A few thoughts on fogging machines …
Since the pandemic lots of products and machines have come to the fore to help combat and control the spread of COVID-19 and the fogging machine is one of them. Since the COVID-19 outbreak, the fogging machine, or fogger as it is sometimes called is becoming increasingly popular as a means of sanitising surfaces and is a great addition to any infection control cleaning regime.
The fogging machine is a seen as a versatile piece of equipment that uses a fine spray to apply a chemical solution. It is often used for pest and odour control or for restricting the growth of mould. It is a vitally important machine that has predominantly been used within the food industry, for insect control and for decontaminating hospitals, doctors’ surgeries and care homes as part of an overall process to clean and disinfect vacated wards and rooms.
So, what is a fogger machine and how does it work?
The fogger machine uses pressure to create a fine mist (or fog) which is applied to the targeted area, the spray density normally being controlled by a manual valve to ensure the best results. Effective fogging sanitisation has 3 stages:
- Thoroughly clean the area to be fogged with a good clean agent
- Sanitise the area with a sanitiser accredited to EN14476 for effectiveness against the enveloped Coronavirus family
- Use the same sanitiser at the correct dosage for use in a fogging machine (you may need to check with the manufacturer for effectiveness, see notes under Testing Data below)
Key considerations for using a fogger machine to help combat COVID-19
Any machine that helps contain the spread of COVID-19 has got to be good, however the following points must be taken into consideration before using:
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The disinfectant productThe first issue is to review what disinfectant is being used in the machine and whether it is effective against killing COVID-19. Just to clarify, COVID-19 is part of the Coronavirus family of viruses ie. Coronavirus is its closest surrogate virus. Currently no single product is known to specifically kill COVID-19, however products that have been tested and are effective against the Coronavirus family carry the European standard EN14476. As such sanitisers carrying the EN14476 standard are recommended for use against COVID-19.
Testing DataSecondly, any chemical being dispersed via a fogger would need to have been tested using this application. If it doesn’t have the test data to support the stated efficacy of product via a fogging device then it is unlikely to be effective. If it is not clear, then it is recommended to contact the chemical manufacturer to clarify. According to Dr. Andrews Kemp Phd from the British Institute of Cleaning Science latest update on Bio-Fogging with Disinfectants, “unless you are using a disinfectant that has proven directly against COVID-19, you are only guessing that it will work whatever method of application you use and you should consider those surfaces still potentially contaminated.”
Risk AssessmentFinally, whenever using a new machine a risk assessment would need to have been conducted. In the case of a fogger machine you would need to consider things such as ingestion, the environment (for example electrical appliances as there is a high moisture content) and of course the product itself. Correct PPE would need to be worn according to the product, machine and the environment.
Remember: Chemicals should always be used with care, as the spray or mist can linger in the air, so time should be allowed for the solution to settle and do its work. Keeping an area clear of people when treatment is underway protects any operatives from inhaling any unpleasant chemicals.
You may like to check out the World Health Organisation’s document on the cleaning and disinfection of environmental surfaces in the context of COVID-19, it has a very useful piece on spraying disinfectants and other no-touch methods covering fogging and much more! Click here to read
Thanks for reading!
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