Disinfecting local government facilities to combat COVID-19
Local governments are working to keep citizens and employees safe from the COVID-19 pandemic through effective and widespread disinfection. It’s a big job. Cities, counties and other local governments own a total of 558,000 buildings, which is almost 10 percent of the nation’s 5.6 million commercial-nonresidential structures, says the latest “Commercial Buildings Energy Consumption Survey” (CBECS) from the U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA). This posting has more information on the CBECS survey and number of local government buildings.
Governments will continue to be major purchasers of cleaning and disinfecting chemicals, says Cleveland-based market researcher The Freedonia Group. Annual value of government purchases of these chemicals will rise from $335 million in 2017 to $390 million in 2022, says Freedonia report #3646. The compound annual growth rate for government purchases of these chemicals from 2017 to 2022 will reach 3.1 percent, according to Freedonia estimates.
Freedonia forecasters also predict steady sales growth for disinfecting wipes to government. Value of purchases of wipes used in government, commercial and institutional settings is projected to increase 2.3 percent per year to $178 million in 2023. One reason governments will be buying more wipes, according to Freedonia analysts: Continued concern over the threat of bioterrorism in government settings, which will encourage the use of disinfectant wipes. The data is from Freedonia market report #3722.
Stage 1: Think
Stage 2: Plan
Stage 3: Verify
Facility directors need to think and focus on measures to safeguard occupants from the virus so they can safely reoccupy a building that’s been vacant for a short term, McCrady says. He adds that it is important that directors develop an actions checklist that covers virus prevention through disinfection, implementing new defense systems against germs and other activities that often are addressed through ongoing building maintenance.
In the planning stage, facility managers rely on their actions checklist to help them get the building and its occupants prepared for re-entry. In this stage, managers need to determine if new or additional rules are warranted for building operations or cleaning procedures.
In the verify stage, McCrady says managers will locate and access yardsticks that measure cleaning effectiveness, virus tracking and suppression. The verification tools will also enable discovery and mitigation of unintended consequences.
It’s crucial in the reopening process that custodians and janitors get up-to-date instruction on disinfecting and cleaning processes, McCrady explains. Facility directors, he adds, should consult training resources and blood-borne pathogen training guidelines from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OHSA). If facility cleaning is contracted out, contractors should be briefed on proper cleansing techniques and procedures, McCrady says.
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