Environmental services (EVS) staff serve on the front lines of the COVID-19 pandemic and play an extremely important role in impacting the safety of both patients and staff. 

Effective application of cleaning products, including disinfecting products, could mean the difference between life and death. Dedicated EVS staff regularly monitor the application of disinfectant products. Without their expert application, clinical staff would be unable to continue to care for patients in health care settings. 

EVS staff focus on training, including advocating for the use of manufacturers’ recommendations for dwell times of certain disinfecting products. These recommendations are critical to effectively manage and reduce the spread of COVID-19 and other diseases on high-touch and other surfaces. 

Effective cleaning of medical equipment by EVS teams is critical, as is prompt and efficient disposal of trash, which also contributes to a clean environment. Effective trash disposal is imperative, whether in the operating room or other venues, when working with red bag trash and sharps.

Many EVS teams oversee trash removal and ensure cradle-to-grave disposal so that trash does not manifest. Lack of proper trash removal is an often-cited finding during tri-annual Joint Commission accreditation surveys.