The silver lining

Businesses are looking for smart post-pandemic hygiene solutions to control cleaning costs. Steve Broughton, founder of SafeGroup, thinks they’ve found the answer.

Cleaning companies can be proud of what they have achieved during

the COVID-19 pandemic. When their clients needed them most, they were

there, carrying out hygienic cleaning and delivering a whole new range of services, including

electrostatic spray cleaning.

Many companies, SafeGroup included, showed agility and innovation in rapidly scaling up decontamination services, helping keep people safe and reassured and the wheels of the economy moving, albeit at a slower pace.

As pandemic lockdown comes to an end, times are now changing. Businesses that were willing to allocate hefty budgets to disinfection spraying and more intensive cleaning regimes are looking to a post-pandemic world. In it, they want two apparently contradictory things: better hygiene and controlled costs.

A long-term priority

This is requiring fresh thinking in terms of creating hygienic environments. Our response has been to launch a new product and service called Touchpoint Shield. It’s a surface coating that's highly durable and contains an active ingredient, silver ions, that destroys microorganisms including SARS-CoV-2, and a range of bacteria recognised as causing illness and lost work days.

Our thinking on Touchpoint Shield has been driven by feedback from our clients. They have valued our support during the pandemic but want hygiene solutions that are effective and sustainable in the long-term.

Continued intensive electrostatic spraying, for example, doesn’t fit easily into that mix. There is recognition that hygiene standards have moved up the premises maintenance agenda. Both in terms of reopening workplaces after lockdown and long-term goals, enhanced hygiene is a priority.

Reassurance and wellbeing are key watchwords. A sizeable number of employees (not most but a good number) will need to be convinced that it’s safe to return. In some environments, staff representatives and health and safety advisers will be watching to ensure hygiene standards do not slip.

Team motivation and morale will be of concern to leadership teams, especially to retain key personnel at a time of change.

New challenges That change includes the development of new ways of


working. A new phrase – hybrid working – has been coined, whereby staff are permitted, if not encouraged, to work partly at home and partly in the office.

This approach will present its own challenges. While staff are in the office, they’re likely to be expected to work more collaboratively and intensively together, perhaps in smaller office space. In these circumstances, social distancing and novel ways to control how people use work spaces may not be an option.

At the same time, companies – facilities maintenance providers and their clients – are rightly concerned that hygiene solutions must be sustainable. Touchpoint Shield is designed to provide an important solution for all these concerns for the critical element of touchpoint cleaning.

Touchpoint cleaning is critical

There has been a lot of debate about whether SARS-CoV-2 can be passed on through surface transmission. Some experts dismiss it, others see it as more important. To a degree, in the post-pandemic world it’s a moot point. What we’re concerned about now is wider hygiene standards, and in those terms, surface transmission is a key issue – and touchpoint cleaning remains critically important to minimising its risk.

Touchpoint Shield supports this by controlling the build-up of potentially harmful pathogens, including viruses, bacteria, fungi and mould on both hard and soft surfaces. Uniquely, it has two key elements. The first is a nanoceramic coating – in effect a liquid glass. When applied, it bonds strongly to the surface and forms a coating that is just five microns thick, half the width of a human hair.

The second is the silver ions the coating liquid contains. Silver has been used for centuries to guard against microbes. Silver ions are the modern manifestation of the metal’s antimicrobial power. They interact with microbe cells, disrupting them, making them harmless.

So, once the near-transparent Touchpoint Shield coating is applied, it cannot be seen but it is working every minute of the day to prevent the build-up of colonies of bacteria and viruses that could be passed on by human touch.

Trials yield telling results

Laboratory tests have proven Touchpoint Shield to be 99.9+% effective against SARS-CoV-2, plus other viruses and a wide range of bacteria that commonly cause illness. That’s good evidence of the product’s efficacy. However, we have gone a step further and carried out field trials in different environments, including large banking offices and a major London theatre.

These have shown that Touchpoint Shield is highly effective

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