Clean Force adopts fogging during COVID-19

Clean Force adopted fogging into their cleaning practices in August as an added safety measure to keep clients safe while working onsite during lockdown in Victoria. When fogging was first requested, the Clean Force team reacted quickly, training team members on the process and ensuring the chemical were both safe and effective for cleaners and clients.

Keep reading to learn about fogging and how Clean Force works with clients to keep them safe.

What is fogging?

Disinfectant fogging is a cleaning technique used to kill bacteria and sterilise surfaces. The chemical is diluted and added to the fogger. The Clean Force team use a machine similar to a mister to spray the chemical over all surfaces after the completion of the usual routine cleaning process. The mist has a fog-like look before it settles on surfaces.

Clean Force has received certification confirming our fogging chemicals are safe to use from the Therapeutic Goods Administration (TGA).

Clean Force team member dressed in full PPE gear fogging onsite
[Clean Force team member dressed in full PPE gear fogging onsite]

How does fogging work onsite?

When onsite, Clean Force staff disinfect all areas. This includes wiping down all surfaces in the office, with a particular focus on high touch-point areas such as sinks, desks, switches and door handles. When clients request fogging, the team will then go back through the site and fog all surfaces as a second method of disinfectant.

All staff are required to wear full personal protective equipment (PPE) when they are fogging. The gear includes protective eyeglasses, full-body suits, rubber cleaning gloves, industrial face masks and face shields.

Clean Force team member in full PPE gear fogging a table
[Clean Force team member in full PPE gear fogging a table]

Does fogging create any risks?

Although we have TGA approval for our fogging chemical, the safety of our clients and team is essential to us. Due to this, no one can re-enter the site for at least two hours after spraying to ensure it has settled.

High levels of communication between clients and Clean Force are maintained so fogging can be scheduled at times that do not interrupt the client’s workday. For example, Clean Force has clients where sites operate 24/7. At these sites, fogging is planned carefully to ensure workers will always have a safe room to enter on their break.

The Clean Force team are happy to accommodate and work around clients schedules to carry out cleaning and fogging services.

To learn more about fogging and our commercial cleaning services, get in touch with us here

Being an essential worker in a pandemic

Frank and the team singing off at the end of the night

COVID-19 has impacted our work and personal lives in more than one way. While many people in the WISE community have been working from home, Clean Force has been at the forefront of COVID-19 related work. To find out what it’s like being an essential worker during a pandemic, Clean Force’s Leading Hand , Frank, invited us along for a shift during Victoria’s level 4 lockdown.

Frank started with Clean Force as a floater in April 2015, filling in where extra staff were required across Melbourne’s west, city and Richmond crews. Last year, Frank’s responsibilities increased when he was promoted to Leading Hand of the city crew. He’s now accountable for rostering his nine support staff, ensuring they have the correct hours of work per week. Along with this, the Leading Hands are trusted with keys to their client’s offices and have all completed high clearance security checks.

Frank works Monday to Friday, meeting the cleaning crew at the Preston office at 3:30 pm. Most of the team jump into the van and head to their first location, meeting the remainder of the team on site.

Photo supplied – leaving the office in Clean Force van.

COVID-19 has changed several operational factors for Clean Force. The first being the changes in transportation. Previously, there were five people to a van. However, to practice social distancing, they have reduced the number to four people.

Further safety precautions are taken onsite with temperature checks being conducted and recorded when entering the first office. Personal protective equipment (PPE) is also supplied for all staff and required when onsite. Masks, gloves and an optional plastic apron are changed whenever needed and between locations. Frank is always prepared, keeping spare masks and gloves in the glovebox.

Photo supplied – Frank in PPE gear

As a Leading Hand, Frank informs the staff of their tasks at each site, helps with any questions and ensures everyone is following social distancing requirements. Although they have always cleaned kitchens, toilets and foyers, there is now a big focus on main touchpoints like doors, switches and elevators.

Even though everyone is assigned a task, once someone finishes their job, they help other team members finish too. Frank helps out wherever he can too. If there’s time before the end of a shift, they complete any additional cleaning.

Photo supplied – Socially distanced cleaning of high touch points

Due to COVID-19 causing office closures, the city crew visit two or three offices a night. They’re very cautious to clean everything thoroughly, and Frank checks everything as they go.

“If you hire cleaners for your own home, you want them to clean it properly too,” says Frank.

