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Chapters

1

Introduction

2

What is COVID-19?

3

How can Green Facilities Help Maintain a Safe Work Environment?

4

GFM’s Technological Cleaning Solutions to COVID-19

5

GFM Eco-Friendly Cleaning Solutions

6

Conclusion

7

COVID-19 Facilities Management Checklist

Chapter 1

INTRODUCTION

As of the beginning of August, the UK has recorded over 46,000 deaths andmore than 300,000 confirmed cases of COVID-19. In a few months, the coronavirus pandemic has changed the world and the way we all live and work.

COVID-19 Help Prevent Coronavirus PosterFor UK businesses navigating the current landscape and government guidelines, future sustainability is very much dependant on being flexible to the
latest measures and new ways of working.

One indispensable element of this adaptability is workplace health and safety. In this guide, we will address the duties and responsibilities of businesses to keep their employees and customers safe from COVID-19. We’ll explore the strategies that need to be put in place to protect people returning to the workplace and sharing common facilities.

COVID-19 Staff Notice Keep Your Distance Poster

We’ll also lay out the various innovative, cost-effective, and environmentally friendly solutions from Green Facilities to help fight the damaging effects of the
pandemic.

Your business is only as good as the people you employ, so defending your
the workforce from infection and illness should be the number one priority in these
uncertain times.

COVID-19 Site Safety Reminder Poster

 

Chapter 2

WHAT IS COVID-19?

The coronavirus (SARS-CoV-2) is the biggest pandemic the world has seen sincethe so-called “Spanish ‘Flu” of 1918. While not as deadly as that outbreak a century ago, the virus we’re facing now is incredibly infectious and has caused many of the same consequences.

Thought to have originated in Wuhan, China, possibly in livestock, the virus is a new strain of the coronavirus family that jumped from animals to humans.

Many people have died from COVID-19 (the disease caused by the coronavirus), mostly those with pre-existing conditions such as respiratory problems, cancer, diabetes, and obesity. While a significant proportion of cases produce no symptoms or very mild ones, a great many require hospitalisation and intensive care, including ventilation.

Corona Virus Disease 2019 (COVID-19) Image

Most importantly, the virus spreads by contact and through airborne
moisture particles that infected people emit when they breathe and speak.

Therefore, to reduce the rate of infections the most effective solutions involve limiting contact between people or, where that is impossible, reducing the risk of contamination.

Measures to slow the spread of COVID-19 have had unprecedented effects on global business and economies. Therefore, the pandemic is an emergency that needs urgently addressing for more than just health reasons.

 

THE UK GOVERNMENT’S RESPONSE

In the United Kingdom the measures to deal with coronavirus are changing all the time in response to the level of threat. Generally speaking, after a lengthy nationwide lockdown things are gradually (though cautiously) opening up. However, there are still vulnerable people shielding and areas tightening restrictions again as smaller outbreaks occur, and the threat of a second wave of infections is ever-present.

The latest government guidelines [correct as of 3 August] include the following:

  • Individuals should wash their hands, wear face coverings, and keep at least a metre apart from others outside their own household.
  • Those individuals with symptoms must be tested for the virus and stay isolated at home for 10 days.
  • No more than two households can socialise indoors, and no more than six individuals from different households can meet outdoors.

Confirmed COVID-19 Cases Starting To Rise In the UK last August 2020


For businesses, the government’s furlough scheme has so far helped limit the risk of many people gathered together in an office space or similar. Companies who have seen a reduction in demand for their services have thus been able to protect many jobs that otherwise would have been lost. These furloughed workers join those working from home to prevent workplace infections and keep businesses out of the worst financial trouble.

