Notice to Industry 10: Cleaning contractors - biosecurity requirements

2 November 2020

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Outcome

The intended outcome of this document is to inform cleaning contractors of the biosecurity requirements and their obligations when booking, cleaning and disinfecting the aircraft hold, airport corral and horse stalls used for importing horses.

Note: This document does not apply to horse consignments imported from New Zealand and/or New Caledonia.

Note: This document does not apply to Approved Arrangement (AA) sites operating a corral and/or managing horse stalls. AA sites are assessed against separate conditions according to their individual AA agreement.

This document is provided for information only. To the extent that this document is inconsistent with any import permit or direction, the terms and conditions of the import permit or direction take precedence and will apply. Failure to comply with a condition of an import permit, direction or industry notice may constitute an offence.

Biosecurity risks associated with the aircraft, corral and horse stalls

The Department of Agriculture, Water and the Environment (the department) regulates the import of horses and equipment used to transport horses. The aircraft, corral and horse stalls pose biosecurity risk if contaminated with equine hair, faeces, blood or mucus. Plant and soil material are also a risk for transmitting viable weed seeds. People in contact with the aircraft, corral and horse stalls may transmit exotic diseases such as equine influenza (EI) if they contact an infected horse or its equipment.

Removal and correct disposal of biosecurity risk material (BRM) and the use of disinfectants effective against the EI virus are required to ensure the biosecurity risk to Australia is managed.  Appropriate disinfectants that inactivate the EI virus include oxidising agents e.g. Virkon, surfactant disinfectants and detergents.

Cleaning and disinfection of the aircraft

The cleaning contractor must use appropriate equipment in good working order that is powerful enough to complete the task. The equipment itself must be easily cleaned and disinfected.

Once cleaning contractors have completely removed the BRM, the aircraft must be inspected by a department biosecurity officer.  If remaining BRM is detected, the cleaning contractor must clean the relevant areas again under biosecurity officer supervision.

All waste must be collected into biosecurity waste bags.

If directed by the department biosecurity officer, the cleaning contractor must disinfect areas of the aircraft, stairs and surrounding areas and cargo with water glass solution.

Once cleaning of the aircraft is complete, all cleaning equipment must itself be cleaned and disinfected to the satisfaction of the biosecurity officer.

The cleaning contractor must comply with personal decontamination requirements as directed by the biosecurity officer.

Cleaning and disinfection of the corral

The corral must be cleaned and disinfected after every import consignment of horses (excluding New Zealand and New Caledonia). If there are two consignments of horses arriving in close succession and part of the same post arrival quarantine (PAQ) intake, permission may be granted by the department regional office horse coordinator to clean and disinfect only after the final consignment.

Contractors cleaning and disinfecting the corral are required to:

  • Read, understand and comply with this notice.
  • Wear dedicated clothing and footwear whilst cleaning the corral.
  • Immediately following the cleaning/disinfecting of the corral, take a head to toe, 3 minute shower and change into clean clothing and footwear.
  • The clothing used during the cleaning/disinfection must be laundered. If there is visible dirt on footwear, it must be scrubbed to remove the dirt and then disinfected with Virkon.

Cleaning

When cleaning the corral, the following is required:

  • All BRM must be removed and placed in biosecurity waste bags for treatment/destruction.
  • All solid waste must be disposed of before wet cleaning commences. Water borne solid waste must be contained within the corral by using a sieve if required.
  • Corral area to be hosed clean. There must be sufficient pressure in the cleaning hose to completely remove visual contamination.
  • If water runs outside of the corral, it must be treated with an appropriate disinfectant (e.g. Virkon, surfactant disinfectant, detergent). Vehicles must not drive over this area during the contact time required for that disinfectant (e.g. Virkon – 10 minutes).
  • The department biosecurity officer must inspect the corral and may direct remedial cleaning if necessary.  

