You may find a lot of conflicting information about how to properly clean your workplace during the COVID-19 pandemic. Whether you’ve discovered a COVID-19 outbreak at your workplace or if you are simply working to reduce the odds, cleaning is a crucial way to protect your employees’ health.
Proper cleaning is a big undertaking, and it shouldn’t be taken lightly. Learn how to clean your workplace effectively and safely.
Preparing to Clean: Know the Rules
Before cleaning, make sure your cleaning staff understands these basic rules to prevent the transmission of COVID-19:
- Wear disposable gloves for all cleaning tasks, including handling trash. Always wash hands immediately after removing gloves.
- Wash hands often. Use soap and water, and wash for at least 20 seconds.
- Avoid touching your face—especially your eyes, mouth and nose.
If You Discover Someone is Sick
- Close off areas used by the person who is sick.
- Open doors and windows to increase air circulation for 24 hours before cleaning. If waiting 24 hours is not possible, wait as long as you can.
- Turn off any in-room air conditioner in the affected room(s), but do not turn off a central air conditioner.
- Clean and disinfect all areas used by the person who is sick. If it has been more than 7 days since the areas were used by the affected person, there is no need for additional cleaning or disinfection.
Cleaning the Workplace
We all know how to clean, but sometimes simple things can be overlooked. Keep these key tips in mind when cleaning to mitigate the risk of COVID-19 spread:
Start by putting on disposable gloves. Before using disinfectant, clean surfaces with soap and water. Doing so will reduce the number of germs and dirt on a surface. Disinfecting kills the germs.
Frequency of cleaning is very important. The more frequently an item or surface is used, the more often it should be cleaned and disinfected. Surfaces in public places, like shopping carts or touch screens, should be cleaned after each use. Other high-touch surfaces include doorknobs, sinks, phones and toilets.
Disinfecting the Workplace
Cleaning products are not all created equal, and some labels can be deceiving. Be sure the product you use is an EPA-registered household disinfectant that is capable of destroying COVID-19. Currently, these products can be in short supply. If you cannot access them, diluted household bleach may also be used. When you know you’ve selected the right product, observe these tips to ensure proper disinfection:
- Keep the surface wet with disinfecting product for a period of time before wiping the surface. See the bottle’s label for exact directs.
- Make sure you use good ventilation while disinfecting. These products can be hazardous if ingested or inhaled.
- Only use these products on surfaces, not on people, pets or anything used to eat or drink.
- Avoid mixing or diluting chemicals unless directed by the product’s label. Improper dilution can render the product ineffective, while mixing it with another product can cause dangerous chemical interactions.
COVID-19 Testing for Employees
If you believe someone at your workplace may have COVID-19, the first step is sending them home. It’s a good idea to get them tested immediately so you know if an outbreak is occurring in your facility. Learn more about COVID-19 testing at Advanced Urgent Care & Occupational Medicine.