The government points out that employers have a legal responsibility to protect their employees and people on their premises. Safety measures vary significantly depending on the type of business and staffing structure of each company. Guidelines for different types of business can be found on the gov.uk website, but there are five steps that all businesses must take:

  1. Carry out a COVID-19 risk assessment – consulting with employees
  2. Helping people to work from home – supporting them with equipment, communications, and physical and mental wellbeing
  3. Maintaining a 2 metre distance in the work environment – where possible, with communication, signage, and one-way systems
  4. Managing the risk of transmission – where distancing measures aren’t possible, using physical barriers, limiting shared time and activities in close quarters
  5. Developing cleaning, handwashing and hygiene procedures – including the provision of hand sanitiser, washing and drying facilities, providing guidance, and above all, enhancing cleaning for busy areas and surfaces

Many businesses have co-ordinated with government actions to enable responsive measures to occur. These include:

  • Complying with lockdown, quarantine, or shielding for vulnerable people
  • Remote working and furlough for many employees
  • Contact tracing

However, preventative measures are the most effective and beneficial when it comes to keeping everyone safe and protecting the NHS from a perilous rise in cases nationwide. Such steps include:

  • Social distancing
  • Wearing face masks
  • Limiting travel and gatherings
  • Education and communication
  • Handwashing and sanitation


Cleaning


For both responsive and preventative actions, the most important thing is maintaining a hygienic environment. Damage to the economy is almost an equal danger to the pandemic itself, and some businesses simply have to open and operate in some way if they are going to survive. For many, working remotely or furloughing staff is not an option.

Pubs, restaurants, gyms, hotels, schools and shops are just some of the businesses that need to open their doors in physical premises, with staff present in person. In these instances, where all five of the government’s steps need to be activated, identifying the best solutions for a clean,
sanitary work environment should be a top priority.

Chapter 3

How Can Green Facilities Help Maintain A Safe Work Environment?

Green Facilities have years of experience cleaning work spaces quickly and efficiently with minimal disruption to staff and workflow. Cleaning teams are trained to tackle any kind of environment, from leisure and hospitality to healthcare industries, and more conventional office spaces in legal, charity, media, and financial sectors.

The first key element to effective cleaning during COVID-19 is assessing the level of cleaning required.

Best cleaning practice would be to use the services of a trusted cleaning team every day, so that staff are entering a hygienic space every time they come in to work. However, this isn’t practical or feasible for all businesses.

It’s therefore crucial to carefully assess the level of cleaning required at the workplace, and identify the most important areas to focus on, in order to produce a safe environment.

This may involve increasing the time of each scheduled visit so cleaners can perform the extra tasks necessary to ensure areas are COVID-secure. For example, a normal hour-long booking might increase to an hour and a half.

Alternatively, special attention must be given to infection-spreading hot spots. Surfaces and objects that are most often touched need the most time and thoroughness.

Cleaning Hot Spots, Hard Surfaces and Frequently Touched Objects

Green Facilities are trained to target:

  • Shared microwaves (48% of which are the dirtiest spots in a workplace)
  • Office kitchen surfaces including sink taps, food preparation areas and dining furniture
  • Push pads and pull handles on doors
  • Shared desks or communal office equipment such as keyboards
  • Staff break rooms and toilets (extremely likely to be unsanitary)

Allowing extra time in a cleaning company’s scheduled callout, and making sure they concentrate on high frequency surfaces can make all the difference between “clean” and “COVID-secure”.

It’s highly recommended to make a detailed assessment and put in place sufficient provisions in the cleaning rota to give this peace of mind to you and your employees.

Chapter 4

Green Facilities Management’s Technological Cleaning Solutions to COVID-19

Once you’ve made your assessment and ensured the Green Facilities cleaning team has been given the time and access to your business’s work areas, they have a specialised range of technologies at their disposal to guarantee hygiene and safety. This range of equipment can help you save time and money in your cleaning efforts in a number of ways.

Some these are products that can be fitted or temporarily set up in work spaces to cleanse the area or reduce the transmission of germs on susceptible surfaces such as door handles.

Others are tools in the Green Facilities’ arsenal that our staff are specially trained to use to ensure effective cleaning. The following products are a rundown of our most popular and impactful cleaning technologies at your disposal.

Safe Pad

One of the most obvious places where cross contamination from one person to another can occur in the workplace is doors. Whether it’s staff entering and exiting through the same routes or customers coming into your shop or restaurant, they all have to make physical contact with a handle or door surface to pull or push it open.

Studies have shown that the coronavirus can survive on some surfaces and remain infectious for up to 9 days. All it takes is for a COVID-positive individual to touch the door, followed by someone else who then touches their face. Then the virus has been transmitted.

