After COVID-19 Cleanup How Do I Know It’s Safe To Return To Work?

After COVID-19 Cleanup How Do I Know It's Safe To Return To Work?

The Short Answer is to Have Neutral 3rd Party Professional Supervision of the COVID-19 Cleanup with Documentation Spelling Out What Was Done.

COVID-19 Cleanup versus Disinfection of a Building Area

Cleaning with soap and water reduces the number of germs, dirt and impurities on the surface. 

Disinfecting kills germs on surfaces.

Disinfecting with a fogger kills germs on some soft surfaces. Think of it this way: A fogger that contains alcohol, bleach, or hydrogen peroxide. or , spays tiny particles throughout the air. These droplets will penetrate fabric upholstery. The concern is Do the disinfecting particles go deep enough into something like an airplane seat to kill all the viruses that have settled in the seats stuffing? Are the viruses inside the seat stuffing still viable? What is the probability of those possible viable viruses infecting a human? 

All good questions that science hasn’t provided clear answer on yet.

COVID-19 Validation Testing

By relying in industry standards established for COVID-19 cleaning, a reasonable assumption is the area has been cleaned.  Professional 3rd party supervision ensures your contractors follows those standards.

A Validation document reports the methods and manner of cleaning used by the cleaning contractor and includes the chemicals used.

Facts about Environmental Clearance Testing

Clearance is a term used to indicate that all contaminants are gone. 

That’s not realistic with COVID-19 cleanup. To provide a true clearance document, swabs of all areas

would need to be taken. Then a lab would use PCR testing on each one of those 100s to 1000s of swabs. That would be prohibitively expensive. Even with that, viruses are tiny and it’s possible to miss small area while taking a swab sample. The cost would be staggering for this much testing. The benefit to you would be questionable. And the area could be recontaminated again if an infected person entered. For these reasons we don’t offer clearance.

Some chemical companies that provide the fogging chemicals used by the cleanup contractors, do offer clearance testing. The companies supply the clearance methods and the lab analysis.

Please give us a call to discuss. We all have lots of questions about COVID19.

So What's In All That Fogging Stuff?

The most common chemical used is hydrogen peroxide. However, there is a long list of other chemicals the EPA recognizes as potential cleaning agents. These range from Vitamin C to Hydrochloric Acid.  Here’s the EPA List. 

The building and it’s use will determine the correct method and chemicals used.

Here’s a link to COVD-19 Cleanup Contractors in the San Francisco Bay Area.

 

How to Disinfect a Building

The abatement contractor and the industrial hygienist that will prepare a validation document needs complete blueprints of the building and the HVAC systems.

These documents will probably be required by the COVID-19 cleaning contractor to give you an accurate quote.

You will need a list of all chemicals your cleaning contractor plans to use. Your industrial hygienists will need copies of all planned chemicals before application begins.

This is not a simple, quick, or easy cleaning when done correctly.

Here’s industry guidance from the AIHA. Please review this link before contracting other professionals.

Maintenance after Covid-19 cleaning

Wear a mask so that your nose and mouth are covered. This protected you and surrounding workers.

Maintain social distancing. If you have to wait for a less crowded elevator, please consider doing this. 

Wash your hands. Sing Happy Birthday twice while you scrub your hands and wrists with soap.  Rinse. Dry with paper towels and discard the towels. The blowers that some bathrooms have to dry your hands are not safe, even in the best of times.  Yes, they dry your hands but they also blow droplets of moisture that may still contain viruses throughout the bathroom. Choose another bathroom, if possible.  If there is a blower in your work bathroom, please contact management and request this be decommissioned and paper towels installed.

These are all small things, but together they will help reduce the spread of Covid-19 and a whole lot of other nasty “stuff”.

Stay Healthy and Safe.

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