Facility Maintenance Decisions

Cleaning Strategies for Healthy Workplaces During Coronavirus Pandemic

Darrell X. Rounds discusses management, HVAC and cleaning strategies designed to create emotional safety for workers

Managers also can take the opportunity presented by the COVID-19 pandemic and lower occupancy in facilities to conserve energy relative to electricity, natural gas, and steam. Operations and maintenance personnel should turn off all unnecessary lights and other electrical loads while the tenant occupancy is low, and they should adhere to temperature setpoints established for optimal energy conservation.

The American Society of Heating, Refrigerating and Air-Conditioning Engineers (ASHRAE) does not recommend that HVAC systems be turned off for occupied spaces. In its Guidance for Building Operations During the COVID-19 Pandemic, ASHRAE suggests the following HVAC-related actions:

• Increase outdoor air ventilation, but use caution in highly polluted areas. With a lower population in the building, this tactic increases the effective dilution ventilation per person.

• Disable demand-controlled ventilation.

• Open minimum outdoor air dampers further, as high as 100 percent, thus eliminating recirculation. During mild weather, this step does not need to affect thermal comfort or humidity, but it clearly becomes more difficult in extreme weather.

• Keep systems running longer hours, if possible 24/7, to enhance the actions above.

For more information regarding these actions and ASHRAE’s guidance, please visit https://bit.ly/2xo5SxX.

Cleaning matters

When it comes to cleaning and sanitizing areas where there have been confirmed or suspected cases of COVID-19, the CDC recommends specific actions.

At a school, daycare center, office or other facility that does not house people overnight:

• Close areas visited by the ill person. Open outside doors and windows in that space, and use ventilating fans to increase air circulation in the area. Wait 24 hours or as long as practical before beginning cleaning and disinfection.

• Clean and disinfect all areas such as offices, restrooms, common areas and shared electronic equipment – tablets, touch screens, keyboards, remote controls, ATM machines, etc. – used by the ill persons, focusing on frequently touched surfaces.

At a facility that does house people overnight:

• Open outside doors and windows, and use ventilating fans to increase air circulation in the area. Wait 24 hours or as long as practical before beginning cleaning and disinfection.

• Focus on cleaning and disinfecting common areas where staff and others providing services might come into contact with ill persons.

• Continue routine cleaning and disinfection as in this guidance in areas ill persons have visited or used.

If more than seven days have elapsed since the person with suspected or confirmed COVID-19 visited or used the facility, additional cleaning and disinfection is not necessary. For more detailed information regarding the CDC’s guidance on cleaning and disinfecting of facilities.

These are unprecedented times. Though occupancy is low in buildings and workplaces, managers still must provide healthy and safe spaces for those working in facilities. These people are entitled to an emotionally safe environment in which to work.

Our new normal dictates that managers take actions and precautions to achieve this goal. By taking control of the situation, through effective planning to address changes as they come and with vigilance to execute the necessary actions, managers can ensure the spaces they oversee are healthy and emotionally safe for tenants and their occupants in spite of our invisible enemy, COVID-19. 

Continue Reading: Management Insight

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Cleaning Strategies for Healthy Workplaces During Coronavirus Pandemic

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  posted on 5/27/2020   Article Use Policy

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