Ultraviolet Disinfection Usage by Industry – Amid Covid-19 Pandemic and After

COVID-19 has changed the way we as a country operate. From personal protective equipment, such as masks and face shields, to social distancing and occupation restrictions on indoor and outdoor areas, we continue to adjust to a “new normal”.

As businesses adjust to government restrictions, health code modifications, and other fallout from the coronavirus pandemic, sanitation becomes even more vital to daily operations. With disinfection becoming even more of a priority, technologies that were once secularly used, become much more appealing.

One such technology is known as germicidal ultraviolet (UV) lighting.

Below, the experts with Action Services Group explain why germicidal UV light may be right for you. We also dive into ultraviolet disinfection usage by industry, and how they have been employing this technology to help reduce the spread of viruses and bacteria.

Using UV-C Lighting for Businesses

Germicidal UV light has been used for decades by the healthcare industry. Utilizing the intense strength of UV-C light, these fixtures are proven to help reduce the spread of microorganisms. Because they damage the RNA and DNA of pathogens, such as viruses and bacteria, UV-C lighting can prevent them from reproducing. This leads to the inactivation of these pathogens, leading to disinfection.

When used in combination with manual cleaning methods, UV-C lighting can kill up to 99.99% of all microorganisms. Proven effective against e. coli, MRSA, and other hard-to-eradicate viruses, UV-C applications are highly recommended for any facility looking to guarantee a clean, safe environment for occupants.


You have probably been scouring the internet looking for information on whether UV-C Light can kill the Coronavirus. While we have been inundated with UV products, the majority of them either are not powerful enough or and not being used appropriately to truly disinfect. In our blog, Can UV Disinfection Lamps Kill Covid-19, we explain the different virus classifications, UV product validation, and more. You can read it here and find more articles within our UV Lighting and Workplace Safety Series.


UV-C Applications

When it comes to most industry applications, there are three types of fixtures that are more commonly recommended. While they are not the only three types of fixtures available, HVAC fixtures, upper-room fixtures, and mobile units are the most ideal for industry applications.

HVAC Fixtures

Any building with an industrial HVAC system can benefit from the use of these fixtures. Installed either on the coils or within the duct, these fixtures help to purify the air as it flows through the HVAC system. It should be noted that these fixtures will not disinfect surfaces or prevent the spread of bacteria and viruses as they occur between people. However, they significantly reduce the likelihood of contracting an airborne illness.

They also help to eliminate mold and bacterial growth within the HVAC system itself. As these may also lead to health risks for occupants, HVAC fixtures can ensure these potentially dangerous microorganisms are eradicated before they reach people.

Based on your system, experts can help identify which devices will work best for your HVAC.


If you are considering adding a UV product to your HVAC system, we highly recommend reading UV Lighting Disinfection: HVAC vs Upper-Room UV Fixtures. In this article, the different types of UV fixtures are broken down and their Pros and Cons are spelled out for you, so you and your organization can make an informed decision on what solution may be right for your business.


Upper-Room Fixtures

Upper-room fixtures are mounted at least seven feet above floor level. This ensures that UV-C rays remain above our heads, preventing exposure while still providing powerful disinfection. As such, the Illuminating Engineering Society recommended upper-room fixtures as their number one way to help reduce the spread of viruses and bacteria.

As with the HVAC fixtures, a reputable expert can provide insight into which units will best meet your needs. Whether your facility requires continuous disinfection or perhaps could do with after-hour applications, a professional can help you determine which product is ideal.

Mobile Units

Germicidal mobile units have several applications that can be very beneficial for some industries. For transit centers, such as airports and train stations, these units can be used to individually clean seats and surface areas within aircraft, subway cars, and buses. (Taxi drivers may also find them useful!) For example, as of August, United Airlines announced their use of a mobile unit called “The Blade” in their cockpits to ensure pilots are safe from COVID-19 as well. The Blade, which is a handheld mobile device, is ideal for hard-to-reach applications and is safe for use on buttons and screens.

Businesses that offer the use of restrooms to occupants, such as restaurants and retail stores, may also find mobile units convenient.

Best Practices for Using UV Products

Because UV-C lamps provide invisible but intense rays, there are safety precautions that should be taken when in use. These recommended ultraviolet disinfection usage by industry guidelines are as follows:

1)      UV-C lighting should only be used when an area is not occupied.

As a general rule, UV-C lighting is not safe for humans. It can cause irritations to skin and eyes, which may range from minor to severe based on the duration and closeness of exposure. It is highly recommended that warning signs and signals be installed outside of the room to ensure potential occupants remain outside the area while the UV-C lamps are operating. (You can learn more about safety guidelines and recommended mitigations by reading our Product Guidelines for Ultraviolet Lighting Safety blog.)

