To safeguard workers and deter legal issues, BSCs demand transparency from their staff as well as their clients.

Bryco Facility Services’ COVID-19 policy includes provisions for clients to notify the contractor immediately should an exposure or potential exposure occur. Likewise, BSCs are obliged to notify their clients should a custodian test positive for the virus.

Open and honest communication with clients is essential to reduce the chances of litigation. Additionally, BSCs should adhere to CDC guidelines and equip employees with step-by-step procedures to follow should they become infected.

While Diamond’s primary concern is his employees’ health, he also grapples with liability issues brought to light by the pandemic.

“In some states, if essential workers got sick during the time the state was on lockdown, they could submit a workers compensation claim,” says Diamond. “That’s an unfair liability risk on our insurance, because if that person has more than one job, how do I know where they got sick?”

Furthermore, Diamond says the absence of liability protection for contract cleaners could leave them vulnerable to lawsuits.

“If we sanitize for a customer and someone gets sick, the customer could claim that we didn’t sanitize well enough and sue us,” he says. “If I make $200 on the job, but risk getting sued for $100,000, is it worth it?”

To mitigate these risks, Diamond advises contractors to engage vendor resources, train employees and stock up on PPE.

“Be diligent about contract tracing and communicate transparently with your workers and your clients,” he says.

Selling Safety

Complying with COVID-19 regulations can be taxing, but BSCs can use this as an opportunity to market their expertise to existing and potential customers.

“We’re promoting the fact that we have 50 to 70 people trained in biorisk and COVID-19 disinfection,” says Diamond. “So take your third-party certifications and training programs and share that with your potential clients.”

For Merrihew, servicing customers during the pandemic is about selling peace of mind.

“Building owners have enough going on without having to worry about whether or not their file cabinet handles are being cleaned the correct number of times to satisfy reopening plans,” he says. “By marketing our expertise and offering a reopening package, we take that burden off them.”

Engaging in community service is yet another way for BSCs to showcase their expertise and educate customers about how they can keep themselves safe during the pandemic.

“A couple of times we donated gloves, masks and sanitizer to the local police station and other charities,” says Lazorik. “It’s important for people to know that you’re active in the community and you’re making a difference.”

Lazorik encourages BSCs to use their website as well as social media to promote their business and get the word out about what they’re doing to help others. During quarantine, for example, he and the director of business development took advantage of downtime to create educational videos about topics such as dwell time and interpreting chemical labels.

“You have to promote your business,” says Lazork. “In this industry, if you don’t brag about yourself, nobody will.”

Kassandra Kania is a freelancer based in Charlotte, North Carolina. She is a frequent contributor to Contracting Profits.

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Protecting BSCs From Liability Claims