The role of infection control in future-proof businesses
Why is infection control important?
We spend 90% of our time indoors and consume around 10,800 litres of air each day. That creates significant potential risk for your employees or customers to inhale airborne viruses or increased levels of CO2.
While the coronavirus pandemic has undoubtedly brought more attention to infection prevention and control, this has been a growing problem long before the pandemic hit.
Without infection control, your business’s bottom line could be impacted, as the quality of your product or service can become compromised.
How are businesses impacted?
Whether it’s due to staff sickness, employee unhappiness, low productivity, or energy inefficiency, high costs of cleaning, operational disruption, product spoilage or wastage – your business can be directly impacted by your infection control policy or lack of one.
Sick days cost UK businesses around £77 billion in lost productivity each year. That’s roughly 30 days per employee. Poor or unmaintained ventilation can cause ‘sick building syndrome’ in your employees. This could lead to longer periods of staff absence and potential operational disruptions too.
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An infection control policy will help keep your staff protected from unwanted germs, airborne viruses, and increased levels of CO2 – increasing productivity and enhancing your business’ ROI through the reduction in staff sickness.
Infection control audit
Typically, the first stage in our three-step approach is undertaking an infection control audit, allowing you to discover the performance levels of your building’s ventilation system, and include recommendations for improvements.
The infection control audit will use independent laboratory testing to highlight any potential dangers with your ventilation system that could be being spread via airborne transmission throughout the building. Carbon dioxide, humidity, temperature, particulate matter, volatile organic compounds, mould, and virus risk will all be assessed.
Every indoor environment has specific infection control challenges. When developing a solution, it’s vital to work with experts who understand the potential for infection and can recommend a bespoke solution that meets your unique needs.
Standard precautions for infection control
There are several standard precautionary tactics to implement including regular hand washing, natural ventilation in the form of open doors and windows to allow fresh air to circulate, and regular disinfection of commonly touched surfaces. The use of PPE may also be appropriate.
While these are appropriate guidelines to adhere to, an infection control policy keeps your employees and customers significantly safer. By implementing all of these standard tactics alongside a bespoke infection control policy you can strengthen the protection you offer.
Infection control legislation
Businesses can take more responsibility for their workers with a proactive approach to infection control. Currently under the Health and Safety at Work Act, businesses are responsible for ensuring the health, safety and welfare of their employees in the workplace. These include undertaking a risk assessment to identify: the potential hazards, who is potentially most affected by these hazards, on what scale these risks are from low to high, and what measures have been taken to reduce or eliminate any risks.
There is also a need for further support in the form of government legislation across the UK. Globally, the legislation for CO2 monitors is much tighter, supporting those businesses looking to bolster their infection control and protecting staff and customers who may currently be working in premises without a sufficient infection control policy. Governments in Germany and South Korea, for example, are providing funding for businesses to improve air ventilation in public buildings; while Spain, Belgium, New Jersey and New York have made CO2 monitors mandatory for businesses.
It’s clear that there is a significant need for tighter controls for monitoring CO2 from both ends of the spectrum. UK government legislation requires levelling up to match that of its global counterparts, alongside a more forward-thinking, future-proof approach from businesses to ensure a safer environment becomes the norm for businesses nationwide.
To find out more about our Infection Control solutions and how we can increase your business’ productivity, contact us at [email protected].