In response to the ongoing coronavirus pandemic, Safe Work Australia has recently released a number of guidelines for workplaces to follow in relation to COVID-19 cleaning and disinfection.
Section 19 of the QLD Work Health and Safety Act requires business owners to take care of the health, safety and welfare of all workers and customers. This includes taking steps to eliminate the risk of exposure to COVID-19.
Safe Work Australia is actively promoting a two step process of cleaning and disinfecting as the best way to protect workers and others from COVID-19. To help your business adhere to Safe Work Australia guidelines, In-Tec offers thorough workplace cleaning and disinfecting services. Get in touch with us today to request more information and a no obligation quote.
What’s the difference between cleaning and disinfecting and why is both required?
Contrary to popular belief, cleaning and disinfecting are two different processes.
Cleaning = the physical removal of germs (bacteria and viruses), dirt and grime from surfaces using a detergent and water solution. A detergent is a surfactant that is designed to break up oil and grease with the use of water.
Disinfecting = using chemicals to kill germs (bacteria and viruses) on surfaces. It’s important that surfaces are cleaned before disinfecting because dirt and grime can reduce the ability of disinfectants to kill germs. We use a range of cleaning products for disinfecting purposes such as Oxivir and SAO (see below).
How often should I arrange for my workplace to be cleaned and disinfected?
Safe Work Australia is currently recommending that all workplaces should be cleaned at least daily. However, not all areas of a workplace require daily cleaning. Safe Work Australia states that common use areas such as bathrooms need to be cleaned daily, whereas surfaces such as personal desks can be cleaned weekly.
Cleaning should be more frequent if surfaces become visibly dirty, there is a spill, or if they are touched by lots of different people (for example, if your workplace has a high volume of workers touching lift buttons or customers touching an EFTPOS machine). If your workplace operates in shifts, it should be cleaned between shifts. If equipment is shared between workers (for example, hot desks), all equipment should be cleaned between uses, where practicable.
Once clean, surfaces in your workplace can then be disinfected.
Safe Work Australia guidelines state that high risk surfaces and areas in the workplace, such as toilets, showers and push/pull doors, should be disinfected daily in addition to general cleaning. A workplace only requires total disinfection of all areas and surfaces if there has been a confirmed or suspected case of COVID-19. The Safe Work Australia website has comprehensive information on recommended cleaning/disinfecting frequency based on industry type and surface type which you can check out by clicking here.
It’s important to note that not every surface needs to be cleaned/disinfected. As COVID-19 is spread by touching contaminated surfaces or breathing in droplets from coughing or sneezing, surfaces which are never touched do not require specific attention (e.g. a ceiling).
What cleaning products do you use?
We use a variety of high quality, hospital grade cleaning products including:
Tersano’s SAO (Stabilised Aqueous Ozone) solution
SAO is a patented cleaning solution with an effective dwell time of within one minute and is used widely in healthcare environments. Through the use of a patented SAO dispenser, cold tap water is infused with ozone to dispense stabilised aqueous ozone on the spot which can be poured into spray bottles and mop buckets for use by a professional cleaning team. It works 3000x faster and is 50% stronger than bleach. Whilst it’s tough on germs, it’s also totally environmentally friendly. The formulation breaks down into water and oxygen just minutes after use and can be safely flushed down drains.
As of the 20th of April 2020, Tersano’s SAO solution has been proven to eliminate 99.99% of an approved surrogate for the COVID-19 virus with a one minute dwell time.
Diversy Oxivir disinfectant
For clients without an on-site SAO dispenser, Oxivir is an equally effective alternative Like SAO, it is used in healthcare environments and is also commonly used in schools. Oxivir is an accelerated hydrogen peroxide solution. It is a low odour, sustainable, biodegradable yet powerful alternative to bleach and other disinfectants. The active ingredient, hydrogen peroxide, breaks down to water and oxygen and can therefore be flushed down drains.
Oxivir has been approved by the Therapeutic Goods Administration (TGA) with the label claim “Kills SARS-CoV-2 (COVID-19 virus) in one minute”.
What is your workplace COVID-19 disinfecting procedure in the event of a confirmed or suspected COVID-19 case?
To be able to properly disinfect your workplace, we first need to perform general cleaning (if you have not engaged our cleaning services already). This is to enable disinfectant products to function as intended. Steps include:
- All loose dirt and contaminants will be removed from your workplace surfaces.
- All floors will be cleaned including steam cleaning of carpets and upholstery and deep cleaning of hard floors.
- All surfaces, excluding carpet and upholstery, are then to be disinfected.
- Carpets and upholstery will be treated with disinfectant after steam cleaning.
- Sealed hard floors are to have sealer reapplied if needed and then treated with disinfectant.
- All areas treated with disinfectant must be allowed to completely air dry.