Your Facility is Covered in Germs: What Does This Mean for a Facility Manager

Facility managers have a vital job. They responsible for ensuring the safe and effective operation and maintenance of a facility and it’s infrastructure, including the heating, ventilating, and air-conditioning systems in the wake of any virus outbreak. Key organizations in the world health field like the Center for Disease Control and World Health Organization are continually trying to update the global understanding of how exactly the COVID-19 virus is transported from person to person. ASHRAE has released proactive guidance to address the COVID-19 outbreak from a facility management perspective, and it is important for facility managers across the country to be in tune with the messaging.

ASHRAE COVID-19 Preparedness

ASHRAE has recognized that healthy buildings are part of the solution to maintain safe and healthy internal environments for building occupants. ASHRAE published official COVID-19 Preparedness Resources which serve as guidance to building owners, operators, and engineers on best measures and plans for protecting occupants.

As an airborne infectious disease, COVID-19 poses a potential risk to HVAC facility equipment. While little is known for sure about the virus and its ability to travel via HVAC systems,  Facility managers need to vary the approaches they take for each different type of facility that they manage. Additionally, it may become a necessity to clean the entire system to mitigate any risk and to provide comfort to employees, guests, and visitors. Currently, health care facilities have criteria for ventilation design and operation in place to mitigate airborne transmission of infectious diseases. In health care facilities, ASHRAE measures and local airborne transmission prevention policies aim to reduce transmission by both direct and indirect contact between employees and facility infrastructure. However, outside of critical areas like operating rooms, or infectious disease areas, little is known.

Emergency Planning

For other types of facilities that may not be specifically designed for infectious airborne disease control, active measures can still be taken to strengthen HVAC equipment’s ability to maintain the safety of the internal environment and air quality. One of the best measures to prepare for the COVID-19 outbreak is to develop and enact emergency planning procedures that increase the resiliency of facilities.

Engineers and facility managers can significantly support the capacity and efforts of emergency planning by understanding the design, operations, and maintenance adequacy of buildings for which they are responsible. An understanding of the capabilities and shortfalls of the building systems is key in determining which areas to target in an emergency preparedness plan. A building management system may have the means to increase dilution ventilation, increase relative humidity, or quickly clean and sanitize and disinfect components (coils, plenums, condensate systems, ductwork, etc) in order to respond to a crisis or outbreak.[1]

In the case of an infection occurring in an enclosed space or area, it is critical for facility managers to act quickly and apply the emergency plans set in place to deal with the situation. In the case of an airborne respiratory infection such as COVID-19, there are four quick steps that ASHRAE has identified that facility managers can take to quickly address the situation.

Step 1: Supply clean air to other susceptible occupants in the facility. Susceptible occupants may be anyone in the immediate area or the same room as the infected person.

Step 2: Containing the contaminated air as best as possible and exhausting it to the outdoors. It is important that air from a space with a potential infection is not recycled throughout the rest of the facility.

Step 3: Diluting the air in a space with clean air from outdoors and by filtering any recirculated air.

Step 4: Cleaning and sanitizing the equipment, surfaces, and shared spaces within a room that was susceptible to a COVID-19 outbreak. During these times it is also important to clean and disinfect evaporator and air handler coils.

Proper ventilation ultimately is the best method that facility managers can take to protect the workers and personnel inside the buildings that they manage. Ventilation systems should be thoroughly checked to ensure that components are properly cleaned and that the right filtration units are in place to clean the airflow. During emergency maintenance consideration of using Merv Rate Filters 13 and above may be worth looking into.

Cleaning and Maintenance

The COVID-19 virus outbreak is an undeniable reason for facility managers to analyze, practice, and supplement the cleaning and maintenance plans of their facilities. Many industrial and commercial facilities are full of germs naturally, and standard maintenance plans should meet regular thresholds for cleanliness and regularity each time they are exercised.

