleaning professionals, free touch point mapping, a customized recommended sanitation guide for your office, and a free educational talk to your employees to give them the most up to date information on how to stay safe in the workplace.
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