Cleaning Up: Covid Compliance in the Office
Cleaning and Disinfecting Your Workplace -
A guide for Covid 19
Through the move to level 4, it is anticipated that around 1.5 million employees will return to work in the coming weeks, again increasing the risk of transmission of the virus.
Note: EMPLOYERS ARE OBLIGED TO PROVIDE THESE, so buy in bulk and save some bucks for the day drinking you probably need to do.
(Where can we get a drink, you ask? Good question. Try inhaling our D8 Counter Wipe instead, especially if you get your health advice from Trump.)
Additionally employers are being guided by the Occupational Health and Safety Act to ensure safety measures within the office, such as social distancing of desks, temperature scanning of employees, but a big one is making sure workplace environments are cleaned more thoroughly than a house expecting an in-law.
Covid 19 loves to be transmitted via droplets, and even if these aren’t inhaled they can live surfaces for up to several days, making cleaning an essential considerations for businesses considering reopening when allowed.
For example, the science shows that bacteria are very happy breeding on computer keyboards and smartphone screens, particularly when they're used by more than one person. And viruses can cling to glass surfaces for up to 96 hours, multiple days' worth of potential infection.
A computer keyboard can typically have 7,500 bacteria per swab. The figure for headphones is 2,550 and for the bottom of a handbag it's 2,520.
"No one cleans a place better than a man expecting female company that night." - Woody Allen
How to clean and disinfect
- Wear disposable gloves to clean and disinfect, and a mask!
Clean surfaces using soap and water, then use disinfectant:
Cleaning with soap and water reduces the number of germs, dirt and impurities on the surface. Disinfecting kills germs on surfaces.
Practice routine cleaning of frequently touched surfaces:
More frequent cleaning and disinfection may be required based on level of use. Surfaces and objects in public places, such as light switches and point of sale keypads should be cleaned and disinfected before each use.
High touch surfaces include:
Taps... remember to disinfect these before and after washing up!
Tip: get each employee their own refillable spray for their workplace.
- Follow the instructions on the label to ensure safe and effective use of the product.
- Many products recommend:
- Keeping surface wet for a period of time (see product label).
- Precautions such as wearing gloves and making sure you have good ventilation during use of the product.
- Never mix household bleach with ammonia or any other cleanser.
- Leave solution on the surface for at least 1 minute to sanitise, up to 10 for disinfection.
Sanitising is generally a little more gentle than disinfecting. So while sanitising refers to lowering the number of germs to a safe level by either cleaning or disinfecting, disinfecting itself refers to killing nearly 100 percent of germs on surfaces or objects, according to the CDC.
- Bleach solutions will be effective for disinfection up to 24 hours.
- Alcohol solutions with at least 70% alcohol may also be used.
THIS IS BASED ON A BLEACH SOLUTION OF 3.5% SODIUM HYPOCHLORITE SOLUTION - NOT ALL BLEACHES ARE CREATED EQUAL!
Check before you buy!
- For soft surfaces such as carpeted floor, rugs, and drapes… bear in mind car seats too!
- Clean the surface using soap and water or with cleaners appropriate for use on these surfaces.
- Launder items (if possible) according to the manufacturer’s instructions.Use the warmest appropriate water setting and dry items completely.
- For electronics, such as tablets, touch screens, keyboards, remote controls, and ATM machines.
- Consider putting a wipeable cover on electronics.
- Follow manufacturer’s instruction for cleaning and disinfecting.
- If no guidance, use alcohol-based sprays or wipes containing at least 70% alcohol.
- Dry surface thoroughly.
- For clothing, towels, linens and other items.
- Instead of using towels in bathrooms consider paper towel dispensers.
- Launder items according to the manufacturer’s instructions. Use the warmest appropriate water setting and dry items completely.
- Save money and use a bulk detergent.
- Wear disposable gloves when handling dirty laundry.
- Do not shake dirty laundry.
- Clean and disinfect clothes hampers according to guidance above for surfaces.
- Remove gloves, and wash hands right away.
Normal is dead
These new best practises are here to stay. While we remain optimistic that Covid 19 could decide to spare South Africans, with our great humour and calm determination, we must be prepared for every scenario and make every effort to keep our employees, their families, and our clients healthy enough to either make us money or spend their money, right?
Want help making your workplace Covid 19 clean and compliant?
Contact us on firstname.lastname@example.org for more information on how we can help you.
- Georgina Roberts