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DECONTAMINATING COMMERCIAL BUILDINGS AFTER A COVID-19 OUTBREAK. WHAT ISSUES NEED TO BE CONSIDERED?

How can you decontaminate COVID-19 when an outbreak occurs in a commercial building?  How can you decontaminate for a new virus we know so little about? Until further information is produced, the CDC has directed cruise ships, hospitals, schools, and businesses to rely on interim guidance for disinfection based on the past successful decontamination techniques used for previous strains of coronavirus.  It would be best to consider worst case scenarios and use the best-known decontamination practices, equipment, and personal protective equipment. Cutting corners could be risking infection.

Some of the questions to ask with any virus decontamination project are:

  • What areas where infected people in?
  • Who have they come in contact with, and what areas do those people occupy?
  • What type of HVAC system is in the building?
  • What is the design of the ductwork?
  • What are the high traffic areas in the building?
  • What are the main areas of ingress and egress?
  • How quickly does the building need to be operational?

Bringing in the proper industry experts would be advised.  These experts should include an engineer who is familiar with the construction of the building including the HVAC system, an HVAC company that follows the National Air Duct Association Standards (NADCA) and is familiar with decontaminating ductwork, an industrial Hygienist who is specialized in virus and bacteria decontamination to write the overall protocol and provide testing services, and a decontamination company that has experience with proper personal protective equipment (PPE) use and proper training including OSHA Disaster Site Worker and HAZWOPER 40 certificates.  HAZWOPER training is a requirement for all workers completing the decontamination.2 These companies should also be familiar working with multiple materially interested parties on commercial projects to facilitate efficient communication.

The method of cleaning, decontamination process, personal protection equipment, and other items will vary based on guidance from the CDC and the protocol developed by the Industrial Hygienist.  However, the moving parts of the project should be generally completed in this order:

  • Secure the property and set Hot, Warm, and Cold contamination zones
  • Turn off HVAC system and seal the ducting
  • Set equipment to control the ambient conditions
  • Thorough cleaning of the contaminated areas
  • Disinfecting of the contaminated areas
  • Cleaning of the HVAC and duct system
  • Testing of areas as they area cleared

What To Do

Because COVID-19 is so new, researchers and the government do not have all the facts and are relying on past figures to determine how to manage COVID-19.  However, based on historical coronaviruses with similar characteristics and following the interim guidance provided by the CDC, we can make educated decisions and there is no reason to panic. By treating COVID-19 with slightly more caution than the flu, practicing good hygiene by washing hands frequently, and staying home if you are sick, you can help prevent infection.

If you have an outbreak at your business, don’t treat it lightly and call the right people with the right training and certifications to help with decontamination. Hiring a company that is not osha HAZWOPER certified could actually increase risk if someone becomes ill.  Should you attempt virus decontamination and disinfection on your own, make sure to use the right disinfectants and allow enough dwell time. This strain could live for extended periods of time on surfaces, so clean and disinfect frequently touched areas such as doorknobs daily.

Working with a professional team like ECG ensures proper disinfection & decontamination with professional-grade products & certified technicians & supervisors that have taken & passed certified courses based on the World Health Organization (WHO), Center for Disease Control (CDC), Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) & the Occupational Safety & Health Administration (OSHA) regulations & guidance documents.

Make sure you are operating in a completely disinfected building and in a safe environment, do not let your staff be in risk of getting any kind of sickness due to viruses or contaminated areas.

Your best call is to hire the experts whenever a project involving professional sterilization and disinfection. We are ECG, We are safety first.

This field definitely needs some expert hands and skill. So, have you decided on what type of project you need? Make sure you research on this for a while before coming up with a decision.

We pride ourselves in providing Demolition, abatement and Environmental Services you can depend on. (Concrete cutting, coring, green demolition, disinfection and sterilization cleaning services, asbestos abatement and more)

Contact us to get started on your next project, Call us: 562-438-7999.