Don’t forget that there are other pathogens out there beyond Covid-19, and our 4-step infection control methodology gets results.
Last week, there was an anniversary that nobody wanted. On 11 March, it was a year since the World Health Organization (WHO) declared Covid-19 to be a pandemic. Unsurprisingly, in the past year, we’ve all been focused very heavily on the disease and the SARS-CoV-2 virus that causes it. Here at REACT, we’ve worked hard to respond and reassure with our deep cleaning and decontamination services. But infection control goes far beyond this one virus to cover a range of pathogens, from common viruses to drug-resistant bacteria. In this blog, we’re giving you a reminder of our simple but effective four-step infection control methodology: test, clean, disinfect and test again.
Preparation is protection
Before we carry out any infection control cleaning, we carefully assess all the risks. Most importantly, we always display warning signs near areas to be deep cleaned and disinfected. When our teams are carrying out first response deep cleaning and decontamination, they wear Personal Protective Equipment (PPE). It’s vital to have the correct PPE, and clear instructions on how to put on and remove all such equipment. For infection control scenarios, we insist on every possible precaution. As a minimum, this would include a Hazmat Category 3 suit, A1P2 mask and two pairs of disposable gloves. And for single-use items, we ensure discarded PPE is properly and safely disposed of.
Step 1: test to determine the scale of the problem
The first step in our infection control methodology is to test surfaces for the presence of pathogens. We use Adenosine Triphosphate (ATP) testing, which was previously in common use in the healthcare and food sectors. ATP molecules indicate the presence of biological residues. When captured from surfaces or water samples via a swab, which is inserted into a device called a luminometer, we can ascertain when a surface has not been properly cleaned. We recommend ATP testing for all our deep cleaning and decontamination assignments. And we’re currently researching ways to make ATP testing, or something similar, more readily available.
Step 2: clean to start breaking the chain of transmission
Cleaning with a pH-neutral cleaning solution is an essential part of infection control methodology. It’s vital to break the chain of transmission, especially if testing has shown the presence of pathogens. For many viruses and bacteria, the combination of soap and water disrupts the protective outer coating of the cell, leaving it with no way of infecting a host cell. But it’s doubly important to clean surfaces, as this also removes dust, oils and dirt, which can harbour microscopic pathogen particles. It’s also important to think carefully about which hard surfaces need to be focused on for infection control. We consider risk factors in workplaces and the balance between frequency of use against the likelihood of infection. Lift buttons and door handles are much more common touchpoints than window catches and desk drawers.
Step 3: disinfect to kill any residual pathogens
After testing and cleaning a surface, we apply a viricidal or bactericidal disinfectant certified to be effective. Broad-based viricidal disinfectant, including quaternary ammonium or chlorine compounds, will be effective against bacteria too. However, these are potentially harmful chemicals. If used incorrectly or too frequently, they can cause long-term health issues, as well as discolouring the surfaces to which they’re applied. We’re currently evaluating environmentally friendly alternatives to these chemicals. Some have proved effective with shorter contact times, and they’re much less harmful to health and the environment.
As well as the correct choice of disinfectant, it’s important to think about the best delivery system for applying it to surfaces. In most cases, we recommend ULV (Ultra Low Volume) fogging as part of a deep cleaning and decontamination regime. We supplement ULV fogging with a ‘spray and wipe’ process, to focus on high-contact areas easily touched by people. Meanwhile, in certain instances, we’ll use whole room fine misting or fogging systems, which have been gaining traction, especially in the health care sector.
Step 4: test again for the reassurance of a job well done
The final step is to carry out further ATP testing. We’re confident that we will have eradicated the pathogens in question, whatever type of workplace is involved. This step is to ensure that we’ve done the job properly and to provide the reassurance to our clients that they’ve been made safe. Whether it’s viruses or bacteria, our infection control methodology gets the results you want.
To find out more about REACT Specialist Cleaning and our 4-step infection control methodology, contact one of the team today.
Post by Shaun D. Doak
Shaun is the CEO of REACT Group plc., a business dedicated to specialist cleaning, hygiene and decontamination. He is deeply committed to making sure that every one of our company’s clients receives the highest possible level of service. An expert in HVAC and commercial and industrial cleaning methodologies, Shaun has extensive experience in the facilities management and renewable services sector.