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Re-Visiting Your Swiss Cheese Disinfection Strategy

Now that much of the population is vaccinated and it seems it’s time to get back to the office, not everyone is comfortable yet. I thought I would re-share with you a simple way to explain the complex steps you’ve taken to keep your facility open and your staff safe. Telling your staff or your bosses what you are doing (and have already done) is an important step you cannot skip over. It will make everyone more comfortable. It’s your opportunity to shine.

If you are familiar with Swiss Cheese you know that it has lots of holes in it. Think about Swiss Cheese in relation to your facility’s disinfecting strategy. If you only had only one layer to it the virus can easily get through however you now have several strategies that layer one on top of the other so it becomes much harder for the virus to find its way in your facility. Your disinfecting strategy is now more like a solid block and the virus cannot easily enter. That’s great news. 

You have already been preparing for screening, negative COVID tests, masks, hand washing, sanitizer and disinfectant. Is this your Swiss Cheese Strategy? Be clear about the steps you’ve already taken so you can commuicate it (and communicate it often).

Here is a re-cap of some basics, which are good to know. The first thing to realize is that clean, sanitize and disinfect don’t mean the same thing. Clean is soap water and scrubbing. With cleaning it is dirt and not germs that go down the drain. Sanitize is using chemicals to reduce germs or bacteria. Disinfecting is using chemicals to kill germs and viruses. These are important distinctions. Disinfecting includes getting rid of viruses like COVID-19, so as per the CDC (Center for Disease Control and Prevention) you need to clean first because sanitizer and disinfectant don’t work on a dirty surface.

All products that are registered for sale in Canada have a DIN number. A DIN number is a drug identification number that has an eight digit code you’ll find them on medications as well as cleaning products. Before staff come back to the one, do another check. Are your disinfecting products approved for use in Canada? You don’t want to spray unregulated chemicals around employees or clients. If you wouldn’t spray that chemical in daycare or around children, don’t spray it around their parents or yourself. 

There are lots of disinfecting products available and making a choice may seem overwhelming at times. It is not worth the liability risk or safety risk to use unregulated chemical products so keep that in mind.

Also, just because a product has a DIN number and is approved for sale in Canada it does not mean it’s approved by Health Canada for use against COVID-19. Health Canada has a website where you can search products by name and DIN number to check if they are approved for use against COVID. The products that Unio Tech Solutions uses for its disinfection services and those we offer for sale, are approved for use against COVID-19.

Using an approved disinfectant is also a valuable marketing strategy. When you tell your staff, clients, bosses that you are using Health Canada approved products, it helps put everyone at ease and shows them that you are doing everything you can to keep your facility a healthy and safe one.

An operational strategy to use once your doors are open is to delegate one person to be responsible for the electrostatic sprayers and disinfecting products at your site. If everyone is in charge, no one is in charge. The electrostatic sprayers are actually fun to use so developing clear procedures for who is authorized to use them, how they get stored and who is responsible for their care and maintenance is a key component to ensuring they last for several seasons or many years. 

Of the all products that you’ll need be sure to include electrostatic sprayers disinfectant, hand sanitizer and a good soap. 

Now I want to explain how an electrostatic sprayer works. You put a Health Canada approved disinfectant inside the reservoir when the sprayer is turned on it uses the power of static electricity to add a charge to the solution as it sprays out in a fine mist. The charged particles attach to all the surfaces they touch. If you recall seeing a magnet attached to metal, it might help you imagine how electrostatic sprayers get disinfectant “stick” to the surface it is sprayed on.

The primary difference between electrostatic sprayers and a spray bottle is the coverage they deliver. With an electrostatic sprayer the chemical it sprays is a very fine mist that coats the object evenly and thoroughly.

Although very little chemical is sprayed, the object is covered in disinfectant. With an electrostatic sprayer, it takes much less time to cover large areas so you will save money on the disinfectant and you’ll save lots of time. One person using our recommended brand of electrostatic sprayer can disinfect an average size room in less than one minute. You will want to disinfect shared spaces such as offices, meeting rooms, dining halls, restrooms, conference rooms, picnic tables, vans and so on.

We often recommend the PAX-100 electrostatic sprayer, which has an 8 hour battery life. It’s cordless and reduces disinfection time by 90%. The PAX-100 sprayer is the one that we use when we provide disinfection services for our commercial clients (usually as part of a tech clean or post office move package).

It is made in Canada and reduces chemical consumption by at least 80% percent. If you buy this unit for your own use, it might have a higher up-front cost but because it uses chemicals and your time effectively, it has a lower operating cost.

You are going to want to disinfect all the high touch points around the facility on a daily basis. When we do a High Touch Point Disinfect for our commercial clients, we make sure to clean and disinfect door handles, light switches, table tops, railings and so on. There are 22 shared surfaces that are almost never cleaned by your cleaning staff. 

If you run a specialty operation like an animation studio or recording studio, your shared equipment should also be treated with a light mist of disinfectant from an electrostatic sprayer. 

Unio Tech Solutions sells and uses a Ready-to-Use disinfectant formula. It is made in Ontario and Food Grade so it is safe on food contact surfaces. It has a neutral pH balance of 7.5 to 8.5 making it suitable for the variety of surfaces you have in your facility and it kills 99% of germs including cold and flu viruses. It is also approved by Health Canada as effective against SARS-CoV-2 the virus that causes the COVID-19 disease. 

Hand sanitizer is also a must as there are often times that regular hand washing is not a practical option. There are many brands of sanitizer and they are widely available. Hand Sanitizer is usually “price shopped” and if you are like buyers, facility managers, materiel managers, you might buy a known brand at the cheapest price you can get. There are a few keys to getting an effective product and not all the products sold meet this minimum but, frankly, “the train has left the station” and the opportunity to change your mind or your boss’ mind about buying better, not cheaper may be over. It is likely a line item in your budget that is closely scrutinized by your CFO or CEO. But, to our clients, the hand sanitizer you buy from us is 70% Ethyl Alcohol with aloe vera to prevent dryness & 90% Ethyl Alcohol for medical centres or first aid kits. Like our other products, they are made in Canada, Health Canada approved for use against COVID and meet or exceed product effectiveness standards.

Hope this helps you realize you’ve got this under control and if you need any help from us, just reach out.

[email protected]  416-477-4677

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