Shauna wearing her Guide uniformHi guys, my name is Shauna and I am a guider in Summerhill, Co. Wexford. You might remember me from the Storrows college blogs! Since the pandemic began and I was sent home from college, I have been working in a factory called Medentech based in Wexford town. Medentech is a company which makes disinfectant products and is part of the larger Kersia group, but it was founded by local Wexford people and now ships over 100 different products across the world to almost 200 different countries!

I did work experience in Medentech before when I was in secondary school and when the pandemic began and their work load increased exponentially due to the demand for disinfectants, they asked if I would be able to come back and take on a role as a Quality Control technician. Even though I was doing my college exams, I felt it was important to help in whatever way I could to combat this virus.

People around Wexford may have seen hand sanitisers in the local pharmacies produced by us, and several local businesses such as beauty salons and shops are also using our cleaning products to keep up hygiene standards. Medentech also produce huge amounts of hospital cleaning disinfectants which are sent out to hospitals all over the world, as well as drinking water purification tablets, products for farm animals and products for veterinary use. Of course, the greatest increase has been in cleaning, disinfectant and hand sanitising products due to the pandemic.

My job makes sure that all of these different products are to the highest standards. Firstly, we test the products’ raw materials when they arrive on our site to ensure they are pure. Then when a new batch of product needs to be produced, I (or someone else on my team) prepare the documentation needed to produce it. Then, when the disinfectant has been produced, we test it in our lab to make sure it is fully effective as a disinfectant. Once we are satisfied that it is, we tell the production supervisor that the disinfectant is approved to be packed. We then ensure that the product is packaged correctly, isn’t damaged in any way, and that all the information on the labels is correct. Once we have checked all of this, we approve the product to be released to our warehouse and they can ship it out to wherever in the world it is needed.

The job is very fast paced and has a lot of responsibility, and luckily guides has really taught me how to think on my feet and be resourceful. I really enjoy it too though! I am really involved in the production process every step of the way and it’s great to see a product go from raw materials to a finished, packed disinfectant. You would never imagine how much work and inspection has to be done on just a simple hand disinfectant, or any product for that matter!

Shauna wearing her protective equipment in work

As we are working with lots of chemicals and strong disinfectants, we have always had to wear a lot of PPE, even before the pandemic. Depending on where in the factory I am, I may have to wear a high vis, hair net, goggles, gloves, ear protection, lab coats, safety shoes and, now, a mask. It seems like a lot at first but you get used to it! We also have had to practice social distancing which was more of a challenge but we’ve gotten used to it too.

My job may not be quite front line but we definitely are providing an essential product and I don’t see the need for disinfectants to go away any time soon! In work we see lots of studies on how viruses and bacteria can live on different surfaces and Covid-19 aside, I think it’s really important that we try and disinfectant and keep up hand hygiene as much as possible into the future as it’s so important for our health!