2)      Follow the practices recommended by your Operator’s Manual, as well as any training provided.

Reputable UV-C lamp manufacturers will always provide an Operator’s Manual. Some may even provide training or recommend classes that could be taken to ensure safe use of their product. We highly encourage you to read these manuals and attend training.

3)      Germicidal UV use does not eliminate the need for manual cleaning.

UV-C lights should be used in addition to continuing with regular manual cleaning. Manual cleaning is an essential part of any facility’s disinfection process. UV-C lighting works best in addition to these practices; consider it the final stage of a thorough cleaning.


After reading the last section you probably have additional questions concerning safety. We have an in-depth blog on UV safety. We highly recommend reading, Installation and Product Guidelines for Ultraviolet Lighting Safety. With the proper precautions, UV lighting can be used safely.


Ultraviolet Disinfection Usage by Industry

Now that you understand more about germicidal UV and the safety guidelines, it is time to dig into how ultraviolet disinfection usage by industry plays an important role in disinfection.

Senior Care Facilities

Ultraviolet Disinfection for Senior Care FacilitiesIt has never been more apparent than now, with the spread of COVID-19, that our aging generation faces threats we may not. With seniors being the most likely to contract COVID-19 and, unfortunately, die from it – keeping nursing homes and other senior care facilities disinfected is a priority.

UV-C fixtures, such as PURO™ Helo fixtures, can be installed in common areas, such as meeting rooms, group kitchens, and lounges. With built-in motion sensors, these devices shut off when an occupant is detected, ensuring accidental exposure is prevented.

Mobile units, which are not as recommended, may be used pending operation reviews. Since these devices should only be used when a room is not occupied, it would be extremely important that proper training is taken and safety measures are strictly enforced.

Schools and Childcare Facilities

Ultraviolet Disinfection for Schools and Child CareWe put a lot of faith in our schools and childcare facilities. Whether your child is an infant or a college student, you want to know you have sent them off to a safe, clean, and healthy environment. Because of the dynamic nature of these spaces, there are several different fixtures or units that could be used to ensure areas are disinfected.

Installing PURO™ Helo fixtures in classrooms, locker rooms and restrooms provide intense disinfection after hours. As areas where children are most likely to spend the majority of their day, contamination is most likely to occur in these spaces. Running fixtures overnight can ensure disinfection.

Mobile UV units, like the PURO™ Sentry devices, allow custodians to tailor cleanings. Not all schools, day cares or other childcare facilities operate the same way. Different spaces may require a more custom approach, allowing for the use of a mobile device instead of installing fixtures in each space.

 


To learn more about the disinfecting power of UV-C Lighting and how it pertains to educational facilities, try reading our blog, UV-C Germicidal Lighting for Schools and Universities.

 


Retail Stores

Ultraviolet Disinfection for Retail and RestroomsOccupational limits, social distancing markers, and aisle traffic-control signs are just some of the ways retail stores have been able to reopen during the pandemic. However, this does not truly decrease the risk of contamination if a sick person, who has not yet started showing signs, does enter the store.

Areas, such as restrooms, are breeding grounds for bacteria and viruses. Germicidal UV fixtures, like those developed by PURO™, offer stronger radiation after hours to ensure a completely disinfected area once the store reopens. In addition to manual cleaning, these fixtures are able to reach into each and every corner, where brushes and rags may not fully cover, to ensure a thorough clean.

 

 


For retail locations your restrooms, if available to the public, is going to need continuous disinfecting. We have an in-depth blog on the benefits of ultraviolet lighting for restrooms that can be found here. If considering installing UV lighting fixtures, you are also going to want to review information on lighting control systems. You can find a full series on this topic here.


Restaurants

Ultraviolet Disinfection for RestaurantsThe Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) estimate that more than 48 million Americans become sick after exposure to foodborne illnesses every year. With roughly 250 different types of foodborne illnesses that have been identified by researchers, it becomes clear that COVID-19 is not the only potential health hazard when dining in a restaurant.

High traffic areas, such as restrooms and kitchens, are ideal spaces for the use of UV-C fixtures. Approved by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), PURO™ Helo fixtures can be used in these spaces while the restaurant is closed overnight without affecting food products.

 

 


For restaurants, your restrooms are going to need disinfecting. We have an in-depth blog on the benefits of ultraviolet lighting for restrooms that can be found here. For your kitchen needs, we have another blog specifically created to offer you insights into the use of UV disinfection for restaurants and their kitchens. If considering installing UV lighting fixtures, you are also going to want to review information on lighting control systems. You can find a full series on this topic here.


