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Change in spec


Mike Boxall, Managing Director of Sitemark, reveals what needs to change in cleaning specifications to make workplaces ready for people returning to work after lockdown.


Following the publication of the Government’s Return to Work advice in mid-May, many organisations are preparing their workplaces for returning employees. Although 1 July is being seen as a key milestone, some businesses are introducing small numbers of people throughout May and June as pilot phases to stress test the new processes and procedures.


The importance of cleaning in this process is demonstrated by the fact that it has an entire section in the Government guidance dedicated to the topic. This covers everything from steps to take before reopening, keeping the workplace clean, maintaining hygiene in washrooms, changing rooms and showers, and handling goods.


Most organisations will already have detailed cleaning specifications for their premises but these will have to be reviewed with COVID-19 in mind. In recent years we have seen a move towards output cleaning specifications – focusing on the end result of cleaning. But the post COVID-19 world will see a move back towards input specifications – setting out exactly what’s required, when it’s required and how it should be delivered.


Whether that’s a temporary measure of adjustment or a more long-term shift remains to be seen. Input specifications tend to be used when there are legislative requirements and while there are no specific regulations around cleaning post COVID-19, all organisations will want to be able to demonstrate that they are meeting their Duty of Care and keeping their employees, contractors and visitors, safe.


Typically, both input and output cleaning specifications focused on a visual standard of cleanliness. Does the space look clean? Is it free from dirt and debris? Does it provide a good first impression for the visitor and employee? As a result of COVID-19, that needs to change. The focus


70 | SPECIALIST CLEANING


must be on an enhanced hygiene standard. Focusing on how hygienic spaces are minimises the risk of workplace contamination and ensures everyone remains healthy.


As a starting point, review the existing cleaning specification and consider making the following changes:


Deep clean: Arrange for deep cleaning before re-occupation and if there is a confirmed case of the virus in the building.


Frequency: Consider increasing cleaning frequency so that cleaning operatives are able to provide on-site janitorial cover at all times that the building is occupied. This not only increases the amount of cleaning done, but also provides visual reassurance to people that their safety is being taken seriously.


Touchpoints: Identify all areas of a building where the risk of contamination to building users is high. The list is long and includes door handles, wall furniture, IT equipment, sanitaryware, utensils and stationery, kitchen appliances, vending machines, money exchange points, handrails, office furniture, reception desks, dispensers and waste receptacles. Then clean them at a frequency that is appropriate to the area they are in.


Chemical use: Ensure cleaning operatives are using appropriate multi-purpose virucidal cleaners for daily preventative cleaning with clear usage methodology.


Rugs, mats, curtains and blinds: Consider removing rugs and mats where safe to do so to make cleaning and disinfection of floors safer to do. Removing curtains and blinds minimises the areas where germs can be difficult or time-consuming to remove. Keep blinds opened and locked off if they cannot be removed.


Steam cleaning and fogging: Consider introducing a daily steam clean for washrooms and monthly fogging for the entire workspace.


(https://www.gov.uk/guidance/working-safely-during-coronavirus-covid-19/offices-and-contact-centres) twitter.com/TomoCleaning


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