International Sanitary Supply Association (ISSA), the global association for the cleaning industry, is campaigning for the local industry to be deemed as an essential service.
The association, which represents cleaning and disinfecting manufacturers, distributors and service providers, has been working with multiple federal governments, including Australia’s state and federal bodies.
“The cleaning industry forms a part of Australia’s ‘essential infrastructure’ due to its vital role in protecting public health and hygiene,” stated Lauren Micallef, ISSA oceania manager, in its submission.
“Our members’ products and cleaning services protect medical institutions, aged care facilities, schools, day care centres, grocery stores, manufacturing plants, warehouses, office buildings and other institutions. This is an important service to society in normal times and even more critical now as the deactivation and removal of the SARS-CoV-2 virus helps reduce spread of infection.
“As cases of COVID-19 rise in Australia and many other countries around the world, so have social distancing measures and restrictions on certain ‘non-essential’ businesses.
“ISSA and their members understand and acknowledge that in some instances, drastic steps are being taken, including shutting down businesses deemed non-essential. However, as potential next phases evolve and are announced, cleaning workers, cleaning products and services will continue to be called upon even after further lock-downs are initiated.
“Therefore, ISSA is making communication of cleaning’s essential status to core decision makers in Australia a primary focus, in addition to its many new resources created to help the industry provide responsible cleaning, disinfecting and health protection.”
The Facilities Management Association (FMA) and the Australasian High-Pressure Water Jetting Association (AUSJET), have also asked the federal government to deem both industries as essential services.
The FMA, the peak national body for the facilities management industry, has recommended the work of FM professionals, HVAC and maintenance, security and cleaning professionals be considered essentials as part of any measures put in place in response to Covid-19 including lockdown.
“It is important that the interests and requirements of facilities management professionals are understood and incorporated into policy responses,” the FMA stated in its submission.
“It is important that there is an understanding of the vital role facilities management professionals play in ensuring that facilities continue to function safely and efficiently. This includes management of life safety systems, hygiene and infection control, and essential services maintenance.
“For these reasons, the association has recommended that the work of facilities management professionals, as well as HVAC and maintenance, security and cleaning professionals and essential services measures, be considered essential as part of any measures put in place in response to COVID-19, including lockdown.”
In its submission, AUSJET, incorporating the Australasian Drain Cleaning and Vacuum Association (ADCVA), said not deeming services essential could put industry, government and the community at further health risk”.
AUSJET/ADVCA is the peak industry body for businesses involved in providing industrial cleaning, liquid waste management and asset maintenance services.
“We have a concern that apart from NSW there is no prescribed list of essential services legislated in other states and territories. As such our members activities could be deemed as “non-essential” in states outside of NSW, for the purposes of implementing control measures to restrict the movement of COVID-19 in the community.
“Whilst AUSJET/ADCVA member and our wider industry participants fully supports the need for tighter controls to prevent the transmission of the COVID-19, and our members have implemented all directives issues by the government in relation to social distancing and hygiene.
“We are very concerned that if our industry businesses are deemed ‘nonessential’, that this would cause harm to the community and nation at large. Closing vital services that support vital infrastructure and help maintain public hygiene.
“The Australian public rely on water reticulation and treatment, sewage collection and treatment, power generation, waste transport services, vacuum, drain cleaning and high-pressure water cleaning are essential to maintain these services.
“Industrial, commercial and residential sectors also rely on industrial cleaning and liquid waste companies to keep their businesses and homes functioning. The community relies on us to clean out their septic tank at home, an obvious health issue. It is vitally important that our members are permitted to continue to operate to provide the critical products and service support as may be required.”
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INCLEAN is published by the Intermedia Group on behalf of ISSA