It’s not surprising that “pandemic” was one of the most used words in 2020. Coronavirus (SARS-CoV-2, the virus responsible for COVID-19) has caused a global pandemic that has been devastating in many ways to virtually all countries on earth. As the public continues to practice infection control measures like social distancing, handwashing, wearing face coverings, and staying home as the “new normal”, we need to be fully aware that there is another important side to controlling and managing this novel virus: how and who is disinfecting our homes and workplaces?
U.S. businesses still seem to be confused and desperate, hiring anyone that has a fogger or a sprayer. But is anyone asking these “professionals” some simple questions:
- Do your employees have a pathogen-specific certification for building disinfection?
- Are you properly insured to provide services (worker’s compensation, liability insurance, etc.) related to communicable diseases?
- Are you following a cleaning and disinfection protocol that is specific to that building?
- Are your employees in compliance with OSHA and EPA regulations? (i.e. training, infection control plans, PPE, proper chemicals, etc.)
- Do you have a properly written contract specific to COVID disinfection services?
Most of the contractors claiming to provide COVID cleaning and disinfection services:
- Do not have pathogen training/certification specific to pathogens (i.e. SARS-CoV-2)
- Do not carry the proper insurance coverage
- Do not perform services following a building-specific disinfection protocol
- Are not in compliance with OSHA and/or EPA
- And most importantly, are using unapproved application technologies and cleaning techniques with chemicals that are not only ineffective to inactivate SARS-CoV-2 but also are dangerous to the occupants.
Without qualified, properly-trained and insured professionals performing building disinfection services, we will continue to see COVID-19 infection rates increase and U.S. businesses unknowingly providing a false sense of security to their employees and the public that their buildings are “safe”.
Worker’s compensation claims and premiums will continue to increase, putting more financial pressure employers and COVID-related lawsuits will continue to skyrocket. Sound familiar? This is eerily similar to what we saw developing 25 years ago with the mold remediation industry; the difference is that the current COVID situation is massive and continues to impact all industries, not just those buildings that sustain a water intrusion event.
Proper training. One possible training and certification possibility lies with The Pathogen Response and Resource Alliance (PR2A), which has established professional training and certification courses. The Founders of PR2A along, with our Advisory Board, provides an unmatched and critical credibility that support our overall mission in developing a nationally recognized COVID Standard of Care, starting with training and certification courses. Industry and infectious disease/disinfection experts combined their knowledge and more than 100 years of environmental infection control and property restoration, health and safety, toxicology, industrial hygiene, engineering, and clinical psychology allow us to provide science-based solutions for anyone seeking to clean and disinfect buildings.
PR2A leads the way for COVID education and has certified thousands of English and Spanish speaking professionals including:
- Property restoration and abatement contractors (ATI, BELFOR, ServiceMaster, SERVPRO, etc.)
- Environmental Consultants
- School District Janitorial/custodial and facility staff
- Risk Managers
- Property Managers
- First Responders
Training programs can be customized for specific industries such as hospitals, schools, airports, restaurants, hotels/casinos, R&D, Fire/Police Departments, churches, ski resorts, etc.
Without a nationally recognized, credible and pathogen-specific certification program for the professionals cleaning our homes and buildings, we will continue to enter and live in buildings that are not properly cleaned and disinfected leading to more infections and another catastrophic economic collapse.