23 June 2021
By Elaine Murphy
The 30,000 small and medium firms in Cork must raise the bar on providing clean air or face resistance on staff returning to offices, a sanitisation expert has warned.
Office and retail businesses have an increased duty of care to provide a healthy environment as the Covid vaccine rollout fuels a partial end to remote working.
“After 15 months of hand hygiene and social distancing, people’s safety expectations have grown, so there is a major onus on firms to provide clean air for staff and customers,” said David Byrne, Managing Director of Irish firm Sanity System, whose ozone machines eliminate Covid 19.
CSO data shows there are 29,753 SMEs (small and medium enterprises), with less than 250 employees, in Cork.
“A cleaner simply dusting or vacuuming a school, shop or restaurant doesn’t cut it any more, and employees and consumers are likely to vote with their feet if they do not feel safe,” said Mr Byrne.
“People running businesses have a choice – they can either maintain the hygiene standards they had pre-Covid or raise the bar, like so many other sectors have, not only to re-open but to stay open.
“That applies whether you manage an office, school, shop or a children’s play centre; it means people can return to the working and leisure lives they had before, but with a higher degree of confidence.”
A week after the return of all retail last month, enquiries into Sanity System’s ozone machines soared by over 200%.
The spike in demand is driven by small firms and comes after research by employers’ group IBEC showed more than three quarters of businesses plan to return employees to their workplaces by August.
Hundreds of enquiries have also come in from bars and restaurants ahead of indoor hospitality reopening next month.
Sanity System distribute their machines worldwide from Dublin with significant sales in markets across Europe, along with Dubai and Japan.
The ‘plug and play’ licensed machines operate by using ozone gas to purify the air and surfaces of workplaces or vehicles – meaning glass, carpets, walls and other areas are safely cleaned.
The procedure then reverses itself to remove any remaining ozone so the room, office, site or vehicle can be used as soon as the process finishes.
The machines are used by Gardai and the National Ambulance Service as well as in a multitude of business settings.
“Typically, in any closed environment there is a bacterial load that builds up during the day,
once we insert the system and allow it to work, it reduces it to zero. It just sits in a room, there is no labour involved,” said Mr Byrne.
The machines can be rented at a low monthly cost – or bought outright on the firm’s website, Sanitysystem.ie.