How To Alleviate The Negative Impact Of Corona In Busy Facilities?
Corona virus infection
Corona – The most dreaded virus of recent times was first reported in China, on 17 November 2019. Ever since the first known infection, it became wildly contagious with major outbreaks in East Asian countries. As of now, over 1.3 lakh people had been tested positive for the virus. The virus had claimed the lives of 5,000 peoples to date and continues to subject people across the globe to great hardships.
COVID-19 declared as a Pandemic by W.H.O
COVID-19 disease is relatively new and its victims are spread across more than 120 countries & territories. Based on its continuous assessment over the severity, spread and lack of adequate awareness among the public World Health Organization has declared the disease characterized by severe acute respiratory syndrome as a pandemic on 11 Mar 2020. Nevertheless W.H.O also firmly believes that the pandemic is controllable, follow these instructions from WHO. The only comfort in this period of misfortune is that around 70,000 people have got rid of the disease through quality treatment.
Transmission of Corona: Role of HVAC SYSTEMS
The primary reason for the scare of the virus is that currently there is no vaccine to prevent the coronavirus disease. The principal mode of transmission is mainly from an infected person to another person via respiratory droplets within a range of 6 feet).
Covering your mouth when you cough or sneeze is the first step to control the spread. However, the possibility of residual contaminants traveling through your HVAC system cannot be ruled out. Once the air in your facility becomes contaminated the virus can cling on to the evaporator coil or blower motor and can reside there for up to nine days. An HVAC system should be inspected at least twice a year. If the AC unit happens to be centralized then it has to be serviced each month. Even sophisticated air filters of premium AC models were tested to have some level of viral penetration. Even in the event of trapping the AC units aren’t capable of destroying the virus as coronavirus is very small, measuring between 0.06 and 0.14 microns in size.
Corona virus prevention
All countries must strike the right balance between safeguarding health, minimizing handicap to economic and social activities and respecting human rights. In several countries, Union & State Governments have urged business organizations to exercise a great degree of caution. A single victim to the disease can impair the progress of the entire team at workplaces. This shouldn’t happen. Preventive Maintenance(PPM) assumes greater significance in this scenario as backed by the proverb- A stitch in time saves nine.
The contingency plan should elaborate on a list of alternative plans, outcomes, and instructions covering all aspects of the business. Each worker in the factory should be made aware of the departments/staff who would be functioning at worksite & the place to locate required materials along with any modifications to till the situation returns to normalcy. If mechanisms such as ‘Work From Home’ are not in place, a strategy should be formulated as soon as possible and executed. Mobile should become an integral part of communications due to work from different locations.
Housekeeping staff may be required to routinely clean all frequently touched surfaces in the facility including cabins, doorknobs & cafeteria with cleaning agents. They’ll be replenishing disposable wipes in restrooms.
Role of Facility Management Companies
The services of facility management service companies would be in high demand by now. The servicing companies can prove their mettle by containing the spread of the virus to a great extent. With a simple, powerful & flexible automated maintenance management software, in place, the data is safely & instantly accessible with seamless communication. With such a tool facility managers can rise above the situation and oversee the big picture. Hospitals, Shopping Malls, Restaurant Chains, Factories, etc can entrust the maintenance work, much needed at the moment, to reliable servicing companies and focus on their core areas of business.
Minimizing the spread of Corona
Facility Managers whose role is crucial in these times should rise to the occasion and succeed in reaching out to the workforce, at large. They need to educate all employees on precautionary measures. They can restrict activities outside the facility and devise protocols for external communication. Employees can be advised to use public transportation to the least possible extent. If sales representatives exhibit doubtful symptoms they need to be advised to share the travel history with the health care provider. These efforts will bring down the risk of infections within the facility.
Due to the easy spread, Facility managers must prominently display precautionary measures for employees. They must direct maintenance teams to regularly disinfect all common areas in the facility such as machinery, raw materials, laptops, mobiles, portable devices, door handles, conference rooms, reception desks, etc.
The spacing of individual work cubicles should be more than 6 feet wherever possible & the entire facility be well-ventilated. Upon the confirmation of the corona infection, facility managers should be immediately notified. They should closely monitor the movement of outsiders into the facility than usual. Preventing the entry of visitors into the cafeteria will greatly limit the spread of the disease.
Protecting Employees At Work
The contingency plan should be articulated in a well-organized process as schedules. The schedules are a collection of related tasks. The tasks, in turn, can be broken down into checklists detailing the steps that need to be followed. The maintenance personnel should be made to acknowledge each step mentioned in the checklist.
As there is a long way to go to eradicate the epidemic the PPM measures need to be repeated on a regular basis for several months. The concerned staffs should receive timely alerts and mobile technology needs to be used in your favour to ensure seamless correspondence on preventative schedules.
Ensuring smooth workflow by keeping Corona at bay
To put things in a nutshell, It is high time to appreciate the need for an automated work order management system / CAFM to oversee that there are no deviations from the established process or loss of enthusiasm on behalf of maintenance staff in carrying out the necessary schedules.
Now it is time to refrain ourselves from socialization and resort to alternate channels of collaborating work and communication. Let’s continue to carry out our duties diligently and spread the awareness on Corona. May the God Almighty ward off the ill effects of the disease.