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Safe chemicals for safe reopening

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Schools and colleges are high-traffic facilities with multiple high-touch surfaces. What chemicals should one use for cleaning and disinfection, that are simultaneously effective and safe to use around students and staff? Angad Rajain, Global CSO and IFM Head, Tenon Group deconstructs the decision-making process.

Classroom disinfection

The type of chemicals to be used depends on the surface. One needs to follow appropriate SOPs so that the chemical does not damage the quality of the surface, while still properly cleaning and disinfecting. As a precautionary measure, our disinfection SOP includes manual wiping as well, followed by ULV treatment, which ensures there is no accumulation of any chemical on the surface.

To maintain high standards of hygiene and ensure safety of occupants, we use only FDA-approved and WHO-recommended chemicals from brands like Diversey and Buzil Rossari. These chemicals are safe and non-toxic.

Washroom cleaning

We use a combination of Diversey chemicals for washroom cleaning and deep cleaning. We ensure that the on-ground staff is stringently trained in the mixing and application of cleaning chemicals.

Being attentive to the unique challenges faced by each school facility type, we have now shifted from time-based cleaning to user-centric cleaning with the help of AI-based technology solutions. The cleaning schedules and regimes are determined as per the usage. In schools, there is a higher risk of infection due to overlooked touch points that may lead to cross-contamination. During our cleaning procedures, we focus on minimising the spread of viruses and bacteria by implementing effective and target-based cleaning and disinfecting processes.

High-touch surfaces

The chemicals used for high-touch surfaces like door handles, water cooler taps, washroom sink taps, study tables, chair handles, dusters, switchboards and staircase railings are disinfected by a combination of ethyl alcohol, hydrogen peroxide and sodium hypochlorite, to give 100% protection against Covid-19.

We also use antiviral nano-tech coating for these high-touch surfaces for long-term protection against germs (bacteria, viruses, and fungi).

Cooking and dining areas

The chemicals used in canteens and cafeterias are FDA approved. Even when applied over utensils, they are not harmful in any way. We use products from IFB and Diversey, and high-pressure steam treatment for applying the same.

Proper training for proper application

Since the chemicals are very concentrated in nature, proper training needs to be imparted to the team involved in the sanitisation process. For instance, they are educated on the type of chemical to be used on a particular surface, how chemicals are sprayed with the help of a ULV machine for an even distribution and how to carry out high-pressure steam treatment for overall disinfection of the classroom.

What not to use

We would recommend not using chemicals which are purchased in open containers or any other chemical which is in powdered form, as they come without a material safety data sheet. Thus, If these are used, the SOP that needs to be followed for maintaining hygiene and safety level becomes invalid.

Since there are many chemicals available in the market, one should only go for reputed brands which have already been tested in the market.

In the preceding pages, different kinds of stakeholders have shared their expectations and expertise. As educational institutions strive to adapt to the new normal, Clean India Journal is committed to highlighting the challenges they face and connecting them to the right solution and service provider.

By showcasing the correct information, skills, equipment and expertise, we will do our part in bringing students safely back to schools.

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