An infection prevention program does not need to be complicated. It is about picking the right chemicals and tools and writing down and training janitors on what to do on a daily basis. Once BSCs pick their chemicals and know the facility, it is a case of setting up a plan.

For example, during non-flu season months the facility may have high-touch points such as railings, door handles and light switches sanitized each day. Then higher-risk areas such as restrooms can be disinfected at the lowest level allowed daily. This is a protective plan.

This system allows janitors to work with the chemicals daily, do the processes daily and gets them ready when flu season strikes. When it does, communication between the BSC and its client becomes most important. If facility executives can tell their contractors daily what floors, classrooms, cubicle areas, etc. are seeing infectious outbreak symptoms of coughing, sneezing and absences, then janitors can focus on these areas at night to hopefully mitigate the spread of germs and prevent an outbreak.

When a supervisor is told that illness is appearing in a section of the client’s building, they can then increase the level of care given to these areas for a few days to hopefully stop the spread of the pathogen and the illness and symptoms. This can mean that if supervisors know someone has had influenza or Norovirus, they can have their team concentrate on that area at night and switch from sanitizing to disinfecting to kill anything left behind on surfaces. During the day, the day porter can be wiping down railings, elevator buttons, handles and water fountains multiple times throughout the day with a disinfectant to keep the spread of germs at bay.

Starting is the main priority. BSCs shouldn’t wait or an infection outbreak can turn into a nightmare for them and their clients. If BSCs have the opportunity to add this process to the current contract, they should do it. Ask for a meeting and present the case to facility executives on why they should add this service to their facility during cold and flu season and for other infectious outbreaks.

Heidi Wilcox is an applied microbiologist, presenter, educator and trainer in the cleaning industry. She is also the president and founder of Wilcox EVS, a consultancy specializing in “cleaning and disinfecting for health.” She can be reached at Learn more at

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