May 13, 2021 Last updated May 13th, 2021 3,064 Reads share

“Return to Work” with Professional Disinfection Solutions

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With the most severe stage of the outbreak behind, the global economy is on the steady path towards recovery. However, this path is not without its unique challenges – some operational and logistical, other regulatory. Fortunately, the problem has already been recognized, and numerous solutions have been proposed – both in the form of guidelines to assist the recovery and professional disinfection solutions designed with the needs of businesses in mind.

Challenges for Businesses

Due to the lockdown, businesses were forced to scale back their operations or even shut down completely to comply with the safety requirements. While switching to remote work was the most widely publicized solution, it wasn’t equally suitable for all business models. So, while the media gleefully reported success stories of the lucky few, many were hard at work developing plans for resuming operations.

Another major challenge is associated with highly trafficked areas. In certain sectors, crowding is almost inevitable. The most apparent examples include:

  • Hospitality
  • Retail
  • Transportation
  • Entertainment
  • Health
  • Education

In these settings, the demand for safe operations is combined with the issue of public perception, calling for measures that are both efficient and reassuring. At the same time, they need to comply with newly established regulations and demonstrate their ability to protect the population from harm. So, while some companies will face few difficulties in returning to work, others are in need of professional disinfection equipment and, possibly, a major revision of their cleaning procedures.

How to Disinfect Public Spaces

To assist with the recovery of businesses and the public sector, national health agencies have developed guidelines for cleaning, disinfection, and establishing the culture of safety. For instance, the Cleaning and Disinfecting Decision Tool by CDC breaks the process down into three stages:

  1. Develop your plan
  2. Implement your plan
  3. Maintain and revise your plan

During the first phase, you need to identify the areas that need to be cleaned and whether the existing methods and equipment will be sufficient for the task. For instance, if your business deals with inbound goods as a part of its operations, you will need a procedure that will reliably eradicate all contaminants from the surface without damaging the merchandise.

The implementation phase is quite straightforward. The important caveat is that the disinfectant products need to be used in accordance with the instructions and have the approval of the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA).

Finally, remember to adjust your approach based on the changes in disinfectant supply and dynamics of the situation. The latter can be done based on publicly available information or the data gathered internally, such as the number of employees that contract the disease or the visitor flow.

One thing to note is the method of disinfectant application. In most cases, wiping the surface with soap and water or bleach solutions will suffice. However, for some items, these will not be acceptable. An obvious example is the luggage of passengers in an airport: not only will it be inconvenient for the owner to get their personal belongings wet, they can actually be damaged, not to mention the challenge of narrow time frames.

To address this issue, airports and similar facilities are using innovative equipment like sanitation passages. These units disperse the disinfectant into microscopic particles, forming what is known as a dry fog. This allows even dispersion of the solution on both smooth and porous surfaces while also shortening the time necessary for cleaning. Disinfection tunnel effectiveness has already been demonstrated in several airports across the world, serving as a proof-of-concept for the recovery in the post-COVID era.

How to Choose the Best Disinfection Solution

While the need to consider the instructions of disinfectant may sound trivial, it was prompted by a very real problem. Early in the course of the pandemic, several cases were reported from China and India in which hazardous substances were used to disinfect people. In response, EPA has published List N, which covers all products approved for use against COVID-19 along with recommendations for their usage sites and surface types. Some entries on the list are only applicable for hard and durable surfaces, while others are approved for use in the food industry and on people.

A good example of the latter is hypochlorous acid distributed under brand names like EnviroNize and Super Oxidized Water. This disinfectant is highly efficacious against pathogens that are harder to kill than SARS-CoV-2; yet, thanks to being chemically selective, it is completely harmless to humans or other animal and plant life. On top of that, it does not leave residue or cause irritation, making it suitable for use on people in a body disinfection channel.

Wrapping Up

The recovery from the public health crisis brought about by COVID-19 is still in the early stage and may well present unforeseen challenges in the future. This is why the systematic approach is particularly important and invariably surfaces in guidelines of both healthcare agencies and policymakers. It is only through methodical planning and continuous adjustments that we can hope to overcome the current outbreak and return to the normal way we live and work.

Sophie Zoria

Sophie Zoria

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