Businesses cleaning up their act to fight invisible enemy

Author: Orbis Protect business development director Louis Fordham

With the number of coronavirus cases rising, businesses are more conscious than ever of the need to protect themselves against this invisible enemy.

Scientists estimate that coronavirus can survive on surfaces for as long as nine days, and so it’s heartening that organisations across the public and private sectors are taking action.

They know they have a responsibility to their staff, their customers and their patients to attack Covid-19 and that explains why there’s been a surge in demand for deep-cleaning services.

But as well as safeguarding people we know it will also be good for the long-term health of organisations.

We’ve responded to a huge rise in demand for deep-cleaning services over the last few weeks – supporting services ranging from banks to care facilities and from building sites to sole traders.

We’ve been inundated with calls – the team has been hard at it from 6.30am every morning to keep up.

People are doing their bit to make the world safe again and in turn we’re doing everything we can to assist on the frontline at this challenging time through decontamination.

There’s certainly a lot of nervousness around which is why we’ve even had a request to clean a lift at a block of flats after the police arrested a man who claimed he’d got the highly contagious bug.

Decontamination sounds daunting if not scary and the sight of staff in full-length protective suits, complete with goggles and special footwear probably won’t ease nerves.

But it should give peace of mind because when they’re done they will have eliminated 99.99% per cent of all bugs and viruses going – the only thing they won’t remove are the crumbs nestling in computer keyboards.

That’s some going because if you were to wipe a normal desk structure, there’d be something like three billion microorganisms lurking.

But our special technique effectively gets rid of everything, with the list led by coronavirus but also including other viruses such as norovirus, and SARS and bacteria like salmonella, and E. coli.

It might sound too good to be true, but it isn’t. It’s down to a vaporization process we know as ‘fogging’.

The way it works is that a solution is poured into what we call a fogging dispenser, which then turns particles into a very fine mist.

It’s sprayed around with a gun then goes hunting for the bacteria and it smothers it to death.

And it gets everywhere – behind light switches, skirting boards, all your nooks and crannies.

Then everyone has the re-assurance that their place of work, or leisure, or transport has been sanitised.

Once you’ve got everyone out of the way, it’s a pretty straightforward process – it can take just ten minutes after the process is complete before it’s safe.

An hour for a two-bedroom hole weekend to complete

And say we’re talking a bank, key public facility or factory; it can be carried out overnight, therefore maintaining productivity.

In the past we’ve been called into help even the toughest of sports people in the shape of the rugby league players at a top Super League club where we fogged their changing room area.

One of English football’s best-known clubs also brought us in to do the same to make sure their facilities got a clean bill of health.

And we’ve done our bit to help the fittest people around when we got a call to decontaminate a behind-the-scenes area Emirates indoor athletics stadium for the track and field stars in Glasgow.

Going further back, when we were new to fogging, in 2009 we got the call to clean the Marco Polo cruise ship Liverpool after a norovirus outbreak.

While it won’t keep everything spotless for long, ‘fogging’ does at least provide a fresh start and in the current climate that’s what we’re all looking forward to.

But it will put minds at rest – people are more likely to go back to work rather than stay in house once they know their workplace or mode of transport is free of coronavirus.

Looking ahead, from what I can tell, hygiene in communal areas will be a bigger priority than ever from here on in. The world cannot close like this again.

I don’t doubt there will be legislation to ensure that hygiene is more rigorous – with monitoring right up there with safety standards on gas, carbon monoxide, fire safety, MoTs.

That’s for the future. For now, above all, it’s essential that we continue to follow the government’s guidance and do everything we can to ensure that staff and customers stay well.

Relevant Article: Businesses clean up to fight invisible enemy