Tested Safe Pad Against Coronavirus

The Safe Pad is a self-adhesive covering available in a variety of sizes that has been shown to be resistant to feline coronavirus. While it’s not yet possible to test against COVID-19, this close comparison is a highly reliable indicator of defence against the family of coronaviruses.

The antibacterial coating contains silver ions, which are well known microbe-killing compounds, meaning nobody will pick up any live viruses deposited by an infected person.

Fixing a Safe Pad to the push plates of office doors can greatly reduce the infection rate from this all-too-common source of viral transmission. This is a cheap and simple option and its high visibility also gives germ-conscious staff and visitors’ peace of mind.

Purehold Hygiene Door Handle Covers 

Purehold Hygiene Door Handle Variant Colour Covers

Green Facilities also stock and install silver-technology in the form of Purehold door handle covers. Used as antiviral pads for push-doors or on lever handles, these cost-effective, toxin-free items can ensure that entering or leaving a premises is always safe.

Purehold Hygiene Door Handle Cover Setup

Purehold covers come in a range of fittings to suit the type of door handles in your workplace:

  • Pull bar
  • Push plate
  • Straight lever
  • Return to door (‘RTD”) - those with an extra bend in the handle

Purehold Push Plate Fitting

Purehold fixings don’t replace the need for manual cleaning, but they are far more effective than leaving doors unprotected between cleaning team visits.

Examples of Straight and Return-To-Door Handles

Nordic Chem Anti-Microbial Treatment Using EMist Electrostatic Sprayer

Keeping surfaces free from harmful microbes is paramount when it comes to preventing coronavirus transmission.

The risk when cleaning surfaces is that it is hard to see when areas have been missed. Normal disinfectants are generally okay at killing most microbes. However an everyday spray nozzle and cloth wipe-down can be surprisingly ineffective at achieving total coverage. The last thing you want to do when trying to eradicate a dangerous virus is miss a spot.

Green Facilities therefore have two powerful technologies, used in combination, to reduce the chances of lingering germs to virtually zero.

The first is a water-based anti-microbial additive from Nordic Chem. This non-toxic substance can be sprayed on any target area and it will coat the surface with a microscopic layer of “nanospikes”.

Nordic Chem Anti-Microbial Treatment Microscopic Nano Spikes

These structures bond to any surface and penetrate the outer membrane of viruses or bacteria that comes into contact with them – killing them instantly.

Using revolutionary quaternary ammonium silicone compounds (“SiQAC”), this amazing solution forms a mechanical rather than chemical barrier to pathogens. After application this coating can inhibit micro-organism growth for up to 90 days, so it’s not only more environmentally friendly than a disinfectant, but longer lasting.

Secondly, to maximise the reach and coverage of the Nordic Chem solution, we can employ the world’s most effective cleaning dispenser: the EMist Electrostatic Sprayer.

EMist Sprayer Logo

The EMist ensures that more surface area is covered by any disinfectant by positively charging the particles that come out of the unit. The positive mist is attracted to negatively charged surfaces and microbes. So rather than just falling where gravity dictates, the disinfectant actually moves towards the surfaces.

EMist Electrostatic Cleaning Dispenser Sprayer

You can imagine then, that applying Nordic Chem with an EMist sprayer provides a much more comprehensive, protective clean than someone using a normal spray and a cloth could ever do.

Hygenikx+

It’s not possible to consistently clean every nook and cranny of a workplace manually throughout the day. In the heightened environment of a viral pandemic, the ideal solution would be able to provide round-the-clock sterilisation.

This would work best on both surfaces that may have been touched by an infected person and also the environment where airborne particles containing coronavirus may be floating.

Photocatalytic Oxidation Principle Process Flow

That is exactly what Green Facilities delivers with the Hygenikx+ steriliser. This wall-mounted device uses germicidal oxidation, irradiation and dual waveband plasma quatro technologies to provide a range of hygienic benefits:

  • Eliminates bacteria, viruses, moulds, fungi and volatile organic compounds
  • Works in the air and on exposed surfaces
  • Removes unpleasant odours
  • Reduces food spoilage by extending shelf-life of perishable food by up to 150%
  • Low power consumption

The Hygenikx+ system provides continuous protection against airborne infections and is recommended for installation in wash rooms, food storage and preparation areas and more.

