It might feel a bit like déjà vu, but this time around it’s looking decidedly hopeful that the Government’s lockdown exit strategy isn’t just going to bring temporary relief like last summer, but a permanent solution that will allow society to cope with this devastating virus while still operating a ‘business as usual’ approach for the economy.
The phased timetable means most businesses have now got time to plan how they will switch the lights back on, or get back up to running a full operation if they’ve been on a restricted service – and the good news is that the Elliott’s hygiene experts are here to help you do this in a COVID-secure way.
After all, it’s those organisations which take the opportunity to prepare, that will emerge stronger and benefit from the pent-up demand amongst consumers who have been cooped up during successive lockdowns, and unable to take advantage of the services they usually enjoy.
The deadly disease caused by the coronavirus hasn’t gone away, however – businesses will still need to be mindful of COVID-security – and sourcing what have become essential items such as personal protective equipment, germ-killing disinfectant chemicals and handwash has been one of the major challenges for organisations amidst of the coronavirus pandemic.
Since the start, we have pulled out the stops to continue supporting our longstanding clients on the frontline, including food manufacturers and other key industries, care providers and Hull City Council, and have welcomed new customers who we have helped deal with the continually-moving goalposts.
And we will continue to offer organisations large and small our expert guidance and support for their hygiene management and strategy, combined with unrivalled access to critical products.
Supplying all your essential equipment
Co-director Janette Elliott said: “In the past year we’ve supported businesses across a huge variety of sectors, including farm shops, restaurants, schools, care homes and factories, to get back up and running. It’s been a testing time, but there’s no-one we haven’t been able to help.”
Thanks to our long-established supply chains, we have been able to access protective masks, visors, aprons, hand sanitisers and fully compliant disinfectant cleaning products, tested to EN14476 and EN1276 standards; as well as high-strength viricidal cleaners.
Janette added. “Stocks of these essential supplies dried up early in the pandemic because the Government had to procure all protective equipment which was in production at the time and re-divert it to our NHS.
“But we were able to keep our customers supplied throughout. As well as being an independent family-owned business, we’re also established members of the Socius supply network, which gives us a combined approach and buying power and access to not only source essential kit, but also ensure it is of the right standard and, ultimately, up to the job.”
‘What does COVID-secure mean? How can I achieve it? Where do I start?’ These are entirely natural questions that we are asked all the time, so we put together a simple guide to give you with a clear road map towards getting your business up and running again.
Follow our five-point plan
Good hygiene needs to run like a thread through everything you do going forward. Sticking to a proper strategy and process, using the right equipment and chemicals, can significantly reduce expensive downtime.
Things you need to take a fresh look at include the processes you have, your cleaning schedules, where your touch points are and how you can control cross-contamination, and, once you have the right things in place, avoiding complacency within your team.
- Visit the Government and HSE websites and ensure you read the COVID-secure guidelines. Highlight anything that concerns you, and start there.
- Walk the walk – literally walk through your environment, listing areas that are a potential risk for you, your team and your customers – as well as things you feel you have covered, and kick off the process of drawing up some practical plans. You run a business, you know how to build a plan, it’s not a science or a mystery, it’s about just plotting out what you need to do to adapt to this new environment we’re now working in. Among other steps, prepare to put a cleaning schedule in place. We build cleaning schedules for all our clients who we work closely with, to ensure things are done properly and consistently, and this can ensure all the touch points within your organisation are safe – from the security pad at your front door to desks, computers and phones. Visit the HSE website for more useful hints and tips for managing risk.
- Compile your own risk assessment in the first instance – you can do it: it needs to be logical and based on a traffic light system of red (for the things your biggest, most urgent issues) amber (moderate risks) and green (things that are OK). You’ll see some of your reds – for example, not being able to maintain a two-metre distance – can be easily changed, through steps like moving your workers back-to-back facing the wall instead of facing each other. You can access a risk assessment template from the Government’s website.
- Consider, specifically, what equipment, paper wipes, cloths and PPE you have in place and what you’re going to need to help turn your ‘reds’ green.
- Once you’ve got everything ship-shape, keep revisiting and repeating the process to assess what might have changed. It’s good practice to swap things around on a regular basis, so that your team don’t get complacent and you keep the good hygiene message front of mind, rather than it potentially becoming ‘wallpaper’.
Although there are some consistencies between sectors, the specific cleaning products and equipment you need will depend on the unique status of your organisation and, here at Elliott’s, we’re genuinely concerned that many businesses might end up buying wrongly because they’ve not taken advice or, worse still, been given bad advice. There are a multitude of products out there but it’s very easy to choose something that’s overpriced or ineffective, or unnecessarily bad for the environment.
We work with organisations in the care sector, food manufacture and industry, ‘HORECA’ (hospitality and catering) sectors, garden centres, schools, colleges and academies, as well as food and retail outlets and offices, so we can pretty much help any organisation get back to work. Here are some basic rules of thumb when it comes to picking the right products:
- You need a virucidal cleaner – one that is proven to kill the likes of the coronavirus, and to strict standards, passing EN 14476, anything less cut won’t cut it!
- Hand sanitiser – having it is essential but only if it has an alcohol content above 60 per cent. There are many ‘emerging brands’ which are capitalising on scarcity to manufacture products which – although reflecting the recipe published by the World Health Organisation (WHO) – are unregulated and untried and tested. However, with established, reputable brands now able to meet demand again, we highly recommend using those, and can supply proven products to ensure your organisation is properly protected.
- Hand sanitisers should be positioned in suitable, contactless, wall-mounted ‘auto-dispense’ machines or smaller individual bottles for individuals’ ‘self-use’. The regulated EN 14476 brands also contain specific ingredients to ensure they don’t strip users’ hands of their natural oils but instead condition as they treat.
- Paper roll is preferable to the constant reusing of cloths for cleaning any touchpoints like desks, touchpads and monitors, because it can be disposed of easily and hygienically – minimising the very real potential for cross-contamination.
As a family-run business, hygiene has been our passion for over three decades now, and we’re committed to helping you get it right when it’s so easy to do so, but equally easy to get it wrong without the right guidance.
You’re probably going to have additional costs to bear and you need to factor this into your future plans because the post-lockdown world will certainly be different. However, you can ensure these don’t get out of hand, and you get maximum value for your spend, by seeking the right support.
Would you like some help and advice with your hygiene strategy and management? Call Elliott’s now on (01482) 327580 or email firstname.lastname@example.org