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Celebrating our innovators

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Early in February 2020 COVID-19 had not yet reached all corners of the globe and had not yet been declared a pandemic. However, Technical Services Specialist Chemical HSEQ partner Hooman Javaheri recognised what was to come. The virus was spreading rapidly in his home country of Iran.

It was well known then that the critical controls for preventing the spread of the virus are hand and surface sanitisation and elevated hygiene protocols. Hooman suggested that Waste Management could prepare bulk hand sanitiser for the company, as it was becoming harder to procure due to supply shortages.

He recognised this situation as an opportunity to put his chemical handling and manufacturing knowledge to use, sourcing chemical reagent and formulating an appropriate mixture with a view to create hand sanitiser for the Waste Management team.

Hooman researched the optimal mixture ratios of alcohol for germ killing, glycerine for skin moisturising and fragrance for a pleasant smell. He found that isopropanol was the most appropriate alcohol for efficacy, cost and supply. He then put the proposal to management, who quickly supported the plan to formulate in-house hand sanitiser. Thousands of litres were produced under Hooman’s guidance and dispatched to the Waste Management branches across New Zealand during the first lockdown.

Affectionately named after its creator, Hoomanol was an essential item for our frontline staff to feel safe while continuing to carry out their duties in a time of stress and uncertainty. In addition to this, Hooman considered the need for easy surface sanitisation, so developed and distributed a Work Instruction and accompanying Risk Assessment for safely diluting household bleach to make a spray disinfectant.

Throughout all of this, Hooman was constantly considering the safety of the Waste Management whānau as well as his own. He was recognised at the 2020 Waste Management Awards for his outstanding contribution during COVID-19, receiving our coveted Innovation Award.