As office buildings and other facilities continue to re-open after three months of lockdown, business owners and building managers have had to follow a series of health and safety protocols before allowing people in.
Countless hardware and software vendors have released products to help companies comply with new requirements that will likely be in place for the foreseeable future. They are designed to help manage many components of what now constitutes a safe work environment, including distancing, temperature screening, employee health assessments, and of course, disinfecting.
While these solutions can automate many of the post-pandemic workplace safety efforts, there are also many manual tasks, including disinfecting surfaces, which also need to be monitored and tracked to ensure facilities are meeting requirements and following protocols.
BuildingReports, which provides mobile- and web-based solutions to efficiently – and digitally – track and monitor fire and life safety compliance, has added new capabilities to its ScanSeries solution to help track and report on health and safety measures.
Like its traditional applications, the new capabilities rely on cleaning personnel scanning barcodes to track their work at each cleaning surface. Upon scanning a barcode, users are able to enter whatever information is required for that particular surface to confirm activity.
BuildingReports Marketing Director David Spence explained the use of barcodes helps ensure accurate, trackable, and verifiable data about cleaning processes.
The new health and safety reporting capabilities include:
- Surface Type – allows tracking of common surfaces, including buttons, countertops, doors, doorknobs, handrails, radios, steering wheels and other user defined areas.
- Frequency – indicates the frequency with which the surface was disinfected in hourly increments, as well as longer periods such as daily, weekly, monthly or by shift.
- Cleaning Supply Used – an open text field allows employees to indicate what type of cleaning solution was used to disinfect the surface.
- Lot # – allows for tracking the source or supply of the disinfectant used as a quality control measure.
- Dwell Time – EPA defines dwell time as “the amount of time that a sanitizer or disinfectant must be in contact with the surface, and remain wet, in order to achieve the product’s advertised kill rate.” This field allows for reporting the amount of time the surface remained wet, up to 30 minutes.
- Type of Cleaning – provides options for intermediate disinfection, sanitization, sporicidal/sterilant and UV treatment types.
- Area Type – indicates if the surface is in a general access, limited access, public access or sequestered access area to help determine potential exposure and contamination risk.
The application can also be used to track and report on PPE, including masks, face shields, respirators, gloves, clothing, and other equipment.
While cellphone cameras can be used for scanning, BuildingReports also has a partnership with SocketMobile and has integrated some of its devices into its solution, which connect to mobile devices via Bluetooth to reduce mobile device battery drain.
BuildingReports has also recently added a new ScanHistory app that allows facility managers, supervisors, and others to scan the barcode on any device of surface and see the entire history of interactions with the device. As litigious as society has become, this can easily become a necessary tool for ensuring cleaning staff and maintenance crews are following prescribed protocols, and to be able to go back and verify activity.
While this pandemic was the driving force behind the application enhancements, like many other technologies that have been unveiled these past few months, this will help businesses maintain safe work environments long after COVID-19 is a distant memory and hopefully help reduce risk with any future contagious diseases, including the flu, which is an annual challenge.
The good news is many facilities seem to be aware of the need to be able to monitor and track cleaning and disinfecting processes, as these new features have been added due to customer feedback.