Hygenikx Plus Steriliser Wall-Mounted Device Specifications

 

Goldensea UV – Ultraviolet Lamps

An even more direct and powerful method to cleanse an area is using powerful ultraviolet light. This is similar to the UV rays the sun emits, radiation with a smaller wavelength than visible light.

UV lamps from Goldensea use the optimum ultraviolet wavelength for disinfection of air and surfaces. The UVC radiation destroys the molecular structure of the DNA or RNA of microorganisms, killing the cells of bacteria, moulds and viruses.

UVL220 Ultraviolet Disinfection Lamp for Commercial Environments

Furthermore, Goldensea lamps have been proven to kill the coronavirus in a matter of seconds, making them an extremely efficient disinfectant.

Lamps are available in different sizes and power levels, depending on the size of the area they are to be used on. They include several safety features to prevent harm to humans and animals and need to be set up for just short periods to show results in schools, factories, hotels, clinics and other office spaces.

Chapter 5

Eco-Friendly Cleaning Solutions

We are called Green Facilities Management for a reason. Our environmental credentials and commitment to eco-friendly practices and non-toxic solutions are at the foundation of everything we do as a company.

We believe that you can live and work in safe spaces free of contamination and risk of infection without having a detrimental impact on our surroundings and the natural world.

That’s why we are committed to working practices that reduce carbon footprints, encourage waste recycling and refrain from using substances that are hazardous to the environment.

Here are some of the ways that we will uphold your own green standards, even while performing a deep-level anti-COVID cleaning service:

1. Green Facilities proudly holds an ISO 14001 certification

This is a recognised standard that ensures that environmental impact is constantly measured and improved. Green FM is very proud that we use 100% environment friendly chemicals that have no detrimental effect on the planet – they are eco-Safe. We also ensure that all our machinery is energy efficient and microfibre technology is used on all our accounts.

Green Facilities Management ISO 9001 and 14001 Certification

 

2. COSHH trained staff

The Control of Substances Hazardous to Health (COSHH) Regulations require proper usage when it comes to dealing with cleaning products and other chemicals. All of our team know how to handle these issues safely.

3. Recycling

We are experienced in setting up recycling systems for any workplace, including providing recycling bins. Solutions can be tailored to any situation and we can even train your staff to recycle office waste and make your company greener.

Green Facilities Management Recycling Solutions

 

Other Accreditations

We also have memberships or certifications from the following organisations:

BICSc

The British Institute of Cleaning Science, the largest independent, professional and educational body in the cleaning industry. Green FM is an active member, achieving the CIMS (Cleaning Industries Management System) certification through BICSc.

The British Institute of Cleaning Science Logo

IWFM

The Institute of Workplace and Facilities Management, who define professional standards for skills, knowledge and competence in facilities management. We are a corporate member and benefit from a suite of qualifications and training to support us in performing to the best of our ability.

Institute of Workplace and Facilities Management Corporate Member Logo

ISSA

The International Sanitary Supply Association, a network of manufacturers, distributors and service providers in the worldwide cleaning industry. ISSA conducted and delivered the CIMS certification for Green FM.

International Sanitary Supply Association Logo

ISO 9001

As an ISO 9001 accredited Quality Company all completed work is checked for quality and compliance with the specification and all non-conformities are recorded, analysed and rectified.

Green Facilities Management ISO 9001 and 14001 Certification

Living Wage Employer

We are committed and accredited by the Living Wage Foundation to pay the independently calculated hourly wage that reflects the real cost of living. All Green FM full-time employees are paid above the higher London Living Wage rate.

Living Wage Foundation Accredited Employer Logo

Responsible companies want to do business with other responsible companies and individuals. That’s why it is important to us to provide a green, environmentally accountable service when approaching cleaning and hygiene standards.

What’s more, we believe that this is also the best way to achieve the safest, most sanitary results. It’s no use to have a clean office space if the chemicals used to service that area are damaging the air, water and ecosystem of the world outside the office.