Hotels

Ultraviolet Disinfection for HotelsGuests like to stay in clean, well-kept rooms. UV-C lighting can help ensure a germ-free stay without overburdening custodial services. When reviewing ultraviolet disinfection usage by industry, hotels are a hotspot for both installed fixtures and mobile units.

Ensuring the common spaces are disinfected can help prevent guests from cross-contaminating each other and your staff. Mobile disinfection units, like those developed by PURO™, can take tailored cleaning to another level entirely. Areas, such as elevators, emergency egresses and guest suites can all benefit from the use of these devices.

Hospitals and Healthcare Facilities

Ultraviolet Disinfection for HospitalHospitals were some of the first to use germicidal UV lighting – even before the COVID-19 pandemic. In fact, thanks to this, we already know that germicidal UV can help reduce the spread of healthcare-associated infections that may be caused by the spread of bacteria and viruses between patient rooms, surgical suites, operating rooms, and laboratories.

Mobile units allow medical and custodial staff to safely target specific areas requiring UV-C disinfection. They also help to reduce installation costs by offering a more portable device, which may be shared amongst several rooms instead of having different fixtures installed in each space. The PURO™ Sentry product line includes several different sized portable devices that can accommodate hospital use.

The overhead PURO™ Helo lines are also useful for hospitals and medical centers. Operating rooms and surgical suites are only occupied as needed. Additionally, because of the dangers associated with potential contamination during surgery, it is absolutely essential that these spaces be disinfected and sanitized with the utmost care.


Many of those in the healthcare industry have been utilizing UV lighting for some time, for those new to the concept, we have a dedicated blog just for you. You can read more about this topic in, UV Lighting for Hospitals – Eliminating up to 9707 Percent of Pathogens.


Commercial Offices

Ultraviolet Disinfection for Office SpaceCommercial offices were severely impacted by the COVID-19 outbreak. While many are currently still working from home, there are still some who must be in office to perform their duties. But this won’t always be the case and office space activities will eventually resume. Not only can thoroughly disinfecting spaces give your employees peace of mind, but it may also lead to fewer sick days. (After all, germicidal UV lighting kills more than just the coronavirus.)

For office spaces that may have personnel on-site at any hour, experts recommend the Puro™ Sentry line. These units can be moved to areas that are not in use and once the disinfection process is complete, they can be moved to the next unoccupied room.

For office buildings with set hours, the PURO™ Helo line may be ideal. These fixtures use a broad-spectrum blend of UV, including UV-C. Just like the Puro™ Sentry line these fixtures should not be used when occupants are present as there is no protective layer between the light and human exposure.

Banks

Ultraviolet Disinfection for BanksOn a regular day, banks may receive hundreds of visitors. ATMs, which may be inside or outside of a bank branch or elsewhere, are touched by thousands of fingers. Buttons, counters, furniture in waiting areas, and even pens can be breeding grounds for bacteria.

When considering ultraviolet disinfection usage by industry, UV-C fixtures such as those developed by PURO™ Lighting, are convenient and easy ways to help reduce the spread of bacteria and viruses. With built-in motion sensors and the ability to be paired with timers, these devices can be scheduled to automatically run for the required length of time during non-operational hours.

Airports and Transit Stations

Ultraviolet Disinfection for TransportationBefore COVID-19, Transportation Security Administration (TSA) data indicated that over two million people passed through their airport checkpoints. While there are still plenty of restrictions that limit these numbers today, travel will eventually resume, and the TSA expects airports to become bustling centers of activity once again. As meccas of diversity, where individuals from all walks of life may come into contact, keeping these areas clean and disinfected can go a long way in continuing to fight the spread of illnesses.

Transit stations, such as those used for trains and buses, are another hot spot for the spread of germs. From mass gatherings on train platforms, to the close proximity of individuals seated on trains and buses, these locations can lead to significant outbreaks of airborne and surface illnesses. New York City is already using UV products to help combat the spread of bacteria and viruses. In fact, the Metropolitan Transportation Authority announced in May that they would begin using mobile PURO™ lighting units to clean buses and subway cars.

Professional UV Lighting Installation with Action Services Group

The professionals with Action Services Group have a comprehensive understanding of ultraviolet disinfection usage by industry and years of experience working with lighting fixtures. If you are interested in learning more about UV disinfection and how your business may benefit from the use of these fixtures, contact Action Services Group today by calling 610-558-9773 or email [email protected]. You can also schedule a call by clicking the button below.

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