Adapting to the New Reality
Browse through our collection of useful resources related to business processes, affected by the global pandemic situation
Frequently Asked Questions
Can’t find the answer you’re looking for, here is a list of frequently asked questions to help you out!
Cleaning and Disinfection in the Workplace
#1 How should I clean and disinfect my equipment?
Since traces of SARS-CoV-2, the virus responsible for COVID-19, can remain viable on different surfaces for hours and days, it is possible that a person can get infected simply by touching a surface with which someone carrying the virus has previously interacted. Although this isn’t the main way you can get infected, it is still mandatory to clean any piece of machinery or equipment that is used in your facility.
When cleaning equipment, always be sure to follow the CDC recommendations. Start by cleaning the surface with soap and water. After drying, apply an EPA-approved disinfectant that is appropriate for the surface.
Only do this for machinery and equipment that are in use!
In case machinery or equipment cannot be cleaned, you should isolate them and not use them for at least 24 hours (for porous) and up to 7 days (for non-porous surfaces).
#2 How can I safely handle cleaning chemicals?
- Always follow the manufacturer’s instructions on the label regarding the application method.
- Always wear gloves made from appropriate materials when you are cleaning and disinfecting an area. Depending on the setting and specific product, you may have to wear additional personal protective equipment (PPE).
- Never mix household bleach with other cleaners or ammonia.
- Educate your employees as to how to correctly dilute cleaners and which ones shouldn’t be diluted.
#3 Aside from cleaning and disinfecting, what else can I do to decrease the spread of the virus at my workplace?
- Supply enough tissues and disposable gloves.
- Provide enough water and soap and a handwashing facility at the workplace. If these are not readily available, you must supply your employees with hand sanitizer containing at least 60% alcohol. Distribute the hand sanitizer at multiple locations around the facility.
- Put up posters to encourage good hand and general hygiene, as well as to educate people on the importance of social distancing, proper sneezing and coughing etiquette, and frequent handwashing.
- Discourage handshaking (it can be substituted with elbow-rubbing).
- Emphasize the importance of social distancing.
#4Should I make adjustments to the ventilation system?
The risk of spreading COVID-19 through a ventilation system hasn’t been studied yet, but it likely isn’t high. Still, it’s important to do routine HVAC maintenance, as well as to increase the ventilation and amount of outdoor air that your system is using. Be sure to keep indoor air temperature and humidity levels at a comfortable level for people inside the building.
#5 How should we clean and disinfect the restrooms at the workplace?
The EPA (Environmental Protection Agency) and CDC have developed a joint guide with best practices on the proper way to clean and disinfect public spaces, including restrooms. You can see it here. It is imperative that you, as the employer, should make a plan for routine cleaning and disinfection with a focus on doorknobs, toilets, faucets, and other restroom high-touch surfaces.
The cleaning staff should wear the respective PPE based on the environment and the types of products they are using. Post a cleaning schedule (if you don’t have one already) in the restrooms so the cleaners can mark off when each round of cleaning has been completed.
- If I have to shut down my facility because of a COVID-19 case or outbreak, what is the proper way to clean and disinfect the premises? What is the recommended timeframe for my business to resume operations?
It is still unknown how long the air inside a facility occupied by a person with confirmed COVID-19 can remain potentially infectious. However, it is best to wait at least 24 hours before cleaning and disinfecting the premises to minimize exposure to the respiratory droplets. In case 24 hours isn’t a feasible timeframe, make sure to wait as long as possible. Keep the doors and windows open to boost the air circulation in the facility. Follow the guidance by CDC for more details.
Instruct your cleaning staff to clean and disinfect all areas of the facility, including restrooms, offices, and common areas. They should pay extra attention to frequently touched surfaces. All dirty surfaces should be cleaned with soap and water prior to disinfecting them. Make sure your cleaning team uses EPA-approved disinfectants because they are proven to kill the virus that causes COVID-19.
Each product has specific instructions for required PPE, concentration, application, and contact time, so your staff should follow them strictly.
You can resume operations as soon as the cleaning and disinfection have been thoroughly completed.