NSF International, an Ann Arbor-based global public health organization, has launched a program to help businesses, schools, and cultural institutions take the necessary steps to reopen and stay open while minimizing COVID-19 risk for guests and employees. The organization is working with the Detroit Institute of Arts and Midtown Detroit Inc. on prevention and reopening plans.
NSF’s new Checked by NSF program includes services from a smart phone app that details COVID-19 prevention requirements for specific types of business to consulting services and customized reopening plans based on the latest public health guidance.
“There’s no shortage of guidance from public health authorities,” says Paul Medeiros, managing director of the consulting and technical services group at NSF International. “People are swimming in guidance, but they need help operationalizing the guidance and applying it to their own unique situations.”
Separate from the guidance and consulting services, NSF also checks facilities to ensure preventive measures are in place. The Checked by NSF service gives business owners and managers data about their preparedness for reopening.
“The services are designed to be flexible because each business or location will have different needs and requirements,” Medeiros says. “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 the three phases of the program – pre-open, reopen, and stay open – will be granted permission to post 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.
A QR code on the signage that customers can scan on their smart phones helps them validate the Checked by NSF claims and understand what each location is doing to protect visitors and employees from COVID-19.
Completion of the pre-open phase means the location has completed development of the required safety procedures, policies, and plans. Completion of the reopen phase means the location has implemented the required safety procedures, policies, and plans. Completion of the stay open phase 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 says.
More information on the Checked by NSF services is available by emailing NSFservices@nsf.org.
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 in an effort to minimize adverse health effects and protect the environment. It was founded in 1944 and has operations in 180 countries. It is a Pan American Health Organization/World Health Organization Collaborating Center on Food Safety, Water Quality, and Indoor Environment.