Disinfection

When disinfecting the corral, the following is required:

  • All ground and hard surfaces sprayed with an appropriate disinfectant as per manufacturer’s directions e.g. Virkon, surfactant disinfectant, detergent.
  • Note: Contractor must be able to demonstrate correct concentration to a department biosecurity officer and that the disinfectant is before its expiry date.
  • There must be sufficient pressure to cover all surfaces (including ground) with the disinfectant. The disinfectant must be in contact with all surfaces for more than 10 minutes before being washed off.
  • The department biosecurity officer must inspect the corral and may direct remedial disinfection if necessary. 

Horse stalls

All horse stalls, crates and air pallets used for the import of live horses are required to be cleaned at a department Approved Arrangement (AA) site as soon as possible after the horses have been offloaded.

Securing biosecurity risk material in horse stalls

Horse stalls must be cleaned at an AA site (Class 4.3/1.2/1.3) with an approved wash bay.

When stalls cannot be moved to an AA site immediately, they must be secured to prevent escape of BRM, and stored in a secure area before transport to an AA site for cleaning.

Horse stall must be secured to prevent escape of BRM by:

  • placing all equipment (e.g. boards and poles) back into the stalls,
  • closing the doors of the stalls,
  • making sure the flaps are down,
  • removing contamination from the outside of the stalls and placing into biosecurity waste bins,
  • applying shrink wrap to seal the horse stalls, if required.

Once the stalls are properly sealed, a department biosecurity officer will apply biosecurity hold tape to the stall and issue treatment directions for movement in an enclosed truck/Tautliner and cleaning.

Cleaning of horse stalls at an AA site

When cleaning horse stalls, personnel must:

  • Remove/lock away all equipment if not required for cleaning and disinfection of the horse stalls.
  • Remove the biosecurity hold tape and place in a biosecurity waste bin.
  • Remove the feed, litter and all solid waste from the stalls and place in biosecurity waste bins.
  • Release imported water to the sewerage system or treat inside of the container with chlorine and the outside with Virkon (at least 10 minutes contact time).
  • Clean all surfaces of the stall, including external surfaces and underneath the stall, with high pressure hosing. All surfaces must be visibly clean.
  • Remove all BRM (including seeds) from the hay nets and mosquito nets. A department biosecurity officer must inspect these nets and supervise disinfecting treatment. Alternatively, nets may be disposed of as biosecurity waste or directed for re-export.
  • Thoroughly clean all equipment (including waterproof footwear and clothing) used during the cleaning at the conclusion of the cleaning operation each day.

Disinfection of horse stalls at an AA site

Once cleaning is complete, personnel at the AA site may disinfect the horse stall if it is part of their approved arrangement. The AA site must then organise for a biosecurity officer to inspect the cleaned and disinfected stall. The biosecurity officer may direct remedial cleaning and disinfection if necessary.

If disinfection is not part of the AA site’s approved arrangement, a department biosecurity officer must inspect the cleaned stall. The biosecurity officer may direct remedial cleaning if necessary. The horse stalls must then be disinfected by AA site personnel under the direct supervision of the department biosecurity officer.

The approved disinfectant must remain on the stalls for at least the minimum contact time as per manufacturer’s directions (e.g. 10 minutes for Virkon). The disinfection process should be carried out in a systematic fashion to ensure that areas that have been disinfected are not re-contaminated. The recommended order of cleaning is roof-wall-floor, repeated for each horse stall.

Version history

The following table details the published date and amendment details for this document.

Version Date Amendment details
1.0 10/06/14 Developed from references 2.1 and 2.7.
2.0 14/04/15 Updated following internal audit.
3.0 24/11/15 Updated to manage increased volumes of horse imports at Melbourne airport.
4.0 1/12/2015 Updated to clarify QAP requirements.
5.0 16/06/2016 Updates to comply with the Biosecurity Act 2015
6.0 13/10/2020 General updates to department name and terms. Improved readability.
Last reviewed: 2 November 2020
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