Global pandemics like the COVID-19 virus outbreak present unique situations when facility managers need to double down on their maintenance and cleaning plans. Though the nature of transmission of the COVID-19 virus is still under study, there has already been a proven occurrence of community spreading of the virus. Community spreading means that people are often infected in the midst of their everyday lives and activities because they were in areas where another person was infected by the virus.

No matter what type of facility that you manage, Goodway has products, advice, and proven maintenance strategies that can ensure your building is in the best position to help prevent the spread of illness.

[1] https://www.ashrae.org/File%20Library/About/Position%20Documents/Airborne-Infectious-Diseases.pdf

Steam: Natures Disinfectant

We’ve discussed the power of steam frequently on our blog. Many segments of the market around the world have embraced steam cleaning and sanitation for it’s immediate, and powerful cleaning performance.

In this post, we’ll discuss some of the science behind steam, how high heat, when used properly it can reduce bacteria and viruses inactive in seconds.  Dry vapor steam cleaning is an economical, eco-friendly, and effective form of cleaning, and we’re finding that these cleaners are particularly useful to the healthcare, hospitality, and facility management markets.

Read full blog post »

Keeping Your University Safe From COVID-19

Preventing the Spread

University health and administration officials have a responsibility to their students, faculty, and staff to prepare and protect them against the COVID-19 outbreak in the United States. One of the most important steps that a University can take amidst the COVID-19 outbreak or any future outbreaks, is to prepare both formal University policies and practices as well as prepare the University population. Preparation builds resiliency in the wake of the COVID-19 outbreak and is the best prevention method for preventing the spread of the virus amongst students, staff, and faculty.

The COVID-19 virus, formerly identified as 2019-nCoV, was identified as a novel coronavirus not previously seen by public health officials. Despite the commonality of coronaviruses throughout the world and its tendency to cause mild to moderate illness, the World Health Organization has declared the outbreak of COVID-19 as a public health emergency and international concern.[1]

How does the virus spread?

The Covid-19 virus is spread primarily from person-to-person and travels through respiratory droplets that are produced from the mouth or nose when a person coughs or sneezes. The dwell time of these infected respiratory molecules is short, but when they reach the mouth, nose, or eyes of another person they commonly transmit the virus.

Not all viruses spread as quickly as easily as others, for example, the Measles is a virus that spreads extremely easily. The virus that causes COVID-19 is currently able to spread easily and consistently throughout the community, in a spreading method called community spread. Community spread means that people are often infected by the virus seemingly just because they are in an area where another person is infected by the virus.[2]

Community spread often results in people getting infected by the virus without being completely sure how or why they were infected. The ability of the COVID-19 virus to spread through community spread makes the virus a significant risk to people when they are carrying on about their everyday lives and moving between different crowded areas and groups. Universities are particularly at risk of community spread due to the classroom and lecture hall nature of the community of students and faculty.

Who to pay attention to?

The Integrating the Healthcare Enterprise International (IHE) is a global health care initiative lead by healthcare professionals and provides guidance on improving the information sharing of healthcare systems.

IHE, working together with local health departments, has an important role in slowing the spread of diseases like the COVID-19 virus. IHE’s efforts will help ensure students, staff, and faculty have safe and healthy environments in which to learn and work. These efforts and communications from IHE are important for University Health and Administration officials to reference and pay attention to when deciding how to react to a global health crisis like the COVID-19 outbreak.

Plan and Prepare: Take steps now to help stop or slow the spread of respiratory infectious diseases, including COVID-19

As the COVID-19 outbreak spreads across the United States, it is important for Universities to plan, prepare, and take preventative action now to reduce the potential for spread across the community.

The following are five steps that a University can take now to both prepare their community for the outbreak and even to slow or stop its spreading.

