As the COVID-19 pandemic continues to threaten the general public, necessitating ongoing service restrictions and strict measures to contain the virus, facility operators across Canada are looking for guidance on how to go about, safely and lawfully, reopening their shuttered doors. For large commercial buildings – including stadiums, retail spaces, office towers and convention centres – the need for a comprehensive set of best practices was not only apparent, but urgently sought by the commercial real estate sector at large.
Answering this call, the GBAC (Global Biorisk Advisory Council) has launched the cleaning industry’s first and only “outbreak prevention, response and recovery accreditation” program aimed at large facility operators. Already gaining traction in the U.S., the GBAC STAR program is now taking the complication and uncertainty out of the reopening process here in Canada.
“GBAC STAR is the gold standard of safe facilities, providing third-party validation that ensures facilities implement strict protocols for biorisk situations,” says Patricia Olinger, Executive Director, Global Biorisk Advisory Council. “Accreditation empowers facility owners and managers to assure workers, customers, and key stakeholders that they have proven systems in place to deliver clean and healthy environments that are safe for business.”
Similar to other industry programs like ISO 9001, ISO 45001, and ISO 35001, the performance-based program enables facilities to create and maintain an effective cleaning, disinfection, and infectious disease prevention program. Accreditation is awarded once applicants have successfully demonstrated compliance with the program’s 20 elements, running the gamut from standard operating procedures to personal protective equipment and emergency preparedness and response.
Benefiting facility operators, staff, and occupants equally by safeguarding against future outbreaks, the program is paving the way for successful reopenings, while also giving stakeholders confidence that all the right steps are being taken to protect the asset’s reputation. As several leading organizations accredited by GABC STAR have already discovered, there are significant branding and marketing benefits inherent with the program.
“When our fans, players and staff are able to return to Hard Rock Stadium, we want them to have peace of mind that we’re doing everything we can to create the safest and healthiest environment possible,” says Tom Garfinkel, Vice Chairman and CEO, Miami Dolphins and Hard Rock Stadium. “We didn’t want to create our own standard, we wanted to be accountable to the most credible third-party standard that exists. Working with GBAC ensures compliance with critical guidelines for the highest standard of cleanliness, and it is our hope that other venues will follow suit as we navigate through these unprecedented times.”
Safety, preparedness and communication
Ideal for facilities, like offices, restaurants, hotels, airports, convention centres, and other public venues, GBAC STAR assesses a facility’s preparedness and provides staff with training for biorisk prevention and containment. The program also establishes a framework for ongoing communication.
“In the wake of the coronavirus pandemic, the GBAC STAR accreditation program is exactly what facilities need to confidently reopen and keep staff, customers, and communities safe.” says John Barrett, Executive Director, ISSA, who was instrumental in designing the new program. “The way the world views cleaning has changed overnight. To effectively recover from this crisis and prepare for the next, it’s essential that businesses take these necessary steps—and we’re thrilled to have a stable of top organizations that have already committed to the program.”
Program links and details
Commercial facility owners looking for outbreak prevention, response and recovery accreditation can follow the link here and use the promo code “MediaEdgeGS” for discounts on individual staff registrations.
ISSA has also released a new GBAC fundamentals online course specifically designed for cleaning workers on the frontlines of the coronavirus fight entitled “GBAC Fundamentals Online Course: Cleaning and Disinfection Principles.” By using the special promo code “MediaEdgeCourse” registrants can receive a discount off normal prices.
For additional program details and information, please email email@example.com or contact him at (416) 803-4653.