In these times of Covid-19, business owners around the world have the great responsibility to keep their employees, clients, suppliers, and their own families safe. By doing this, they are also preventing any possible outbreak in their businesses. One of the best ways they can do this is through commercial disinfection, which involves sanitizing and disinfecting all high-touch and high-traffic areas using effective and long-lasting methods, and not just cleaning with a broom and mop, for instance.
In Canada, business owners are encouraged by the federal government to consider certain risk mitigation principles and measures to prevent and limit the spread of Covid-19 in their workplaces and in other community-based settings. These measures include discouraging people who are ill from entering their workplace or business, requiring that employees stay at home if ill with symptoms of COVID-19, promoting and facilitating personal preventive practices like frequent hand hygiene, and providing increased access to hand hygiene facilities, like placing hand sanitizer dispensers in easy to see locations.
In addition to this, the government recommends business owners increase the frequency of commercial disinfecting and cleaning, especially when it comes to high-touch surfaces or equipment like shared photocopiers, elevator buttons, cash registers, and washrooms.
Meanwhile in Ontario, the Ministry of Health says all employers have a general duty under the Occupational Health and Safety Act (OHSA) to “take all precautions reasonable in the circumstances for the protection of a worker” and “implement prevention measures found in guidance issued by the Ontario government and any specific prevention measures recommended by public health agencies.” Plus, all business owners are required to maintain a 2-meter separation in their workplaces, ensure proper commercial cleaning and disinfection to control the spread of COVID-19, and maintain accurate shift records and up-to-date contact information for employees in case an outbreak occurs.
And for those who don’t know, the Ministry of Health of Ontario considers that an outbreak exists in a workplace when there are “two or more laboratory-confirmed COVID-19 cases with an epidemiological link in the workplace (e.g., same work area, same shift) within a 14-day period where both cases could have reasonably acquired their infection in the workplace.” And by “reasonably”, they mean “no obvious source of infection outside of the workplace or known exposure in the workplace.”
What Can Business Owners Do If an Employee Has Covid-19 Symptoms?
If an employee gets infected with Covid-19 while actively working at their workplace, the Public Health Unit of the Ministry of Health of Ontario says employers should follow certain steps to look after the rest of their workers and to prevent a possible outbreak.
First, employers need to make sure anybody who feels unwell does not attend to the workplace, and then, in accordance with the Occupational Health and Safety Act and its regulations, they must report the occupational illness to the Workplace Safety and Insurance Board (WSIB) within 72 hours of receiving notification of said illness. Employers should also know that all cases of COVID-19 should be investigated and managed according to the Public Health Management of Cases and Contacts of COVID-19 in Ontario.
Furthermore, business owners will be approached by their local Public Health Unit (PHU), who will assess their control measures and the adherence of staff to those measures, in order to reduce the risk of transmission in the workplace. They could also get more involved depending on the number of cases, the size of the workplace, as well as any evidence of ongoing transmission and the transmission risk in the workplace and into the community, and resources of the workplace/employer to address the outbreak.
Part of the assessment that the local PHU will make includes the company’s commercial disinfecting and cleaning. They will assess the cleaning protocol after cases are identified, frequency of cleaning of high touch surfaces including barriers, and deep cleaning of the workplace, use of Health Canada approved disinfectant such as electrostatic sprayer, availability of hand hygiene stations, and promoting the frequent use of hand hygiene. They will also assess the content and comprehensibility of communications to employees regarding outbreak management measures.
Finally, if an outbreak does occur, business owners should know that the local PHU may declare it as over if “14 days have passed with no evidence of ongoing transmission that could reasonably be related to exposures in the workplace, or 14 days after the date when outbreak measures were implemented.”
Best Commercial Disinfection Practices for Your Business
To take the upper hand in preventing an outbreak, and to avoid going through the complicated process that follows, our best recommendation is to hire the services of a professional commercial disinfecting company. This type of service provides deep cleaning and disinfection to commercial settings using the latest devices and the best quality disinfectants, approved by Health Canada.
At Disinfect & Fog, we are passionate about disinfecting and fogging spaces and work with business owners like you every day to help them provide a safe and healthy environment for their clients and employees. We specialize in commercial and residential disinfecting through innovative technical fogging solutions that allow for a 99.99% disinfection using non-allergenic solution fogged to all areas of your facility, home, or automobile - disinfecting all surfaces and hard to reach areas.
Pro tip: Now would also be a great time to subscribe to our Monthly Disinfectant Kit, which provides business owners with all the disinfecting and sanitizing products they need to protect their staff and customers, without paying for the upfront costs of disinfecting devices. The first package includes 1 sprayer or fogger, 4 gallons of our Ultra-Lyte disinfectant solution, and 2 full spray bottles. Additionally, we have several training videos that teach you how to use our devices and how to make the most of your Monthly Disinfectant Kit.
We hope these recommendations and guidelines are helpful. Let us know what else are you doing at your workplace to prevent the spread of Covid-19. And if you have any questions about this topic, our products, or our new Monthly Disinfectant Kit, don’t hesitate to reach out!