  • Step 1: Review, update and implement emergency operations plans (EOPs). Emergency operations plans are the standardized fallbacks and drills that Universities plan to enact in the occurrence of significant risk to the University or its personnel. These emergency operations plans can be either a strict policy or a flexible emergency template for a University to use to react. Ether way, EOPs are an essential, emergency fall back that should be verified and even enacted in the face of growing COVID-19 virus risk
  • Step 2: Monitor and plan for the absenteeism of staff and students. Infected personnel showing up at work or class is the quickest and most likely way for the COVID-19 virus to spread amongst a population. Universities need to both monitor and prepare plans of action for personnel who exhibit any flu-like symptoms at a minimum self-quarantine. Be prepared to evacuate the staff and students. Set up previsions for online learning.
  • Step 3: Establish procedures for students, staff, and faculty who are sick (with any illness) on campus. Procedures for students and staff will be different, and essential personnel should be identified, but in the case of any person experiencing flu-like symptoms, there needs to be a method to get them into self-isolation or quarantine.
  • Step 4: Perform routine environmental cleaning. Environmental cleaning measures should already be in place at the university and in response to the COVID-19 outbreak, it may be necessary to increase the frequency and intensity of the maintenance and cleaning plan.
  • Step 5: Create plans to communicate accurate and timely information to the IHE community. Information and the honest reporting of health statistics is the key to fighting the spreading of the virus and to keeping experts informed. University health officials should reach out to organizations like the IHE and establish a line of communication before the COVID-19 outbreak reach their communities.

 

[1] https://www.ecolab.com/pages/coronavirus

[2] https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/about/transmission.html

Coronavirus’s Impacts In Your Health Care Facility: What You Need to Know

What is the Coronavirus?

The CDC has been responding to an outbreak of a virus known through the media as the coronavirus. Coronaviruses are a family of respiratory viruses that act similarly and cause those infected to exhibit similar systems. The specific virus that has triggered the World Health Organization to declare an outbreak and international public health emergency is “coronavirus disease 2019,” abbreviated COVID-19, which was first detected in China.[1]

FOR COMPLETE AND UPDATED INFORMATION ON COVID-19 PLEASE REFER TO THE CDC WEBSITE HERE.

The symptoms and severity of COVID-19 are still under study by the CDC, as there have been cases ranging in severity reported. The severities in illness for infected people range from very mild to severe flu-like symptoms, with some cases resulting in death. The most susceptible people death from the COVID-19 virus seems to be older people and people of all ages with severe underlying and pre-conditions such as heart disease, lung disease, and diabetes, which make them more vulnerable to the effect of the virus.[2]

How is it similar to other viruses?

The SARS-Cov-2 virus, which is the formal name for the COVID-19 virus, is a beta coronavirus. This means that the virus is similar to makeup as the Middle East Respiratory Syndrome, known as MERS and with the scientific name MERS-COV and the Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome from 2003-04 known as SARS.[3]

What disinfectants are effective against COVID-19?

Generic washroom soap and water is currently the most effective for limiting the spread of Coronavirus, and the Center for Disease Control (CDC) recommended method for preventing the spread of any pathogens, specifically the COVID-19 virus. In any case, personnel who practice recommended and regular basic hygiene measures such as washing their hands frequently with soap and water for at a minimum twenty seconds and using hand sanitizer after coming into contact with another human are minimizing their risk at contracting the virus. Alcohol-based hand sanitizers should only be used in the case when soap and water are not available.

Some common disinfectants that are effective in sanitizing equipment and objects from the COVID-19 virus include A-456 II Disinfectant Cleaner, Neutral Disinfectant Cleaner, Oxycide Daily Disinfectant Cleaner, Quaternary Disinfectant Cleaner, TB Disinfectant Cleaner RTU, and Virasept cleaner.[4]

How has the COVID-19 virus impacted healthcare?

Healthcare facilities across the country will likely be the local concentration point for both COVID-19 infected people to travel for care and where future infections could occur. Because of the critical role that healthcare facilities will play in treating and preventing the spread of the COVID-19 virus, it is important that all healthcare facilities take important steps now to prepare for the outbreak.

Three steps to take to be prepared

In order to be prepared, administration officials at healthcare facilities need to remain informed about the local and regional COVID-19 situation. The COVID-19 has demonstrated its ability to travel through community spreading, meaning that the virus’s approach will not be obvious, but once a nearby area sees infections, it is even more likely for the virus to spread to neighboring areas.

