Sanitation Inspections: What You Need to Know in our “New Normal”

Sanitation inspections and cleans are at the core of ensuring health and life safety in built environments. The COVID-19 pandemic has changed how we clean and disinfect buildings and the standard of service that we expect. This is why we believe that the documentation and signing off on inspections is more important now, than ever before

We are in the middle of a global pandemic. As we get ready to return to the workplace, we know it’ll be different. Take a moment to think about your journey to your desk; how many people you’ll pass; how many things you’ll touch, such as your car steering wheel or transit handles, elevator buttons and door handles. Now think about your movement during the day, from your desk, to kitchen, back to desk, to meeting room, to washroom, to food court, back to your desk etc. You touch A LOT of things. In this sense, it’s difficult to keep track of what’s been cleaned, when and by whom. 

As a result, sanitation inspections have been impacted in two main ways: 

(1) Increased frequency of sanitation inspections & cleans
      •  Everything should be getting cleaned and at increased intervals, especially in common/high-traffic areas 
      • Examples include: washrooms, door handles, escalator handrails, elevator buttons, card readers, desks, kitchens, printers, cabinet handles, etc. 
      • Cleaning protocols, operations, training & PPE for staff should be examined and realigned to the “new normal” circumstances; cleaning should be treated as a strategic resource against the spread of COVID-19 
      • Cleaning protocols should be adjusted based on occupancy levels 

(2) Verification of work 
      • You're already keeping inspection records for mandated equipment/location inspections such as fire extinguishers, sprinkler valves, emergency power systems, etc., but in our "new normal", it's best practice to keep inspection records for sanitation inspections not mandated by law 
      • You'll want proof that the cleans were completed, time-stamped and signed off by a staff member
      • Verification of work will increase your due diligence and mitigate risk. It also helps create transparency and trust among employees and tenants 
      • We anticipate that there’ll be some eager employees or tenants that want to be assured that the appropriate cleaning protocols are being adhered to 
      • Having documentation of who inspected an area and when, especially over a history of time shows a consistent story of caring, as well as taking the necessary and reasonable precautions, which is really important, especially if something were to go awry or if there’s an outbreak at your facility 
      • Signing off on inspections puts more accountability on those performing the cleans and inspections 
      • Digital inspections and documentation can help streamline your inspection process and provide real-time data 
Don’t let a crisis go to waste”. I recently heard this quote and it stuck with me. 

Take this time to optimize and streamline your inspection processes so that you can mitigate risk, increase operational efficiency, demonstrate due diligence and create trust and transparency with your employees and tenants. Digital inspection tools can help. 

Our research shows that the cost of performing sanitation inspections and documentation with pen & paper is at least three times more expensive than digital solutions. 

There are a few technological options out there that digitize inspections and record keeping: 
      • Barcode systems – which use an app to scan a unique barcode and report on the location. This technology is good, but is not always accurate because reports can be falsified just as with pen and paper or electronic forms: by taking photos of the barcode and scanning them at one’s desk. 
      • Bluetooth beacons – which use a unique ID that’s broadcasted by the beacon and is picked up by your device that will show that you visited that area. Through our testing, we found this tech to be occasionally inaccurate as the device sometimes misses the signal; meaning that inspections can still fall through the cracks. The technology also doesn’t empower the inspector through checklists or give them a way to report that attention is required and it doesn’t ask the individual to verify that the clean has been performed, putting less accountability on the individual. 
      • Near-field communication (NFC) - which uses a microchip with a unique ID and when a device is placed in front of it, it reads the unique ID. We believe at this time, that NFC is the best technology for digital inspections and documentation because it works 100% of the time and individuals HAVE to visit each location and sign off on its completion. 
Switching from pen & paper to digital sanitation inspections eliminates the post-inspection work with automatic workflow and deficiencies are sent to the right people automatically. 

It also empowers the inspectors: 
      • confirms they are reporting on the right location 
      • ability to see remaining locations 
      • provides on-the-spot guidance through checklists 
      • easy-to-use technology with pre-populated responses and easy inputs 
Managers are also empowered by digital inspections: 
      • they now know each location was visited because inspectors have to scan each and every tag 
      • they have the ability to see the time of inspection, who the inspector was and status of each location 
      • are advised of any late, missed or inspections that require attention 
      • access to vital analytics and insights as well as access to accurate & organized inspection records 
In our “new normal”, digital inspections have even more significant benefits such as providing real-time data that can be displayed: 
      • on digital screens throughout your facility 
      • for staff/tenants to log in and see 
      • or pulled upon request 
Digital verifications help create trust and transparency through documented due diligence, which is in turn, is good for your brand. Digital verifications are becoming increasingly more important as more people return to work. 

Streamlining your sanitation inspections will also help with your POST Promise

The POST Promise is a pledge, led by the Business Council of Canada, urging businesses and employers to take 5 measures to reduce the spread of COVID-19 as we return to work. One of those 5 steps is to clean & disinfect regularly. This shows the magnitude of importance that sanitation inspections have. Your new operations for sanitation inspections will enable the Ontario workforce to go back to work safely; and if a second wave does hit, you will have documented evidence that you took the necessary actions. 

For more information on how Tap Report can help streamline your sanitation inspections, contact us at

COVID-related resources: