COVID-19 FAQs: A Message from 4M’s Safety Department
Our hope is that by providing you with current information we can reduce the anxiety of this situation for everyone involved. Please don’t hesitate to reach out to your Account Manager, District Manager or Regional Manager with other questions. As professionals in the cleaning business, we are here as a resource for you in any way needed.
Tom Covilli is the Vice President of Safety and Risk Management for 4M Building Solutions and a Certified Industrial Hygienist (CIH).
In the past few weeks and in the upcoming weeks, there will be a lot of information presented and a lot more questions regarding COVID-19. In an attempt to proactively answer some of those questions, we have assembled those questions that we are receiving most frequently. Our Executive Leadership Team that includes Operations, Safety, Human Resources and Senior Leadership have been in constant communication to do our part to protect the safety and well-being of our clients; their employees, customers and tenants; and our Team Members during this trying time.
FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS
1. What is your process if there is a confirmed or suspected COVID-19 case in my building/facility with a tenant/employee who works here or with one of your Team Members?
4M requests prompt notification of any confirmed or suspected COVID-19 cases in any building or facility and any pandemic or other applicable policy our client’s management, ownership or safety department’s may have. 4M evaluates special areas of concern such as the infected person’s office, work area or other areas where the person(s) may have frequented.
In the case of any suspected or confirmed 4M Team Members, we will immediately notify client management and require the Team Member to self-quarantine. We would also request as much unencumbered access to areas to be cleaned/disinfected as possible. Depending on the type of disinfection (manual or electrostatically), we will cordon off areas as necessary with: Do Not Enter tape.
4M’s efforts are first and foremost focused on the health and safety of employees, visitors, tenants and our Team Members. We have established a procedure that addresses known or suspected COVID-19 cases which has already been implemented at a number of locations. In accordance with CDC guidelines, we respectfully request not beginning the cleaning and disinfection until a 24-hour time frame has elapsed since the COVID-19 suspected or confirmed person(s) were in the building. 4M’s cleaning and disinfection procedure first allows our Team Members to voluntarily accept or decline this work. The purpose of this is to allow any Team Member, and especially high-risk Team Members, to decline without adverse repercussions. In some cases, 4M management will deselect them based on age or known health issues. Our Team Members will then clean and disinfect at a frequency agreed upon with our client and will focus largely on frequently touched items. Our Team Members will have protective gowns or Tyvek coveralls, face mask or respirator (depending on method of disinfectant application – e.g., electrostatic applications will require an N95 disposable respirator or higher grade), eye protection (goggles), booties, and disposable gloves.
2. Is your sanitation and disinfecting process compliant and consistent with the CDC guidelines and are your products EPA registered for COVID-19? Please explain.
Our sanitation and disinfecting process, meets and exceeds all CDC Interim Recommendations for US Community Facilities with Suspected/Confirmed Coronavirus Disease 2019 guidelines which is provided per the following link:
We will only use disinfectants that are EPA registered as effective against the COVID-19 virus. When possible, we will use disinfectants that have shorter dwell time.
3. Can you supply additional labor to disinfect and sanitize touch point areas or areas that have been in contact with someone with confirmed COVID-19 virus?
As you can imagine, our situation is very dynamic with some clients in a partial shutdown and many other clients requesting continuous ongoing disinfecting services during the day and night shifts. We have been able to supply additional labor and will continue to evaluate our Team Member requirements to provide these services where and when they are needed.
4. Can 4M help with acquiring medical supplies (masks, gowns, disinfectant), toilet paper and hand sanitizer?
The demand for PPE is unprecedented at this time. 4M continues to monitor current orders for PPE including masks, gowns, face shields and gloves as well as orders for disinfectant chemicals, electrostatic equipment and wipes. Our first priority is the safety of our Team Members that are working in facilities with positive COVID-19 cases that are disinfecting the facility.
We are working with multiple suppliers on a national, regional and local level to secure additional supplies to be in a position to assist our clients that are in need of these items and do not have a source to secure them.
This is an ever-changing situation and we are doing our best to be a source for our clients for PPE, chemicals and other supplies where they are needed. Please contact your District Manager or Regional Manager to discuss how we might assist you.
5. What are most of your other customers doing to proactively disinfect and sanitize their buildings during this period?
Many clients are adding additional Team Members to continuously disinfect and sanitize touch point areas. Most customers are evaluating their current protocols on how they have/should respond to this pandemic and to other situations in the future.
6. What happens if I shut down or partially shut down until it is safe for people to re-enter the building/facility?
Shut downs in buildings, partial or full, have already occurred at some of our customer sites and more are anticipated. When this occurs, it allows our Team Members to continue to remain on site and do their jobs unencumbered performing ongoing disinfecting since the building is vacant or partially vacant. Some of the disinfection we may provide, including Clorox 360 electrostatic application, does require that the immediate area being disinfected to be temporarily vacated (i.e., 10-20 minutes).
After a shut-down, 4M will discuss next steps with client management regarding timing and process for re-entry.
4M has prepared guides to help prepare your facility for re-entry.