The Global Biorisk Advisory Council, a division of ISSA which has been accrediting venues for its cleaning, disinfection and infection prevention measures, has launched a searchable directory for event organizers to identify facilities that have earned or are committed to achieving the GBAC Star accreditation.
“We’re excited to unveil this new tool to help the public discover which facilities are taking important steps forward with their approach to cleaning,” said GBAC Executive Director Patricia Olinger. “The GBAC STAR program has more than 250 facilities accredited and 3,000-plus committed to accreditation in more than 80 countries, with additional facilities added daily. This results in an impressive directory that is easily searchable and always accessible.”
The directory can be found here. The GBAC STAR Facility Directory is a searchable listing of facilities around the world including stadiums and arenas, convention centers, hotels, restaurants, airports, commercial facilities and more. Accredited facilities have completed a screening process to ensure they have established goals and risk mitigation strategies, implemented effective tools, equipment and supplies and prioritized training, prevention, and preparation.
“GBAC STAR accreditation indicates that behind the scenes, facilities are properly conducting cleaning and disinfection to keep employees and visitors safe,” said ISSA Executive Director John Barrett. “This new directory is a visual resource that instills confidence in consumers as they aim to normalize their daily lives during this pandemic and into the future.”
So, what is GBAC Star Facility Accreditation all about?
The Global Biorisk Advisory Council is a division of the ISSA, which is the world’s leading trade association for the cleaning industry. The GBAC STAR Accreditation program focuses on cleaning, disinfecting and preventing infectious diseases — such as COVID-19. It is the industry’s top outbreak prevention, response and recovery accreditation and requires facilities to put in place practices, protocols, procedures and more to control the risks that are associated with infectious agents such as the coronavirus.
Where can it be useful?
Well, anywhere that there are planned social gatherings. Even before you get past the local, state and national guidelines for social distancing, there are a variety of hygiene protocols that any venue will want to have in place to assure visitors of their safety. The STAR program gives an assessment of a facility’s preparedness and trains staffers at the facilities to prevent and contain biorisks. It also establishes guidelines for communication with the public. Venues of all shapes and sizes — indoor arenas and convention centers, outdoor sports stadiums and complexes — are seeking its approval.
Tests? I thought I was done taking tests when I graduated college.
Well, you weren’t. The program bills itself as “performance-based” and will help facilities that don’t already have procedures in place — or do but want to upgrade them — to set up systems for cleaning, disinfection and infectious disease prevention for a venue’s staff. It will teach those that take the program disinfection techniques and best practices for cleaning biohazards like COVID-19.
How long does it take?
It’s not about time, it’s about thoroughness. There are 20 different elements within the program, whether it’s setting up standard operating procedures, assessing risks and strategizing on how to minimize them, or things such as personal protective equipment and response measures to emergencies. Facilities have to apply online and provide documents and supporting evidence with an application to the GBAC STAR Accreditation Council.
Wait. It’s called the STAR program? Do I get a gold star when it’s completed?
Maybe? And even if you don’t get a gold star from the program, you can always get a gold star at your locally owned craft store nearby. What you do get, regardless of a star, is being able to tell potential event organizers and crowds that your facility has strict cleaning protocols for diseases such as COVID-19, protecting those who are in your venue in the future while being prepared should an outbreak occur in your facility. The accreditation will certify that your venue’s cleaning staff have been trained in best practices for disinfecting the complex and are certified in infectious disease response.