Indoor Science has been one of the most active industrial hygiene consulting firms helping businesses see their way through the impact of COVID-19. Through August, we have worked on over 200 coronavirus projects helping businesses with one of the following; establishing & auditing back-to-work procedures, performing ventilation studies, developing cleaning and disinfection protocols, testing for SARS-CoV-2 or surrogates on surfaces, and training & monitoring cleaning staff.
Back to Work Procedures
Indoor Science has helped companies develop back-to-work procedures to ensure that workers have a safe environment in which to work. Indoor Science can develop procedures from scratch or audit the procedures you have already developed. We recommend having one of our Certified Industrial Hygienists (CIHs) that is trained and experienced in recognizing, evaluating, and controlling contaminants evaluate your plans. Our back to work procedures include sections on the following: Screening, Masks and PPE, Social Distancing, Personal Hygiene, Facility Hygiene, Work Practices, Air Exchanges, Response Plan, and Training. Contact Indoor Science to get started.
Of all the precautions that buildings must follow, perhaps the most complex is ensuring that it is properly ventilated. Modern HVAC systems can dramatically reduce the amount of outdoor air ventilation they provide in order to save energy. These cost-cutting measures can have a negative effect on the transmission of COVID-19. For example, many buildings use economizers and VAV boxes which can reduce ventilation under certain outdoor conditions. Have a professional engineer from Indoor Science evaluate your building’s ventilation system and determine if it meets local building codes or standards from ASHRAE. We can perform tracer gas concentration decay studies and help you come up with a strategy to maintain a good number of air exchanges in the building. You can learn more about our studies in this blog post: Am I getting enough ventilation?
Coronavirus Cleaning and Disinfection Protocols
Indoor Science has developed a comprehensive COVID-19 cleaning and disinfection protocol. This protocol is customized for various clients based on the availability of personal protective equipment (PPE) and registered disinfectants. The protocol is based on the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) guidelines, but their guidance does not provide many details. Our protocol pulls from other cognizant authorities to have a protocol that can be practical for workers to follow. The protocol has the following sections: References, Definitions, Cleaning Products, Disinfection Products, Site Preparation, Training, PPE, Donning and Doffing Procedures, Cleaning Procedures, Disinfection Procedures, Disposal and Decontamination Procedures, and Assessor Post-Cleaning Test. Contact Indoor Science if you would like for us to customize our protocol for your company. If you already have developed coronavirus protocols, Indoor Science can be hired to review your procedures and provide important feedback.
For some clients, disinfecting a building and establishing a back-to-work plan is not enough. They are looking to validate that their procedures have resulted in a properly cleaned environment. Developing written plans is quality assurance (QA), but some buildings are also looking for quality control (QC) by evaluating the surfaces that have been cleaned. Coronavirus testing to verify that a facility has been properly cleaned and disinfected can be done one of three ways.
We can detect the SARS-CoV-2 virus directly by swabbing surfaces and having them analyzed by RT-PCR, a genetic test that detects the presence of the novel coronavirus. The turnaround time for this method is a minimum of 2 days and it cannot distinguish between viable SARS-CoV-2, which can cause COVID-19, and non-viable virus which cannot.
The second method of verifying surface cleanliness is using adenosine triphosphate (ATP) swabs. This test does not directly detect the presence of SARS-CoV-2 on a surface, but ATP testing can be performed to assess the general effectiveness of cleaning efforts. ATP is found in the cells of all living organisms but is not found in viruses. However, a COVID-19 infected individual will not only cough out coronavirus; he or she will also cough out human cells and bacterial cells, which can be detected by this method. The advantage of this method is that it provides near-immediate results so areas can be quickly re-cleaned that are deemed to not meet industry cleanliness standards.
The final method we use to verify cleanliness is a fluorescent gel. Indoor Science places an invisible gel on high-touch surfaces before the cleaning staff performs their work. Using an ultraviolet light, we then go back to all the areas marked with the gel to determine if the surfaces were properly cleaned. Missed areas will light up with our UV light.
Training & Monitoring Cleaning Staff
Staff that might be familiar with commercial cleaning or restoration contracting may not be familiar with the particular risks present when working with SARS-CoV-2. Indoor Science can help train your staff on the proper personal protective equipment (PPE) needed and how to properly put it on and take it off. We will train your staff about the differences between cleaning, sanitizing, and disinfecting– and ensure that the work is performed in compliance with federal regulations regarding the health and safety of workers. Workers will be encouraged to know that their employer has hired an outside industrial hygienist to go through a 23-point checklist to help ensure their safety.
It is our aim to provide you with science-based, expert-level consulting to ensure that your building is properly cleaned, ventilated, and ready for re-occupancy. To discuss your project with us, please give us a call at 312-920-9393 or send us a message through our Get a Quote page.
We are prepared to work in any type of indoor environment: schools, offices, homes, factories, medical facilities, and more– so call us today if you have any questions.