As the Covid-19 lockdown is phased out, FM professionals are now at the frontline to protect lives and business reputations. But are they ready for the challenge, asks SafeGroup Strategic Business Director Chris MacDonald.

Shield against Covid-19 Step two is to treat and protect surfaces with an advanced broad-spectrum microbial disinfectant. Tests have proven it to be greater than 99.99% effective against Covid-19, plus bacteria and mould. It also remains active on surfaces for up to 30 days even with regular cleaning.

The product is applied using electrostatic spray equipment that maximises coverage and surface bonding, making it more effective than fogging.

This long-lasting microbial barrier system, also non-toxic and food safe, is the technical shield that helps prevent surface to person transmission. It allows protection to be maintained through repeated treatment cycles for as long as necessary.

Step three is testing. Whoever heard of swabbing office phones for germs? Welcome to the new normal. We have developed a multi-sample testing regime with an international laboratory that allows us to show there is no Covid-19 present.

The pandemic is entering a new phase. Under full lockdown, many people could remain relatively safe in their homes. Now, those same people are being expected to step outside for the first time in months.

Covid-19 has not gone away. Fears about catching it are still real. In many workplaces FM specialists will be tasked with making environments safe and allaying those fears.

This will need innovative thinking. When it comes to infection control in the workplace or on worksites, social distancing and hand hygiene, together, are not adequate. These measures will not effectively counter the risk of person to surface to person transmission of the virus.

Two scientific studies, one in the USA, the other in the UK, have identified how long Covid-19 can remain active on surfaces. For plastic and stainless steel, it is three to seven days. For glass it is up to four days, and two days on wood.

In environments that include care homes, schools, factories, offices and shops, that is a big concern. Our response has been to develop a three-step cleaning and decontamination programme designed to provide long- term protection against Covid-19. Called ‘Back to Business Clean and Safe’, we are delivering it directly to customers and through FM partners.

Step one is to carry out a conventional deep clean. This is something the CIPD and other business organisations have expressly recommended as part of any Covid-19 workplace recovery strategy.


This final step, testing, reflects the fact that any Covid-19 protection service needs to be technically robust and provide the reassurance employees and customers want.

Evidence-based peace of mind For business survival, fear of the virus is as important as the risk itself. Covid-19 has not just heightened anxiety about workplace hygiene, it is completely redefining it. In a post-Covid-19 world, employers who can provide staff and customers with evidence-based and certified peace of mind are more likely to gain their long-term trust.

As these issues unfold, we are concerned about rogue decontamination service providers entering the market. They are already active. Poorly executed deep cleaning with inferior products will lead to false reassurance and undermine the reputation of the FM industry.

Another key issue is getting effective solutions to where they are needed fast enough. There is a risk that lockdown measures have made many businesses more inward looking. There is evidence that the residential care sector is a case in point. Expertise and know-how must be directed where it is needed most.

For many organisations, a comprehensive disinfection solution, carried out by verifiable specialists, is likely to become a vital component of a robust Covid-19 protection strategy for many months to come. We are looking to work with more professional FM partners to offer just that.

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