Protecting staff and customers as SA continues to battle the third wave

Protecting staff and customers as SA continues to battle the third wave
Infection Protection Products’ Sanitouch brand has passed the necessary European Standard tests proving its efficacy against the Covid-19 virus

Amidst the looting, unrest and extensive destruction of property that has taken place in certain areas of South Africa recently it’s easy to forget that South Africa remains in the grips of the third wave of Covid-19 infections with a high rate of hospital admissions, particularly in Gauteng.

While the rollout of the Covid-19 vaccination programme is encouraging, and that vaccines help to prevent hospitalisations and severe disease in the majority of people, they may not necessarily rid the world of the virus. Although the Middle Eastern state has fully vaccinated around 60% of its population of more than nine million people, the country was put back on alert in June as the number of infections once again rose with the Delta variant making its presence felt.

Health experts had previously predicted that so-called ‘herd immunity’ to Covid-19 would be reached once vaccination rates were more than 60%. However, there is a growing realisation that the virus may continue to be part of our lives for some time to come, never truly going away, even once 60% or more of people are vaccinated.

The reality therefore is that we may have to reconcile ourselves with living with Covid-19 for some time to come. That means that irrespective of whether we’ve been fully vaccinated or not we will need to keep adhering to the recommended safety protocols, including wearing facial masks when in public, maintaining social distance from others and regularly washing hands with soap or water, or sanitising hands and surfaces when soap and water are not available.

The continued presence of the virus will continue to challenge businesses as they grapple with how to keep employees safe and productive. Purchases of reputable and safe sanitisers for the use of both customers and employees in order to ensure their health and safety will become a regular budgetary item. The challenge, however, is to avoid the many fly-by-night – and sometimes even unsafe – sanitising products that have started to appear in the market in the last 18 months.

One business that has long been focused on health and safety even prior to the Covid-19 pandemic is Infection Protection Products, a South African company that proudly pioneered the very first trolley wipes to the South African market in 2006. The development of trolley wipes was as a result of research which revealed that shopping trolleys are a breeding ground for bacteria, posing a particular risk for infants, children and the elderly.

Manufactured with a trusted disinfectant solution, Sani-touch trolley wipes offer an effective alternative to handwashing when soap and water is not available. Instantly recognisable by the patented red catch at the top of the bucket, Sani-touch wipes are easily distinguishable from other products which have subsequently crept into the market place.

In fact, so trusted has the brand become that its medical grade sanitisers and wipes have become trusted products used by healthcare services such as the South African National Blood Services, hospitals and clinics, as well as the retail, hospitality and catering industries.

A high grade of ethanol, an organic and natural by-product of plant fermentation, is used in the Sani-touch range. All products are produced in an ISO certified medical manufacturing facility with many products holding SABS marks. The SABS mark means that the products are independently audited and adhere to all the specifications in the mark requirement.

In the past year Sani-touch submitted its wipes and sanitisers for international testing to ensure they provide the necessary protection against the coronavirus. The entire Sani-touch range of medical grade sanitisers and wipes – including the Sani-touch trolley wipes – passed the Coronavirus EU 14476 test – a European Standard test – proving their efficacy against Coronavirus. The tests were conducted by an internationally accredited UKAS testing laboratory.

Sani-touch has always met and exceeded the alcohol requirements for hand sanitisers – even before the onset of the Covid-19 pandemic – and has always ensured that its products are correctly labelled according to South African labelling requirements as well as making sure customers have clear and accurate information for total peace of mind when they use Sani-touch products.

Less scrupulous manufacturers, however, have not always followed the same stringent protocols around compliance and quality standards. In fact, the rush for hand sanitisers in the early days of the pandemic and country-wide shortages resulted in a number of questionable sanitiser suppliers emerge, many of whom made false claims about their ingredients, included inadequate quantities of alcohol and even added harmful ingredients to their so-called ‘sanitisers’. Many of the new pre-saturated wipe and sanitiser suppliers have even added fraudulent certification marks on their product packaging.

For business owners doing their best to protect their staff and customers, it will be important to ensure that they are not associated with substandard sanitisers from unscrupulous manufacturers. To avoid these potentially unsafe products, check the labelling requirements, alcohol content and certifications. Avoid unknown brand names and rather insist on trusted brands from reputable manufacturers. In these uncertain times, it’s not worth risking the health of employees or customers for substandard products that provide inadequate protection.