Facility managers must keep facilities running—no matter what.
Whether that means removing waste or balancing budgets, organizations depend on the folks behind the scenes to handle important details to keep essential businesses running.
The running question for strategic FMs is always: What is the best way to organize systems, procedures, and processes?
An increasing number of facility managements are now revisiting this topic because of the recent coronavirus conversation. Schools, governments, nonprofits, and private companies are relying on facility management services to carry out new CDC safety and sanitation guidelines and OSHA Guidance on Preparing Workplaces for COVID-19
In this article, we’ll summarize those cleaning recommendations. We’ll also provide tips on how to improve operational efficiency to keep your buildings safe, sanitized and running.
Facility Management: 4 Tips for Implementing New COVID-19 Sanitation Guidelines
1. Stock up on approved supplies
While most people use the terms interchangeably, they should not be confused for the same thing.
- Cleaning is defined as the removal of dirt and impurities, including germs, from surfaces. Cleaning alone does not kill germs, but it decreases their number and therefore any risk of spreading infection.
- Disinfecting is defined as the process of using chemicals to kill germs on surfaces. This process does not necessarily clean dirty surfaces or remove germs. But killing germs remaining on a surface after cleaning further reduces any risk of spreading infection.
Janitorial staff should wipe visibility dirty surfaces before spraying and wiping them with disinfectant. The most effective cleaning products are diluted household bleach, cleaning liquids containing at least 70 percent alcohol or EPA-registered household disinfectants.
2. Use expert-approved disinfectants:
The CDC recommends using one of three disinfectant solutions:
- Diluted Bleach Mixture: 5 tablespoons (1/3rd cup) bleach per gallon of water or 4 teaspoons bleach per quart of water
- Alcohol Solutions: Must contain at least 70 percent alcohol.
- EPA-Registered Disinfectants: Click here for a list.
- Products containing Sodium hypochlorite, Isopropanol and Ethanol are said to be the most effective.
**Tips for bleach activations: Follow manufacturer’s instructions for application and proper ventilation. Check to ensure the product is not past its expiration date. Never mix household bleach with ammonia or any other cleanser.
Beyond increasing your inventory of disinfectant cleaners, management teams are also advised to stock plenty of alcohol-based hand sanitizers, latex gloves, and respiratory masks. Cleaning staff members should be provided with safety guidelines on how to protect themselves from both chemicals and germs.
3. Enhance work order systems
The International Facilities Management Association (IFMA), describes facility management as an interdisciplinary practice that “considers the coordination of people, place, process, and technology.”
Unsurprisingly, large organizations require substantial organization, leadership, and communication to run smoothly. With so many tasks to be completed—plumbing, security, pest control, cleaning, grounds maintenance work—orders may sometimes fall through the cracks.
Obviously, putting off landscaping needs during this time won’t significantly upset anyone. However, skipping CDC cleaning guidelines should not be tolerated. FMs who don’t already have foolproof work order management systems in place might want to evaluate digital solutions for compliance reasons.
MaintainX helps facilities create sanitation procedures, track work history and maintain foolproof accountability with digital audit trails. The smartphone app allows managers to instantly assign, assess and modify work orders wherever they are (within seconds):
Additionally, MaintainX includes integrated chat functionality that allows team members to maintain 2-way communication when troubleshooting. Communication threads can be organized by individuals, groups, or departments. Further, contacts can be quickly uploaded via your smartphone’s existing Contact Directory.
4. Update existing facility management sanitation guidelines
Next, FMs must update existing cleaning guidelines with new procedures for disinfection, safety, and crisis management. The International Facility Management Association (IFMA) endorses Solid as a “deep clean provider” for facilities seeking sanitation assistance.
Obviously, the contents of your cleaning guidelines will vary depending on your unique organization and local government ordinances. But here are some questions to get you started:
Questions to answer when creating sanitation procedures:
- What types of cleaners must be used?
- Which surfaces and items should be disinfected?
- How often should we wipe things down and when?
- What safety rules should we put in place for workers?
- How will we remind workers of the new guidelines?
- How can we improve indoor air quality?
- What is our communication plan moving forward?
Unfortunately, facility managers sometimes struggle with compliance for a variety of reasons. For this reason, it’s important FMs both a). Explain “the why” behind the new work orders and b). Implement a documented system of accountability for team members.
4. Review and reinforce best hygiene practices
Hold meetings with workers to review best practices for personal hygiene. You may also want to place illustrative posters in common areas that remind everyone of your new expectations, like:
When to Sanitize Hands
- After blowing one’s nose, coughing or sneezing.
- After using the restroom.
- Before eating or preparing food.
Other Sanitation Tips
- Avoid touching eyes, nose or mouth with unwashed hands.
- Cover coughs with the inside of elbows.
- Use hand sanitizer with a minimum of 70% alcohol
- Wash hands for 30 seconds with warm, soapy water.
- Maintain social distancing when recommended.
For more ideas on how to enhance team sanitation and compliance, visit:
Streamline sanitation with MaintainX
If you think MaintainX could help your organization streamline operations, we’re here to help. Our mobile-first app simplifies internal communication, reduces work order development time and increases accountability with digital audit trails. Click here to download the app for free.