It’s also clear that the green methods we employ are highly effective, as demonstrated by the products we outline in the earlier pages of this guide. The technology and methods we use simply work really well, and they do so with minimal energy consumption and waste. This means that our clients experience cleaner workplaces for less time, effort and fewer unwanted by-products.

Chapter 6

Conclusion

Coronavirus has proven to be an enormous disruption to worldwide business, and it’s possible that we have only seen the beginning of its effects. In all likelihood it will continue to be a significant threat to the health of individuals and businesses for some time yet.

We therefore need to find methods of working that balance economic sustainability with proper protection from the human consequences of COVID-19. At least until an effective vaccine is produced, measures like social distancing and face coverings will continue to be the norm.

But as the UK government encourages workers to return to offices, and restaurants, pubs and cinemas to reopen, the need for comprehensive sanitation is only going to grow.

In order to feel safe to go out to eat, work in a shared office, and use public services for the foreseeable future, we are all going to have to get used to health guidelines and make special provisions for keeping spaces clean from the coronavirus.

 

However, if we do these things it is possible to work and be safe at the same time. So follow the guidelines and safety measures, and consider using a professional, effective, reliable and environmentally-friendly cleaning service like Green Facilities Management.

Chapter 7

COVID-19 Facilities Management Checklist

Personnel

  • Working from home – Is everybody remote who can be?
  • Work rota/teams – Are those who have to come to work scheduled at different times? Does the rota ensure not all staff are present at once (in case an outbreak occurs amongst half the team)?

 

Workspace organisation

  • One way system – Does your space need one and is it clearly marked out?
  • Entry/Exit points – Are there separate entrances and exits and are these signs posted?
  • Visitor routes – Where can external people go or not go?
  • Social distancing – Are work stations sufficiently far apart?
  • Signage – Is there clear, consistent information throughout the office for staff and visitors to learn new measures?

 

Other areas of the building

  • Washrooms/toilets – Are social distancing measures in place (e.g. closing every other sink)?
  • Communal areas – Kitchens, break rooms: How many people are allowed in at a time? Is there a procedure and equipment for individuals to clean down areas after they’ve used them? Can lifts be used? Is there a contactless system in place to access different parts of the building?

 

Personal Protective Equipment and sanitising products

  • Face masks – What is the company policy for wearing them? Do you have spare stock for visitors/clients?
  • Other PPE provision – Does your business need to provide gloves, gowns, shields, or visors?
  • Hand sanitizer – Is this accessible for everyone? How much will be required? Is a procedure in place for who/when/how to use it?
  • Alcohol wipes for workstations – Do staff have the means to clean their keyboards, phones, desks, etc.?
  • Cleaning equipment for kitchen surfaces and communal areas – Do employees have the means to contribute to disinfectant efforts where required?
  • Doors – Are Safe Pads or handle covers being installed on all doors? Is there a way to keep doors open (without breaking fire regulations)?
  • Other equipment depending on the business – e.g. face masks, gloves, shields, visors

 

Cleaning

  • Schedule – How often will your cleaning services provider visit and when are the optimum times? How long will their visits take? Will the space need to be free of staff to carry out thorough cleaning?
  • Areas – Which areas need special attention? Do some places need more cleaning than normal? What does the cleaning provider recommend? What hotspots can you highlight specifically related to your workspace?
  • Equipment – Do you need to install a sterilisation system (like Hygenikx), use UV lamps, and is the cleaning provider using the most effective technology to ensure COVID-19 security?

 

Miscellaneous

  • Track and trace – Does the business need to take contact details for customers? What’s the company procedure if an infected person reports their visit?
  • Swab tests – Do you need to regularly test employees for COVID-19? If so, how often and what is the procedure if someone tests positive?
  • Communication/information – As well as signage, is there sufficient training and educational resources for staff and visitors to take on board new health and safety measures such as handwashing, social distancing, etc.?
  • Quarantine/self-isolation procedure – Who needs to isolate and when? Check the latest government guidelines. Do any customers or visitors need to be informed if they have been in contact with an infected member of staff?

Free Checklist

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