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Precautionary disinfection: Helping your business keep safe from the threat of the coronavirus

Harry Wood

As countries around the world are moving through different phases of the COVID-19 infection, businesses and organisations need to protect their staff, customers, buildings, machinery, equipment and goods from the risks of infection and contamination.

If you’re maintaining vital services or preparing for opening or re-starting business, a high level of hygiene is now recognised as essential to contain the disease and allow operations or activities to return to normal.

Rentokil has launched a range of disinfection services worldwide to help all business sectors, including retail, manufacturing, transport, education, hospitality, leisure and healthcare, to provide a clean and safe environment for normal operations.

What is the difference between cleaning, sterilization and disinfection?

Cleaning, disinfection and sterilisation provide increasing levels of protection from pathogenic microorganisms that contaminate surfaces.

Cleaning is the removal of dirt, which can be organic or inorganic material, from surfaces using water and detergents. It doesn’t kill microorganisms, but physically removes them from the surface, lowering their number and reducing the risk of infection.

Thorough cleaning is essential before disinfection and sterilisation as any material that’s on surfaces can reduce the effectiveness of the procedures and result in microorganisms being left on surfaces.

Disinfection is a process to eliminate all or most pathogenic microorganisms, usually using a solution of an active chemical certified to be effective against the target pathogens. Different chemicals have a different set of pathogens that they’re active against and require differing times to be effective. So it’s important for the operators to fully understand what to use and how to use the disinfectant to make the surfaces safe.

Sterilisation is a process to destroy all microorganisms on a surface or in a fluid to prevent the transmission of pathogens, usually for medical purposes. Sterilisation can be achieved by physical methods, such as heat or steam, or by using chemicals with a high level of germicidal activity, such as hydrogen peroxide or ethylene oxide.

Various factors can affect the efficacy of disinfection and sterilisation, including:

  • effectiveness of the cleaning done beforehand
  • the amount of organic and inorganic material present
  • type and level of microbial contamination
  • concentration of and exposure time to the active chemical ingredient
  • physical nature of the object being treated, such as complex shapes and surfaces
  • presence of biofilms
  • temperature and pH of the disinfection process

Achieving effective disinfection requires suitable training of the operators to guarantee it’s done properly.

Precautionary disinfection service for COVID-19 containment and control

Precautionary disinfection is a service to clean and disinfect surfaces in buildings or vehicles where there are no suspected or confirmed cases of COVID-19. It provides assurance to users that those places are safe.

There are several options for customers to choose from, including disinfection fogging and cleaning and disinfection of critical touchpoints. The technicians who carry out the service are more highly trained than general cleaning staff and have years of experience in working in situations with a high requirement for hygiene.

Our technicians have specialist equipment available and understand how the products work and how to apply them effectively. For every type of surface, they understand exactly what needs to be done to clean and disinfect them properly. And teams of technicians are used to provide the service as quickly as possible and return the facility to normal use.

ULV disinfection fogging

Fogging is a quick way to disinfect large areas and allow them to be returned to normal use.

A fogger machine is used to generate a cloud of very small droplets of a disinfectant liquid. The droplets reach all round the area and settle on top of, underneath and on the sides of many objects. The droplets can cover surfaces that are difficult to reach using conventional cleaning methods and can also be used on a wider range of surfaces that include textiles.

Touchpoint cleaning

Touchpoint cleaning is important for preventing the spread of infectious diseases that are spread by hand or air to surfaces and from surfaces to hands.

Poor hand hygiene is a significant cause of the spread of COVID-19 in places where people have many common touchpoints such as schools, care homes, offices, public transport, gyms and healthcare facilities.

The precautionary disinfection service targets key surfaces such as:

  • door handles
  • handrails
  • push plates
  • light switches
  • supermarket trolleys and baskets
  • remote controls
  • taps
  • desks
  • office equipment
  • keyboards
  • kitchen equipment and surfaces

The frequency of cleaning required will depend on the type of business or organisation, what the facility is used for, and the risk of viruses being present.

Legally compliant waste removal

One of the most common questions asked by customers is what is done with any waste. A key part of our operations is complying with the complex legislation relating to waste that could be a biohazard. As experts in the collection and disposal of healthcare waste, we adhere to all local legislation and guidelines from the appropriate authorities.

Any infectious waste produced, including gloves, aprons or overalls, face masks, paper towels and swabs, is disposed of in UN3291 orange clinical waste bags and handled accordingly. Our licenced waste management technicians transport all waste for disposal in compliance with local regulations and full traceability is provided.

Help protect your business with COVID-19 disinfection

Until the risk of COVID-19 has been eliminated, taking adequate hygiene measures will remain an essential part of health and safety. As a businesses or organisation, you can provide assurance to employees, customers, students, patients or visitors that you’re protecting their health and wellbeing on your premises by cleaning and disinfecting regularly.

A disinfection service carried out by specially trained and experienced technicians using approved equipment and disinfectant solutions will provide peace of mind that you can maintain use of your facilities safely and legally.

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Harry Wood
Harry Wood

I am a Content Communications Editor at Rentokil Initial, writing content for all our marketing activities on topics as diverse as pest control, pest-borne diseases, food safety, climate change, wellbeing, hygiene and airborne diseases. I've been an editor and writer for over 30 years in academic and business roles. I started life in the Forestry Commission, moved into tropical forestry and environment in Thailand before migrating to the world of healthcare IT and medical technology back in the UK. My role at Rentokil Initial has given me the chance to return to some of my roots when writing about wood-boring insect pests ... or is that boring Wood writing about insect pests?

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