At XPO, we’re committed to protecting the safety of our employees. When a colleague tests positive for COVID-19 or reports being in close contact with someone who’s tested positive for COVID-19, we employ protocols to ensure our facilities are properly cleaned so everyone can work safely.
Prevention is paramount
Our safety process starts with prevention. Between each shift, cleaning crews use disinfectant cleaning products to wipe down surfaces in areas that are heavily trafficked and equipment that’s shared by our employees, including stairway railings, doorknobs, light switches, chairs, restrooms, filing cabinets, vending machines, faucet handles and pallet jacks. The second layer of our daily prevention routine is screening. Before each new shift begins, site managers verbally ask employees five questions about their health, travel and contact with others. If they’re unable to answer affirmatively, we ask that they self-quarantine as appropriate.
Because of the nature of the virus and national testing shortages, it’s frequently impossible to know whether employees who feel sick are suffering from a cold, allergies or COVID-19. If an employee goes home sick, even without a positive COVID-19 test, we do another round of thorough disinfecting that focuses on every area where the employee worked or was in the facility, as well as heavily trafficked areas.
When we’re notified that an employee has tested positive, we move to the next step – deep cleaning.
In our supply chain and transportation businesses, we have internal triage teams that quickly gather information about where the affected person worked and any interactions they had with others. Our teams use that information to determine whether to do targeted deep cleaning – isolating one area of our workplace where the employee worked – or to deep clean the entire facility. For example, in distribution centers, which can be as large as one million square feet, employees tend to work in designated areas, whereas drivers, who are more mobile within facilities, might oversee the loading or unloading of freight on the dock, drive to another facility to drop or pick up a trailer, visit the shop to talk with a mechanic, go into the office to pick up dispatch orders and then rest in the breakroom. We assess all the factors and make the appropriate determination on deep cleaning protocols and whether to close an entire facility, multiple facilities or the potentially affected area.
When a facility is closed fully or partially for deep cleaning, resulting in employees needing to stop work, we send them home with 100% pay continuation for up to three days.
Deep cleaning defined
Given the size of our facilities, the volume of freight and inventory, and our fleet of trucks, forklifts, trailers and other pieces of equipment, we contract industrial cleaning experts who sanitize our workplaces using a cleaning technology called electrostatic disinfectant treatment.
An advanced power sprayer distributes disinfectant solution into the air inside the facility until the chemical has covered all exposed surfaces. The cleaning is an eco-friendly, medical-grade disinfectant solution that targets and deactivates germs, bacteria and viruses, including the coronavirus. The disinfectant carries the EPA’s highest grade for safety and non-toxicity and does not produce harmful residues, toxic byproducts and fumes. Any germs or viruses, including COVID-19, are eradicated within 10 minutes of sanitization, and the facility is safe to reopen to employees within 30 minutes.
This method is much more thorough than traditional approaches of manually cleaning surfaces, especially in large areas like trucking terminals and distribution centers. Each sprayer covers 10,000 square feet per hour, quickly eradicating the virus, and disinfects hard-to-reach and high-touch areas, such as machines, walls, door handles, cabinet handles, faucets and keyboards.
We partner with industrial cleaning companies that specialize in this approach. These companies bring crews of up to 35 professionally certified cleaning specialists on-site, including an industrial hygienist, who oversees adherence to all safety protocols and ensures proper disinfecting methods.
Throughout the cleaning process, the crew wears hazmat suits, eye protection, respirators and nitrile disposable gloves. Facilities are only reopened once the industrial hygienist certifies that the facility has been thoroughly sanitized.
The deep cleaning process is coupled with hand-wipe disinfecting of high-touch areas, such as door handles, cabinet handles, faucets and keyboards, as well as all floors and walls up to 10 feet. In one service center, 200 trucks and a hundred forklifts were also sanitized by hand.
Taken together, these steps are part of how we’re working to continually protect our employees.