Not only has the COVID-19 pandemic brought into sharp focus the need to maintain good personal hygiene but has also highlighted the responsibility of employers to keep the workplace clean.
Responsible businesses have done a wonderful job of getting their office space ready for their team once they could return to work. Deep cleaning and sanitising services were carried out by dedicated cleaning companies and no surface was left untouched.
Now that the flurry of activity is over, is your COVID cleaning schedule still up to standard?
Examining Your COVID Cleaning Schedule
Back in March 2020, The World Health Organisation offered some useful and practical advice on cleaning standards. Although some of these may seem a little dated now, considering the speed at which new information is becoming available, it’s a good place to start.
There is simply no margin for error when it comes to this virus, therefore we’d like to encourage everyone to take an active part in keeping the workplace a clean and hygienic environment.
Your personal responsibility
Each employee should take responsibility for their own workspace. Besides frequent handwashing arrange to have a packet of disinfectant wipes handy to wipe down your keyboard, mouse, phone and desk surface at regular intervals throughout the day. Soft surfaces such as chair upholstery can also be sanitised before and after the workday.
Personal hygiene is, of course, essential. Therefore, employers should arrange for hand sanitisers and disinfectant handwash in the bathrooms and at all entrances. Adhering to sneezing and coughing etiquette is a must to protect your colleagues.
On this topic, one article states, “Considering how similar viruses spread, people infected with COVID-19 may be spreading the virus through respiratory secretions when they cough or sneeze, according to the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA). “There is much more to learn about the transmissibility, severity, and other features associated with COVID-19 as the outbreak investigation continues,” the agency stated on its webpage, noting that existing OSHA standards apply to protecting workers from COVID-19.”
Employers can do much to keep their staff safe during this uncertain time.
Daily cleaning of offices is common, but employers need to ensure that they have added the correct detergents and sanitisers to the mix.
Frequently touched surfaces such as door handles, push plates, and elevator buttons need regular, thorough cleaning at least daily, or between shift changes. Bathrooms too, need to be kept spotless with attention given to the cubicle door locks, taps and door handles.
Once cleaned with a detergent, the surface should be disinfected with a product that is proven to kill bacteria and viruses. A bleach solution or an alcohol-based sanitiser (with an alcohol level of 70% or more) have been proven effective in this instance.
Sanitising stations should be situated at regular intervals and all staff should be encouraged to disinfect their hands several times a day.
If a case of COVID is discovered in the office or workplace, we would recommend a full sanitising fog of the area once the person has been isolated.
Misting or fogging sanitisers are an excellent way to ensure that the sterilising products reach every surface – whether frequently touched or not.
If you’re looking for a COVID cleaning schedule to assist you, Safe Work Australia has published a comprehensive guide on routine cleaning and disinfecting which you can download if necessary.
The CDC has also published guidelines on cleaning and disinfecting public spaces when a COVID case is suspected or confirmed which is also very helpful information.
Remember, cleaning and disinfecting are two different things, and these both need to be done to keep the workplace COVID-free. It’s important to read the instructions of the cleaners and disinfectants carefully to ensure that you are using them correctly and they are going to work efficiently.
While it may seem obvious to us all by now, businesses can highlight the need to remain vigilant as regards hygiene, by placing reminders and suggestions in key areas of the workplace.
It can be daunting to carry the burden of the health and safety of your employees, we understand. If you need advice on sanitising your space or would like to book a deep cleaning service, we are here to help.
Feel free to contact Warren and his team to make the COVID cleaning a little easier.