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Why infection control is vital for the rail network

Rail companies need to deploy deep cleaning and decontamination to achieve infection control even beyond the pandemic.

REACT provides a one-stop-shop for specialist rail sector cleaning
Our four-step infection control methodology gives rail companies peace of mind.

Keeping the rail network running has become ever more challenging in the face of a pandemic. As restrictions on travel ease after the early 2021 lockdown, rail companies are working hard to restrict the risks associated with the Covid-19 pandemic. But in fact, rail operators and manufacturers should be deploying infection control at all times. Other pathogens can spread on the rail network, especially when services are crowded. And during the winter, the risks are even higher. In this blog, we’re taking a closer look at how rail companies can limit the spread of viruses and bacteria with deep cleaning and decontamination.

Hygiene sits at the heart of infection control

Our Infection Control Service is a specialist cleaning and disinfection package aimed at successfully reducing the risk of infections. It’s of course a key focus for the healthcare sector, not least due to antibiotic-resistant “healthcare-acquired infections”. But infection control is vital on the rail network too, both during the current pandemic and more generally. We provide protection against a number of different viruses and bacteria, including Covid-19 Coronavirus, Swine Flu, and Norovirus. All of these diseases can be spread from contact with infected surfaces, due to transfer from touch or airborne droplets (depending on the pathogen).

An infection control culture has to be an open and collaborative one. It’s vital that there’s clear communication among cleaning staff and between cleaning teams and other staff. That’s where REACT Specialist Cleaning and our Infection Control Service come into play. We can work to ensure that a proper schedule is maintained – and that rail operators and manufacturers are able to prevent infections among customers and staff.

A robust deep cleaning and decontamination methodology

We have a rigorous four-step infection control methodology: test, clean, disinfect and test again. Step one is to determine the extent to which surfaces have been infected with pathogens. We test surfaces for the presence of Adenosine Triphosphate (ATP), which is an indicator molecule for biological residues. Transmissible viruses, such as SARS-CoV-2, can remain stable on hard surfaces for up to 72 hours. Therefore, it’s especially important to be cleaning high-touch surfaces and objects on trains and other rail facilities, such as door handles and buttons, handrails, ticket machines.

Step two is an effective clean; it’s important wipe down surfaces with a pH neutral cleaning solution, such as warm soapy water. This removes lingering dirt and dust to which pathogens can attach themselves. In many ways, step three –disinfection with a virucidal disinfectant – is most crucial. Most common agents contain chlorine compounds which can cause health issues and discolouration of surfaces when used incorrectly. As a safer choice and where possible, we adopt environmentally friendly alternatives which can be just as effective. We would also deploy such methods as fogging or UVC light in specific circumstances on train carriages. And as a final step, to provide confidence of effective decontamination, our team performs further ATP testing at the end of the process.

Taking personal responsibility for infection control

An infection control culture needs broader buy-in around personal and corporate responsibility for good hygiene. There are some clear steps that any employer in the rail network can take to limit the risks associated with viruses and bacteria:

  • Encourage workers and customers to practice good hand hygiene, by washing with hot water and soap. Alcohol hand gels do not kill all viruses, although they are useful in some instances.

  • Guarantee availability of washrooms and handwashing supplies.

  • Promote a general culture of safety, including not reporting to work if sick.

  • Perform routine housekeeping, as well as more rigorous cleaning and disinfection regimes.

Deep cleaning and decontamination are obviously two areas where REACT can shine. Our Infection Control Service focuses specifically on ensuring that surfaces across the rail network are thoroughly disinfected. And we follow our own advice too, by ensuring that all our workers are fit and well when they’re on cleaning assignment. Use our deep cleaning and decontamination services for infection control, during the pandemic and beyond.

To find out more about REACT Specialist Cleaning and our infection control deep cleaning and decontamination services for the rail network, 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.


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