Photo supplied – cleaning door handles
Photo supplied – cleaning kitchen sink

Although PPE gear can be annoying to wear, Frank knows it’s essential.

“The last thing you want to do is get ill. It’s [PPE] the one thing that’s saving us at the moment.”

Due to Victoria’s enforced 8 pm curfew, all team members have been provided with exemption permits for their rostered working days. These permits allow them an hour to get home after finishing their shifts at 7:30 pm. Frank says being out after 8 pm is a blast from the past.

“Being out after 8 pm, it’s like when I used to go to night clubs, and you’re on your way home at 4 am.”

He even wears his mask when driving home in case he needs to stop somewhere along the way like the service stations.

“It’s part of life now so we might as well get used to it.”

Clean Force has supported the staff the whole way through the pandemic.

“They’ve been very good. They supplied all the staff with PPE and made sure the information is out there to pass onto our support staff.”

Although COVID-19 has created new challenges, Frank can’t imagine working anywhere else. He enjoys learning from his staff and being part of a supportive environment.

“I love it! I think I’ll retire here and become part of the furniture.”

Photo supplied – Clean Force crew signing off at the end of the night

Natural leaders Rhonda and Nakoa find friendship and purpose at Clean Force

Rhonda and Nakoa stand in their Clean Force Uniforms in a meeting room.

Re-entering the workforce after a long absence can be daunting.

For Clean Force employees Rhonda and Nakoa, standing in front of the 33-story Paramatta Square building on their first day of work in 30 and 10 years respectively, this is exactly how they felt.

As natural caregivers, Rhonda and Nakoa have each taken significant breaks from employment to focus their time on supporting their families and community. Proud Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander women and members of the AMES mentoring program, both women were introduced to Clean Force when NSW Operations Manager, Tony Daoud, was invited to speak to the group about the organisation and its unique hiring philosophy.

As a social enterprise with approximately 50% of employees diagnosed with a disability or disadvantaged, Tony highlighted that at Clean Force, the team are more interested in enthusiastic job seekers than prior work experience.

As Tony says, “If you show me you have a great attitude and appetite to work, I’ll give you a job”.

Inspired by Tony’s passion for the company, Rhonda reached out that very afternoon. Nakoa, who started that day unsure she even wanted to begin a new career, shortly followed.

Starting out as cleaners, Rhonda and Nakoa joined the team at Paramatta Square, keeping the environment clean and workable for the Department of Customer Service and the Department of Planning, Industry and Environment. Within weeks, Tony had recognised their leadership qualities and promoted them to supervisors. Being out of the workforce for so long, both were surprised to advance in the organisation in such a short time period.

“I always wanted to be a leader, however I didn’t think that it would happen so quickly. I didn’t believe in myself before starting this role but being a supervisor has given me a lot more self-esteem. I now realise I’m intelligent, confident and outspoken,” explained Rhonda.

Through COVID-19, Rhonda and Nakoa have not only had to navigate leading a team for the first time but also adapting to stringent new workplace hygiene standards. Focused on keeping the government workers and their own team safe, Rhonda and Nakoa have had to step up their cleaning duties – including ongoing sanitisation of each level throughout the day.

Josylin Saunders, Senior Manager of Workplace Services at the Department of Planning, Industry and Environment, is extremely pleased with Rhonda and Nakoa’s work in the building. “Rhonda and Nakoa’s continued efforts during COVID-19 have provided peace of mind to all the Department of Planning, Industry and Environment employees at Parramatta Square, knowing that they are taking all measures to protect their health and safety.

“Nothing is ever too hard or is met with objection and they have both shown true dedication and support not only for our team but the Clean Force crew they lead on site” she said.

Coming from similar backgrounds and starting their roles around the same time, it was easy for Nakoa and Rhonda to form a strong professional relationship and friendship too. They’ve been able to support each other through the transition and are always ready for when a new challenge is thrown their way.

Nakoa says because of this, and their amazing team, coming to Paramatta Square doesn’t feel like work.

“I love everything about it! The building, staff and management are all really great. It’s lovely to come to work because the people are amazing. The staff see the great bond Rhonda and I have and it helps them know we’re approachable and always available when they need us.”

Tony has noticed the benefits of their friendship too. “Working together as a team so well, and with the whole cohort, they make my job a lot easier. They’re a real asset to the company.”