Navigating the options when it comes to cleaning products, disinfecting policies and procedures in a post-COVID-19 world can be overwhelming.
“Everybody is selling some sort of product that is better than everybody else’s. It’s really hard to cut that down and actually see what you need and know what you need to actually spend resources on rather than writing a check for $25,000 worth of things that may not be relevant,” said Matt Dance, Director of Safety and Risk Management for Champion Coach.
That’s why UMA’s Risk Management Committee tackled the topic and developed the UMA AssurClean initiative to offer operators a way to show they are complying with published guidelines from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
The committee compiled all information from the CDC into a seven-point list that members can formally acknowledge to show they are following the established guidance. Additionally, participants will receive free decals for their vehicles, along with a certificate of participation, to show compliance.
The program will be rolled out for members in July.
“We’re super excited about this program and certificate, and something really tangible that we can give to you and you’ll be able to pass that on to your customers, and hopefully that will help,” said Dance, who led the committee.
Also on the committee were Alan Thrasher, President of Thrasher Brother Trailways; John Grzywacz, CEO of CIT Signature Transportation; James Brown, Owner of Magic Carpet Tours and Bus Service, Inc.; Tim Stout, President of Stout’s Transportation; and Ken Presley, UMA Vice President, Legislative & Regulatory Affairs & Industry Relations/COO. The group met with industry partners over the past few months to develop the plan.
As part of their extensive research, the committee reached out to the CDC to ask for guidance specific to the motorcoach industry. They were referred to the CDC’s guidance for bus transit operators and rail transit operators — and its cleaning and disinfecting guidelines for non-emergency transport vehicles.
The CDC also recommended motorcoach operators, like other transit operators, reach out to local public health officials to establish ongoing communications to facilitate access to relevant information before and during any local COVID-19 outbreak.
After working with the CDC, the committee came up with the UMA AssurClean Acknowledgment, consisting of seven individual acknowledgments. They are:
- Designate someone to be responsible for COVID-19 concerns.
- Provide all employees with information about COVID-19, including training and access to proper handwashing to prevent the spread of disease.
- Conduct worksite assessments to identify prevention strategies.
- When possible, use products recommended by the CDC and other government agencies.
- Use products that meet the Environmental Protection Agency’s list of disinfectants and provide training.
- Coordinate with local and/or state agencies to establish ongoing communication.
- Monitor federal regulations and public health agency guidelines as appropriate.
The information is intended not to be overwhelming, and with the understanding that each operation is unique, so what works for one might not work for another. There are sources to help companies make decisions and develop specific policies.
‘Make it your own’
Dance recommends paying attention to how airlines, which have bigger marketing and public relations teams, are communicating with their customers.
“Airlines have done a fantastic job of letting us know what they’re doing. Go on the airlines’ social media, see what they’re posting, and then just make your own. I saw Southwest actually posted a chemical that they were using — which is what we are using, so I thought that was pretty cool,” he said.
Dance praises OEMs for providing a lot of research and encourages UMA members to reach out to them.
“They’ve gone back to the drawing board on a lot of their systems to answer these questions. They provided all this information and provided additional toolkits, as well as policies and procedures that you can make your own, so definitely use them as a resource,” he said.
Operators can get started by signing up for the program at assurclean.com and requesting the free decals and a certificate to show customers that they are meeting the CDC’s high standards.
They can also watch the online presentation about the new UMA initiative and follow UMA for updates on the launch.