- How Facility Infection Control Practices Have Shifted
Prioritize Frontline Training, Avoid Hygiene Theater
It can be a challenge for BSCs to communicate the importance of something like IAQ, or even the value of cleaning overall. This is where training and proper client care comes in. Yet all too often, that important knowledge is only passed informally, instead of through an organized training program.
At this stage of the pandemic, distributors stress that training has moved front and center. The audience for instruction has expanded, too.
“Our audience used to just be the custodial supervisor or the facility manager,” says Schneringer. “Now presidents, general managers, and CEOs are asking ‘how do we clean this?’”
While the spotlight — and budget dollars — are on training now, Schneringer warns that the focus on cleaning could eventually end. Still, he emphasizes that training will continue to be important.
“Particularly, training on tools that can turn a 45-minute job into a 20-minute job,” he notes. “We can partner with cleaners on how to get the healthiest, cleanest, greenest, and safest building at a lower cost.”
Tackling Hygiene Theater
Early in the pandemic cleaning teams disinfected seemingly everything in an attempt to squelch the virus. For officials in countries like China, South Korea, France, Spain, and even the United States, that translated into “fleets of trucks, drones, and even robots dousing streets, parks, playgrounds, and other outdoor public spaces with virus-killing chemicals,” as reported in this National Geographic article.
The outcome? Injured or dead wildlife, humans unnecessarily exposed to potentially harmful chemicals and a pandemic that still lingers years later.
“And yet, I had customers ask me at the time if they should hire a drone operator to spray disinfectant,” recalls Schneringer.
While few are clamoring for a drone dump anymore, clients are still demanding plenty of indiscriminate disinfection. Schneringer reports working to convince a customer that disinfecting the light fixtures 10 feet above everybody’s head would be a waste of resources.
Rodriguez reports that one of his larger customers, a warehouse distribution center that employs 50 workers, insisted on disinfecting surfaces all day long.
“I told them it was a waste of money, but they insisted that it is important for them to show their workers they are doing everything they can to keep them happy and healthy while on the job,” he recalls.
The pandemic certainly opened eyes and changed perceptions around cleaning programs, but it also opened the door for scammers. More than one dishonest person started hawking ‘miracle’ products and treatments that sounded too good to be true, because they were.
“People were making stuff in their garage and then trying to sell it as an electrostatic sprayer,” says Rodriguez, calling the operation a “bait and switch. I also spent a lot of time explaining the difference between an electrostatic sprayer and a mister.”
Schneringer also spent time protecting his clients from less-than-legitimate opportunists.
“I would tell customers to ask these people how long they’ve been in the business,” he says. “If they were selling mortgages six months ago or were not being precise about their services or claims, I told them to walk away.”
Whether it’s an updated disinfection procedure, selecting the right products, or streamlining projects through appropriate training, BSCs can make decisions with confidence by tapping into the resources that distributor partners offer.
Amy Milshtein is a freelancer based in Portland, Oregon. She is a frequent contributor to Contracting Profits.
How Facility Infection Control Practices Have Shifted