As South Africa prepares itself for lockdown to ease to level 3 next week, even more businesses will be allowed to reopen. But to meet the government’s criteria for reopening, businesses must take every precaution to ensure that the workplace is safe for customers and staff by eliminating potential sources of cross-contamination.
As we have already discussed in many of our blogs on our Initial blog site, rigorous hand hygiene practices (hand washing, drying and sanitising) combined with social distancing and mask wearing are the main weapons in our daily fight against the Coronavirus. Combined with Disinfection Services - for either peace of mind or where there has been a confirmed or suspected case of COVID-19 on the premises - this is the arsenal business owners can employ to eliminate cross-contamination.
Although regular cleaning and good handwashing practices may seem simple, you need an expert to tackle the broader problem effectively and safely, especially if there has been a confirmed or suspected case of COVID-19 on your premises. Professional Ultra Low Volume (ULV) Disinfection services have shot into the spotlight over the last 2 months, becoming increasingly popular due to the fact that they disinfect large spaces in a short space of time, and are thus perfect for high risk businesses like supermarkets, call centres etc.
New providers in the market:
And with the rapid increase in the size and appetite of the market for Disinfection services has come a plethora of new service providers, some of them from vastly diverse backgrounds before the pandemic. Everyone from security companies to promotional gifting companies are offering Disinfection services now. Unlike pest control - which requires operators to pass an exam to qualify for their P number and become registered with the Department of Agriculture, and in which all pesticides have to be registered for use with the Department of Agriculture – hygiene operators do not have to pass an exam or register with a Government department in order to provide Disinfection services. This means that the equipment, preparations and PPE used by new companies offering Disinfection services are all unregulated.
So how do you ensure you get a reputable provider with so many new service providers in the market? How do you know that the team that turns up isn’t just spraying with water (or worse, something potentially harmful to either your employees or your premises). And the equipment? Pest control spray pumps are not the same as ULV fogging machines.
While cheap or DIY options may seem appealing (especially in the challenging economic circumstances lockdown has created for many businesses) you need to remember that when it comes to COVID-19 disinfection, safety should be the most important consideration - the safety of your colleagues and of the provider’s.
When selecting a Disinfection partner, consumers are urged to choose a reputable, professional partner. This is because high-level disinfectants must be applied carefully and with precision (especially when the application is designed to kill a disease-causing virus such as COVID-19). The risk of cross contamination from one site to another must also be strictly controlled.
But how do you know if they are reputable and professional?
Here are the 8 most important questions we suggest you ask your Disinfection Service provider before booking another service:
- How many years has the company been in business? How many of those have they been providing disinfection services?
- What PPE (Personal Protective Equipment), RPE (Respiratory Protective Equipment) and equipment are the technicians provided with when performing a Disinfection service?
- Is their PPE single use?
(Using the same PPE multiple times increases the risk of cross contamination of pathogens from one premise to another).
- How is the used PPE disposed of?
(IS it disposed of? Or is it worn repeatedly?)
- How are employees trained, and does training include safe donning and doffing of PPE to prevent cross contamination?
- What is the preparation that is used in the service? Does it have an accreditation to prove it is effective against a broad spectrum of viruses, including the Coronavirus family?
(Many preparations being used for Disinfection services in the market address bacteria and fungi and not viruses - so be sure, be safe).
- Is the company able to provide Material Safety Data Sheets (MSDS) for all of the preparations used in their services?
- How long do you have to wait before re entry?
(If they say you can stay in the room while the service is being done, how effective is it?)
Getting thorough answers to all of the above questions will help you choose a reputable, professional partner who will help you identify and combat the cross-contamination risk hotspots in your workplace, and who will take the necessary care and caution to provide a Disinfection service that is both effective and safe.
Contact Rentokil Initial for more information regarding Specialist Disinfection services. Subscribe to our blog to keep up with all the latest news in pest control. You can also get a free checklist by clicking here to help with opening your business safely when returning after a lockdown period.