Global public health organization NSF International has launched a new program to help businesses, schools and cultural institutions take the necessary steps to reopen and stay open while minimizing coronavirus risk for customers, guests and employees.
NSF’s new Checked by NSF program includes a wide variety of services — from a smart phone app that details COVID-19 prevention requirements for specific types of business to in-depth consulting services and customized reopening plans based on the latest public health guidance.
“There’s no shortage of guidance from public health authorities,” said Paul Medeiros, Managing Director of NSF International’s Consulting and Technical Services group. “People are swimming in guidance, but they need help operationalizing the guidance and applying it to their own unique situations.”
NSF is currently consulting with the Detroit Institute of Arts and Midtown Detroit Inc. in Detroit, Mich., on COVID-19 prevention and reopening plans.
Separate from the guidance and consulting services, NSF also checks facilities to help ensure appropriate preventive measures are in place. The Checked by NSF service gives business owners and managers valuable data about their own preparedness for reopening and provides peace of mind to customers and visitors who may be concerned about exposure to the virus.
“The services are designed to be flexible because each business or location will have different needs and requirements,” Medeiros said. “For some clients, use of our app and an industry-specific checklist may be enough. But others are looking for more in-depth consultations on specific locations and issues. And some simply want us to check their locations to make sure they aren’t missing anything.”
Locations that successfully meet the requirements for each of three phases of the program will be granted permission to post the Checked by NSF signage on-site. Compliance checks are performed with self-assessments using the new Checked by NSF app, remote audits or on-site audits.
The three phases include required tasks and procedures for pre-open, reopen and stay open. A QR code on the signage helps customers validate the claims and understand what each location is doing to protect visitors and employees from COVID-19.
The three phases of the program cover the following requirements:
- Phase 1 (Pre-Open): Completion of phase 1 means the location has completed development of the required safety procedures, policies and plans.
- Phase 2 (Reopen): Completion of phase 2 means the location has successfully implemented the required safety procedures, policies and plans.
- Phase 3 (Stay Open): Completion of phase 3 means the location is successfully maintaining and improving the required safety procedures and policies.
“COVID-19 is new, but infection control and good hygiene requirements are not. NSF has been doing this sort of public health and safety work for 75 years,” Medeiros said.
NSF International is an independent, global organization that facilitates standards development, and tests and certifies products for the food, water, health sciences and consumer goods industries to minimize adverse health effects and protect the environment. Founded in 1944, NSF is committed to protecting human health and safety worldwide. With operations in 180 countries, NSF International is a Pan American Health Organization/World Health Organization (WHO) Collaborating Center on Food Safety, Water Quality and Indoor Environment.