Environmental Issue & Sick Building Syndrome Blog

Coronavirus Disinfection of Buildings is Not -One and Done-It is a Process and a Battle

April 1st, 2020 9:48 PM by Dan Howard

The first visitor to a building after a complete disinfection can contaminate the building as if it was never cleaned. Maintaining a safe and healthy environment is a shared responsibility for occupant and visitor alike. Communication is key to achieving that goal.

Set the expectations at the front door. Post signage indicating that infection control measures must be followed at entrances.

Locally, the effort of Giant Eagle Supermarkets to install clear plexiglass screens between the customers and checkout staff is an excellent example of setting the tone for protecting all people who enter the store. That effort communicates that they want and expect all of us to keep each other safe while in their buildings.        

Signage can begin with a notice at the front door as follows:

 This is a building where infection control is necessary for the health of the staff and visitors

  • Please use the hand sanitizer you will find at the front door as you enter the building. 
  • Masks can be found in a box at the front door. Please use a mask while in this building.
  • Please do not shake hands with staff. It is not that we are unfriendly in this building. We care about you and our staff and wish all good health.
  • Please wash hands after use of restroom facilities and before handling any food, beverage or equipment that will be shared with others. Examples of shared items include copiers, phones, and other equipment.

Educate all staff to basic practices as to the ways you can reduce or slow the spread of infections:

  • Wash your hands frequently. Use paper towels or hand dryers. If leaving a restroom, use the paper towel to open the door to leave the room after hand washing.
  • Stay home if you are sick (so you do not spread the illness to other people).
  • Wipe all commonly used equipment before use. This includes phones, copiers, flashlights, shared desks, fountains, handles on appliances, faucets, etc 
  • Shared autos and trucks are shared close environments in which almost every surface is a touch point and not typically sanitized. This includes steering wheels, door handles, radios, dials, controls and equipment. These should be sanitized. 
  • Use a tissue, or cough and sneeze into your arm, not your hand. Turn away from other people when sneezing, coughing, hacking. 
  • Use single-use tissues. Dispose of the tissue immediately. Do not leave sitting out for reuse.
  • Wash or sanitize your hands after coughing, sneezing or using tissues. 
  • Do not touch your eyes, nose or mouth (viruses can transfer from your hands and into the body).
  • Do not share cups, glasses, dishes or cutlery. Paper plates, plastic silverware and disposable cups are suggested.

Understand and Combat Common Disease Transfer Methods

Airborne - coughs or sneezes release airborne pathogens, which are then inhaled by others. We now know that the minimum safe space is about 6 feet. 

Contaminated objects or food – We now know that the virus can live on most surfaces. That includes all touch points and items that include bags, papers, doorknobs, light switches and anything else you may touch.    

Skin-to-skin contact - the transfer of virus can occur through touch, or by sharing personal items, clothing or objects. The data tells us to ban handshakes.




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