March 30, 2020

COVID-19: Best Practice Tips for Robotic Floor Care

Gavin Donley
Gavin Donley

When it comes to commercial floor cleaning, there is no such thing as too clean. Floors are a critical– and often overlooked–surface in environments trying to actively disinfect. Why? While most of us can control what we do/do not touch, there is no side-stepping contact with floors, particularly in food retail with employees kneeling to restock shelves. This is profoundly true in light of the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. For more insights, we recommend this recent article in The Atlantic on how Grocery Stores Are the Coronavirus Tipping Point.

Now more than ever, businesses must take their sanitation operations to a whole new level in order to mitigate coronavirus contagion and keep employees and customers as safe as humanly possible. To promote more effective commercial cleaning in the face of COVID-19, the U.S. Department of Labor’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) recently published its Guidance on Preparing Workplaces for COVID-19. The Center for Disease Control (CDC) also published Environmental Cleaning and Disinfectant Recommendations. The latter cited, “Cleaning of visibly dirty surfaces followed by disinfection is a best practice measure for prevention of COVID-19 and other viral respiratory illnesses…” While the CDC’s guide is specifically geared towards communal facilities, their recommendations hold true for all businesses, including retail environments like food stores and malls, along with airports, warehouses, and other commercial settings.

In light of the rapidly spreading coronavirus, Brain Corp recommends customers of its BrainOS robot operating system make three adjustments to their everyday cleaning practices:

1. Clean with an EPA-registered disinfectant for SARS-CoV-2, not just water.

Most human operators of autonomous floor scrubbers utilize a neutral floor cleaning fluid or some type of mild degreaser when cleaning commercial floors. To help mitigate the spread of the COVID-19 coronavirus, grocers and retailers in particular should adopt the same rigorous approach to cleaning as hospitals. Brain Corp suggests the following: 1) Empty the robot’s clean water tank and thoroughly rinse it out, 2) Refill the tank with clean water, and 3) Add a hospital-grade neutral disinfectant, using the solution ratio recommended on the manufacturer’s label instructions. It’s important to use an EPA-registered disinfectant that is approved to kill SARS-CoV-2–the cause of COVID-19. This is an easy switch that is more effective than just water.

2. Disinfect autonomous floor scrubbers.

The COVID-19 virus can spread through even the most casual contact, including touching contaminated surfaces like metal and plastic. This is why it is important for operators of robotic floor care machines to wipe them down after each use using a hospital-grade disinfectant spray or disinfecting wipes per the manufacture’s label instructions for disinfecting hard surfaces. They should pay special attention to mutual contact points on the machine such as the steering wheel, seat, touchscreen, control buttons, start pause button, and all areas that are touched in order to dump and fill the machine.

3. Refocus staff on disinfecting high-touch areas.

One of the many benefits of using autonomous mobile robots for commercial floor cleaning is that it allows businesses to focus their workforce on other, higher value tasks. This is particularly beneficial during the COVID-19 outbreak. Brain Corp suggests moving cleaning staff and other available employees to disinfecting door handles and levers, countertops, checkout surfaces, POS machines, and other high-touch areas in order to better prevent the spread of COVID-19. All staff should wear personal protection equipment (PPE) while undertaking disinfecting activities.

If you have specific questions about how robotic floor care can help your business take it’s clean to a whole new level, especially during this unprecedented time, we are here to answer any questions.

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