UBM Kansas City

Can my cleaning contractor handle COVID-19?

Can my cleaning contractor handle COVID-19?

A lot of facility managers are asking themselves that question right now. And this is a good time to ask it – before occupants return to the facility. The answer depends on which kind of contractor you’re talking about. There are three kinds of contractors that clean commercial buildings:

  • Janitorial contractors – that do your simple, everyday cleaning and trash disposal, stocking restrooms, etc.
  • Restoration companies – that specialize in remediating damage from flooding, disasters or fires.
  • Subject Matter Expert (SME) companies – IICRC qualified professionals that adhere to the highest industry standards. They bring fully trained technicians to clean and apply the appropriate types of disinfectant solutions in a safe and effective manner.

Facility managers are now facing difficult decisions that could have serious implications for their building occupants. COVID-19 is a new virus, and no one has immunity from it. Certain individuals become ill, and some can die from complications from the infection.

Now, more than ever, it is vital to choose a qualified, professional SME contractor to make your building safe for the day when people return.

To help you make the right choice, don’t just take a contractor’s word they can do it. Before hiring any contractor, have a conversation, and make sure they can answer these questions.

  • Which product will be used in this facility?
  • Is it an EPA registered hospital-grade disinfectant?
  • What personal protective equipment (PPE) does your staff need in order to apply it? Will you provide it?
  • Ask to see the sample kill list for the product.
  • Is there proof that it kills other coronavirus strains – like feline or canine coronavirus?
  • Will it have a residual odor?
  • What are the implications for my employees and tenants?

Be warned: This emergency has led to a proliferation of fly-by-night operators looking to make a quick buck by saying they will sanitize your facility. It’s unlikely they will have the knowledge and the disinfectant solutions to do the job properly. They might be using off-the-shelf “disinfectants” that are basically just deodorizers.

The safest, most effective disinfectants are in extremely short supply, if they are available at all now. And the foggers or electrostatic machines to apply them are so scarce that their prices have increased many times over.

A SME contractor will already have a supply of EPA registered hospital-grade disinfectant on hand, as well as the professional foggers and electrostatic machines and well-trained technicians to apply it.

It’s not advisable to take the CDC as infallible. The CDC has put out some recommendations for disinfecting, but SME contractors are alarmed at their suggestion to use bleach. Bleach is not only extremely dangerous and damaging to fabrics, it can be deadly when it comes into contact with residues of certain other cleaning chemicals. The death at Buffalo Wild Wings was caused by toxic fumes produced by such a combination.

The safest, most effective disinfectant, the one SME contractors use, is labeled SDS 0-0-0. The SDS stands for Safety Data Sheet, a hazard notice which is required on all chemicals. Here are some of the reasons SME contractors use SDS 0-0-0 disinfectant:

  • No PPE is required.
  • Safe for fabrics and porous items (like furniture and carpets).
  • Not corrosive to electronics when used properly. Fogging devices shouldn’t be aimed at computers for more than 4 seconds and a maximum of 30 seconds on other surfaces.
  • Occupants can return immediately after treatment.

In our next blog, we will post more questions facility managers should get answered before hiring a contractor.

We’ll be glad to answer any questions you have. Please call us at 913-322-6200. We’re here to serve you.

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