Businesses have been impacted by the coronavirus crisis in many ways. Those providing essential services have continued to operate, but under difficult conditions and with rapidly changing requirements for working practices and for the safety of their employees and customers.
Those businesses that have had to lock down and cease economic activity over the last few months are now looking to quickly restart their operations in a very different economic environment. They’ll have to adapt to new regulations and guidelines and ensure their premises are safe for staff, customers and other users, both before opening and on an ongoing basis as part of normal operating procedures.
The future developments of the crisis and impacts on operations are uncertain, but businesses can prepare for new health and safety requirements and assure employees of their safety by implementing a robust hygiene programme.
Rentokil has decades of experience in protecting and enhancing people’s lives and protecting businesses in multiple sectors, including food, hospitality, manufacturing, education, transport, health and care. We offer an unrivalled range of services in both pest control and hygiene.
1. Protecting businesses with essential pest control
Many buildings have been left empty or with little human activity during lockdown, resulting in greater risk of pest infestation and damage to property. Empty buildings can be a perfect habitat for many types of pest by giving them free reign to explore all parts for shelter, nesting and food supplies. When there are sufficient food supplies in a building or nearby, pest numbers can grow rapidly.
Buildings in all sectors, including food processing plants, manufacturing plants, warehouses, education, healthcare, hotels, restaurants, offices and residential accommodation provide ideal environments for many opportunistic pests. Rats, mice, flies, cockroaches, birds, stored product insects, fleas and ticks, for example, are both a health and an economic threat to every business. Rodents and birds also carry insects into buildings as ectoparasites and nest scavengers, posing a double pest threat.
Pests are vectors of a wide range of disease and they contaminate and consume food supplies. Rodents alone are vectors of over 30 important pathogenic bacteria, viruses, protozoa and helminths, while over 200 pathogens have been documented in flies.
During the lockdown, rodents in many urban areas will have their normal sources of food shut off by restaurants, cafés and fast-food shops closing down. They will be driven to seek new places for food and shelter by starvation and increased competition for scarce resources.
Pest control is essential not just for businesses that are looking to re-open after shutdown. Essential businesses that have continued during the lockdown need to protect their operations from disruption by continuing pest control measures and implementing a sound integrated pest management programme. This is important because it prevents:
- physical damage to buildings and fittings
- a growing pest infestation that will become much harder and costlier to eradicate
- contamination of the site with pest faeces, shed insect skins, carried-in dirt and debris from nesting material
- contaminated surfaces that will require disinfection to protect from the many diseases that pests can carry
2. Supporting businesses with integrated hygiene solutions
Rentokil’s sister company Initial is a world leader in providing hygiene services in over 45 countries worldwide. Initial offers a comprehensive range of integrated hygiene solutions and services for businesses to prepare for re-opening and to maintain a hygienic environment for continuing operations.
COVID-19 is highly infectious and is transmitted via infected saliva and mucus in respiratory droplets that are breathed in, land on surfaces or spread via the infected person’s hands. The virus is also present in other bodily fluids and may be spread in the washroom from ‘toilet sneeze’ and poor personal hygiene.
In the “new normal” for the workplace, businesses will need to block the chain of infection by using hand, surface and air hygiene solutions. Businesses will need to ask the following questions.
- Are my premises virus-free and surfaces safe to touch?
- How do I develop a strategy to implement hygiene standards?
- What hygiene procedures and COVID-19 control measures need to be in place?
- How do I comply with new hygiene regulations and protect my business, employees and customers from COVID-19?
Initial can help businesses comply with regulations, provide a safe environment and reassure employees and other users that their premises are safe. Initial’s integrated hygiene solutions target three crucial areas for stopping the chain of infection.
Surfaces act as reservoirs for bacteria, viruses and fungi carried into and around buildings by people on their shoes, clothes, hands, and in their respiratory systems. Frequently touched surfaces such as door handles, toilet flush handles, light switches, kettles, coffee machines, taps, furniture and kitchen counters accumulate germs from people’s hands, coughs and sneezes and are a major cause of infection.
Initial supplies a range of cleaning and disinfecting sprays that provide up to 24-hour protection from pathogens for large surface areas and surface wipes that protect touchpoints for up to 24 hours. Our disinfectants have been tested and proven effective against feline coronavirus.*
Hand hygiene solutions include antibacterial soap dispensers, hand-dryers and hand sanitiser dispensers for added protection in the washroom and in strategic locations around the workplace. There are also no-touch taps and dispensers to prevent hands from contaminating these.
Air purification units with HEPA and carbon filters remove airborne particles carrying bacteria, viruses, mould spores, dirt, and VOCs to help prevent cross-infection from respiratory particles and improve indoor air quality for occupants.
3. Disinfecting premises for COVID-19 decontamination
There is a risk of local outbreaks of COVID-19 in places where many people visit and the risk will remain while the coronavirus is still in circulation. Premises such as schools, care homes, offices, retail outlets, hotels, manufacturing, healthcare facilities and shopping centres need to decontaminate their premises after an infected person has been on site or as a precautionary measure to make sure the facilities are safe.
Our professional disinfection service provides a higher level of cleaning and disinfection than an in-house cleaning team and includes the use of the highest level of PPE, safe, legal disposal of biohazard material, if necessary, and compliance with safety regulations.
Specialists will survey the site to assess the risks and prepare an operating plan. Highly trained technicians manually clean and disinfect the site using a top-grade surface disinfectant that can protect from contamination for 24 hours. They systematically clean all the key touchpoints and surfaces in the building or vehicle. They also have specialist equipment and training to decontaminate areas with bodily fluids such as blood, urine, vomit and faeces.
For rapid disinfection of large areas, our technicians use ultra-low volume (ULV) disinfection fogging. This uses a fogger machine to generate a cloud of microscopic droplets of a disinfectant liquid that can quickly settle on all sides of objects and reach areas that may be difficult to access using manual cleaning methods.
Supporting your business during the coronavirus pandemic
Integrated hygiene solutions and pest control play a crucial role during the coronavirus crisis. They enable businesses and organisations to provide safe products and services, prevent disease outbreaks and reduce the risk of downtime.
For buildings that have been closed during a lockdown, pest infestations and risks of contamination will delay the return of a building to normal use when restrictions are lifted. By using pest control and hygiene services prior to re-opening and after, infestations can be monitored and dealt with quickly, premises made safe and costs can be significantly reduced.
These services will ensure your business complies with safety regulations and give staff, customers and other users the confidence that your premises are safe and you have taken adequate measures to ensure their safety.
*Independently tested against feline coronavirus, a surrogate virus for coronavirus.