In our current COVID-19 world, we see examples every day of true frontline heroes. These people are out there going above and beyond their call of duty, and despite the stress of being potentially exposed to the virus, and other challenges such as being away from family, or the uncomfortable protective wear required, they put themselves on the line every day to serve and protect their communities at large.

In this special spotlight series, we are celebrating our very own front-line workers, our cleaners, who are out there cleaning Melbourne and Sydney commercial offices, workplaces and residential homes, helping them to stay safe and clean during the coronavirus pandemic.

From proactive sanitisation cleaning to prevent the spread of Covid-19, to full-fledged Covid-19 response disinfections, our cleaners are committed to being part of the solution to keep our community safe and businesses compliant so they are able to continue operating.

You will get to know the people behind the masks, hear about what it takes to suit up and perform a Covid safe disinfection and some of the challenges involved behind the scenes.

You will discover that they are just normal people, many whom are not from Australia originally, and yet stepped up in the crisis, underwent intensive coronavirus cleaning training, and ran towards an unprecedented challenge that many would run away from.

Q1. What is your name, where are you from and how long have you been part of the Planet Earth team?

Nicolas Jaramillo, I am originally from Bogota Colombia, and have been with The Planet Earth Cleaning Company since I arrived in Australia in 2014.

Q2. Tell us something about yourself?

I absolutely love the bush, there is nothing like being out there. Anything that involves trees, mud, and no phone signal, I will be happy. I always carry spare clothes with me, as I have a special talent of getting dirty (climbing trees, rocks, anything I can put my hands on).

Q3. What does it mean to you to be part of the covid-19 response cleaning team?

It has been an interesting experience. It is a bit nerve racking each time we go to a job, but it also feels great to know we are providing peace of mind, and most importantly providing them with the opportunity to continue operating their business safely.

Q4. How do you feel when you suit upand are about to perform a covid-19 disinfection clean?

It is sort of surreal, the amount of gear and precautions we have to take is unlike anything else we do.  

Q5. What is the biggest challenge when you are performing a covid-19 disinfection? How do you overcome this challenge?

The biggest challenge is always time, usually the jobs come in last minute and require urgent attention. We have an amazing team, both the field cleaners and in the office, that work thoroughly to manage all the logistics. Apart from that, the heat of the suits – it feels like a 40-degree summer day in there!

Q6. What is the most rewarding part about being a cleaner during the current pandemic?

To know that we are playing a key role in ensuring things go back to normal. Keeping workplaces safe and attending to sites that have been exposed so they can continue to operate. Our work does not go unnoticed, and this keeps us motivated to push harder for each of our clients.

Q7. What do your friends and family think about what you do?

They are proud that I take my work commitments seriously. They get a bit concerned when it comes to Covid response, but rest assured that we have all the measures in place to perform a job safely.

Q8. What is the work mantra that you live by?

“Find a way”.

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