Cleaning & Disinfecting Protocols for Facility Managers Amidst COVID-19 Concerns

Published April 18, 2020

Two facility managers in hard hats

Cleaning and disinfecting a facility in this time of COVID-19 is a challenge none of us thought we’d have to face. That being said, Facility Managers are uniquely prepared to keep employees safe and healthy, due to their extensive all-hazards planning. Whether they are working for currently operating essential businesses, or are helping decommission and recommission buildings, facility managers across the country are taking their responsibility to keep employees, on-site contractors and visitors safe and healthy very seriously. In an effort to support them in this role, we at Signature Facilities have developed the following cleaning and disinfecting protocols that follow current CDC guidelines at the time of this publication. **

As always, we have staff and materials available to assist your facility management teams in meeting the recommended protocols outlined below. We are prepared to move quickly to address any new threats that may arise.

** Please note that we are consistently monitoring the CDC’s recommendations and modifying our protocols accordingly.

Daily/Weekly Cleaning and Sanitization Protocols

Facilities teams should consider increasing the daily cleaning activities if they have not already done so, to reflect these general guidelines.

AC overhead vent
  • Cleaning of touch points throughout the facility twice per 24 hour cycle for occupied buildings, and once per 24 hour cycle for partially shut down facilities where minimal customer traffic remains.

  • Rotate use of cleaning products used for disinfecting at least once per month, alternating the use of two separate CDC approved, hospital grade disinfectants.

  • Vacuum carpets using only HEPA filtered vacuum equipment once per 24 hour cycle for occupied facilities, and weekly for facilities having minimal traffic or that are partially shut down.

  • Increase vacuuming of ceiling vents to twice a month using only HEPA filtered vacuums.

Cleaning for Unverified or Indirect Exposure:

cleaning protocols helps slow the spread of COVID-19
  • Following CDC guidelines, restrict all access to the facility by customers and employees.

  • If practical, open doors and or windows where possible and increase ventilation air flow.

  • Restrict ALL access to the facility for a minimum of 24 hours but as much as 48-72 hours depending on the level of contact, secondary exposure and practicality for your business.

  • Perform a detailed cleaning and sanitization of all exposed horizontal surfaces and touch points such as light switches, walls, glass, door handles and frames.

  • Vacuum all ventilation grills and wipe down with disinfectant.

  • Optional: Extract carpets with approved cleaner disinfectant depending on the nature of the indirect exposure

Cleaning Protocol for Direct Exposure or Confirmed Case Within the Facility

This situation requires a 3-step approach

Step 1: General Cleaning

  • Establish containment and decon chamber at entry/exit to prevent the potential cross contamination of other areas.

  • General cleaning throughout the area.

  • Includes touchpoint and baseline cleaning, as well as HEPA vacuuming the floor.

  • Any paperwork may need to be removed during this, or any specialty equipment may need to be covered with plastic.

Step 2: Fogging

  • Shut down air scrubbers.

  • Use of misting/fogging equipment systems with appropriate EPA approved solutions designed to aggressively deactivate any cells that may be remaining anywhere on surfaces and in the air.

  • Technicians walk around the perimeter of the room while fogging.

  • All surfaces need to sit wet for at least 10 minutes.

Step 3: Final clean/Wipe down

  • Turn air scrubbers back on.

  • Final wipe down from the furthest point of the room and back to the exit.

  • Remove any plastic at this time and wipe down what is underneath.

  • Remove all equipment and supplies from the affected area. Break down any containment and decon chamber.

Reminders for Empty Buildings

  • Despite the fact that many facilities are legally required to shut down, all regulatory compliances (ADA, NFPA, and OSHA) are still in effect and maintenance / compliance checks are still required. (i.e. continue testing fire alarms, etc.)

  • As you decommission your building, adjust your timed infrastructure to both decrease costs and protect your equipment and building. This includes lighting timers, hot water controls, as well as HVAC settings. Facility Executive published a helpful piece that walks through important things to consider (plumbing, electrical, environment) when decommissioning and recommissioning your building.

  • Confirm that your emergency and security systems are up to date and working properly. While the shelter and home mandate is in place, you may have limited access to your building and want to ensure it’s not being left in a vulnerable position.

  • Consider donating your perishables and paper goods. While some supplies (such as coffee, tea or toilet paper) may keep for long periods of time, they may be of more use to local hospitals and shelters that are being heavily impacted right now.

Other measures that can be taken

  • Revisit your sick leave policy and ensure it’s consistent with public health messages that urge individuals not feeling well or experiencing COVID-19 symptoms to stay home.

  • Provide training and supplies to support employees in routinely disinfecting their work areas.

  • Encourage employees to frequently wash their hands and remind them of proper techniques.

  • If possible, consider shifting schedules, splitting employees into multiple teams, or staggering shifts more so there is more separation between individuals, thereby limiting exposure to a possible infection.

We Can Help You Keep Your Building & Workers Safe Through Disinfecting Protocols

If you have any questions about your own cleaning and sanitation practices given our current climate, or need assistance with implementing these steps, do not hesitate to reach out to us. You can email us directly at info@signaturefacilites.com or call us at: (408) 377 – 8066. You can learn more about our commercial cleaning services by visiting our Janitorial Services Page.

Although this information can help serve as a guideline for your Facilities Management team, it’s imperative that you continuously check the current CDC guidelines for the most up-to-date information for your building’s health and safety.