Step One: The very first step healthcare officials should take is to be prepared. The CDC has set up a COVID-19 website to inform the public on the status of the virus and this is an excellent place for healthcare officials to turn first for information and preparation guides.

Step Two: Establish local lines of communication and communication plans to help stop the spread of the virus. It is important for officials to establish relationships with key healthcare and public health partners throughout their community and neighboring communities. From these relationships, healthcare facilities can create an emergency contact list and emergency communication plan to enact should there be an infection within one of their facilities.

Step Three: Take strong measures to protect the workers and patients at the facility. Developing and reviewing facility emergency plans is a key preparation that all healthcare facilities need to exercise before the virus reaches their area. Once an infection is found at a facility, staff need to know the plan to act quickly to contain the virus from spreading across the organization. Healthcare facilities should also responsibly stock up and utilize basic health equipment such as masks, hand sanitizers, and gloves to ensure that they always have the basic equipment to protect their staff.

How can Goodway help?

Goodway offers a variety of sanitation materials to healthcare facilities for years, including surface sanitation solutions, and dry steam cleaners.  Contact us today to discuss your specific cleaning and sanitation needs.

 

[1] https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-nCoV/summary.html

[2] https://www.ecolab.com/pages/coronavirus

[3] https://www.ecolab.com/pages/coronavirus

[4] https://www.ecolab.com/articles/2020/01/a-novel-coronavirus

 

Next Steps:

 

 

Innovations In Sanitation: Meat And Poultry

Good sanitation practices are a crucial component of Good Manufacturing Practices (GMP). A commitment to sanitation at all levels of the meat and poultry industry is critical to prevent the spread of foodborne illnesses from infecting food processes and causing significant economic losses. Every year the food safety programs at numerous plants and facilities fail at sanitation and spread infected food across the country, requiring expensive recalls. The Center for Disease Control states that there are over forty-eight million cases of foodborne illnesses that occur in the United States every year. At some level in each of these cases, food sanitation equipment and practices failed and put the health of citizens in jeopardy.

Innovation in the area of cleaning and sanitation in the meat and poultry market has been slow. The use of hot water, wet steam, and foaming cleaners and sanitizers have been the status quo for years. And while these products work well to clean wet environments, technological improvements in the packaging, slicing, and other machines have created new areas where “dry” cleaning techniques would be better suited, as well as more portable cleaning solutions.

Steam has been used widely in the meat and poultry market for years. This steam, however, has predominantly been “wet” steam and can include a considerable amount of water by volume. Applications have generally included cleaning and sanitation, and more impactful cleaning like “tenting” of slicers and large equipment. However, due to the “wetness” of the steam, it is not ideal for use where sensitive equipment is susceptible to water damage.

One of Goodway’s most popular dry steam products is the GVC-18000 Heavy-Duty Dry Steam Cleaner. It is one of the most powerful dry steam cleaners in its class utilizing dry steam (about 5% moisture level) to remove difficult grime and grease build up as well as sanitize equipment, eliminating harmful bacteria and microorganisms. Contamination in the meat and poultry industry poses a constant risk to food manufacturers.

One of Goodway’s upcoming products for food equipment sanitation is the Sanitation Chamber. The chamber provides a simple and effective method to sanitize the equipment and tools utilized during food processing in a modular and easy to use design. This chamber pairs excellently with the other sanitation tools and methods that Goodway offers, such as its GVC-18000 model of steam cleaning equipment. Small parts and tools that are placed inside the chamber are sanitized using the high-temperature steam, quickly reaching and maintaining temperatures to remove pathogens.  This process offers one of the first and most effective methods to efficiently sanitize small parts and equipment that would otherwise take intensive amounts of effort and time.

Sanitation practices are essential to successful plant operation. They support safe food production practices that protect consumers and ensure plant production and profits. Goodway provides numerous products that increase the effectiveness and ease of cleaning and sanitation practices.

Next Steps

Check out more information on these products at https://www.goodway.com/industries/food-beverage-processing or contact us today.

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