Most Australians are now hyper-aware of how easily harmful germs can be transmitted throughout their community, whether through direct contact with another person or indirectly via microbes on surfaces.
As isolation restrictions slowly begin to lift, and we return to our workplaces, schools and other shared spaces, hygiene standards will have to be more stringent. For those responsible for commercial buildings, schools, aged care facilities, and other shared work and living spaces, this means certain things will have to change in the management of these spaces. Here are seven steps to protect your space from the spread of germs.
1. Regular sanitising of surfaces
Microbes can continue to live on inanimate objects for anywhere from hours to months, posing a risk to all who come in contact with the surface during that time. Sanitising building surfaces—walls, floors and furniture —is a critical step in preventing the spread of harmful germs in shared spaces. While you can attempt to sanitise all surfaces by yourself, contracting a professional sanitising service is a proactive measure that will be more effective and reap long-term benefits.
Whatever option is chosen, ensuring that sanitising takes place regularly is key to providing ongoing protection. And don’t forget to pay attention to door handles, light switches, handrails, elevator buttons, EFTPOS machines, keyboards, phones and other high-contact surfaces.
Recently at Higgins, we launched our own Antimicrobial Sanitising Service, which involves our expert team conducting on-site fogging with a hospital-grade solution that is both Australian made and owned. The service ensures your property is proactive against the spread of 99.99 per cent of germs for up to 28 days, greatly decreasing the chance of germs spreading to the people in your buildings.
2. Opt for antimicrobial materials
Antimicrobial materials have the ability to render harmful germs inactive. In other words, they’re self-sterilising and, in some cases, can retain this property throughout the life of the product, so choosing these types of materials can go a long way to protecting your people. One example is antimicrobial paint, which can prohibit the growth of 99.9 per cent of harmful bacteria, such as E coli, Salmonella and Golden Staph, throughout its lifetime.
3. Hands-free technology
Installing sensors and other hands-free technology for doors, lights and other equipment will help to reduce the spread of germs through surface contact. Some of this technology, such as motion-activated lighting, also has the added benefit of reducing energy costs and making your building more sustainable.
4. Paper towel over hand dryers
The debate is age-old as to which is better overall, but it’s generally accepted that paper towels are more hygienic than hand dryers. Hand dryers are more likely to increase the risk of transmission by blowing microbes around the room when used. While regular sanitisation of surfaces can help to allay this, now may be the time to make the shift to paper towels.
5. Automatic hand sanitisation dispenser stations
Providing hand sanitiser at building entries and exits, kitchen and dining spaces, and other key areas in your building will help to contain the spread of germs. In some cases, such as schools, this can be aided by having a regular hand washing or hand sanitisation schedule. For example, upon arrival, before and after eating, after coming in from the playground and after group activities.
6. Maintain sufficient stock of hygiene supplies
It will be more important than ever to ensure that soap, hand sanitiser, paper towels, tissues, and other cleaning and hygiene supplies do not run out. Taking regular stock of these supplies and ensuring that they are refilled before running out, instead of after, is critical.
7. Social distancing
Maintaining a safe environment also requires people to take certain actions to prevent the spread of germs. Social distancing is likely to continue for a while even when we return to work, and some behaviours may change for good. Here are three ways that building managers can encourage people to practice good hygiene:
No more coming to work sick
For many, it’s common to push through the sniffles and show up to work anyway. However, as we’ve become more aware of how dangerous a sore throat can really be, it seems likely that this will become frowned upon instead of accepted practice. For management, this means making it clear what company expectations are regarding sick leave—and that it’s okay to take a day off or work from home if needed.
The Australian Department of Health recommends the following social distancing measures at workplaces and schools:
- Stop shaking hands
- Hold meetings via video conferencing or phone call
- Hold unavoidable face-to-face meetings or lessons outside in the open air
- Limit food handling or sharing of food
- Stop activities that involve mixing between different groups, such as classes, year groups or departments
- Avoid queuing
- Cancel school assemblies and other large gatherings of people
As isolation measures gradually reduce, many workers will continue to work from home on a semi-regular basis. This could mean alternating teams at the office to ensure proper social distancing, or giving people the flexibility to work from home when household members are sick to avoid transmitting disease.
If you’re looking to be proactive in your building’s approach to preventing harmful germs, Higgins’ Antimicrobial Sanitising Service might be what you’ve been looking for. It’s a monthly preventative service that kills 99.99 per cent of harmful germs on building surfaces. It forms an antimicrobial barrier that lasts for up to 28 days, and the space can be used just 30 minutes after application! It’s also non-toxic, non-corrosive and environmentally conscious. Find more information on how this service can protect your people from the spread of germs here.
Higgins Coatings now offers an Antimicrobial Sanitising Service, helping you to protect your people. The service uses a hospital-grade sanitisation product that binds to surfaces to kill 99.99 per cent of harmful germs for up to 28 days. Contact us today to learn how you can stop the spread of germs.