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How to Clean and Disinfect the Workplace

Posted on May 01, 2020 by Lauren Scott

CDC and EPA have collaborated on documentation and an infographic to help facility operators ensure the safety and wellbeing of their workforce once employees return to work.

The guidance offers a practical, three-step process for cleaning and disinfecting workspaces to prevent the spread of COVID-19: develop a plan, implement the plan, and maintain and revise the plan.

Develop a Plan

Determine what the frequently touched areas in the facility are. CDC recommends looking indoors for hard, non-porous materials that are touched every six days or less. This may include doorknobs, tables, railings, shared PPE, handles, steering wheels, countertops, or control panels. These surfaces may require disinfecting.

Any soft or porous surfaces, such as cushioned chairs or rugs, should be removed from high-traffic areas or laundered when possible. Less-touched areas only need to be routinely cleaned, according to CDC.

Once you find which surfaces require disinfecting, create a plan for when and how to disinfect. Make the plan as comprehensive as possible to include which areas are high and low priority, what disinfectant(s) to use, and how frequently to disinfect each area.

Implement the Plan

Visibly dirty surfaces must be washed with soap and water prior to disinfecting. This allows the disinfectant to more effectively kill germs and destroy viruses.

Ensure that you have the correct PPE to properly use your cleaning/disinfecting products. This may include gloves, a respirator, or protective eyewear.

Not sure what disinfectant to use? EPA has compiled a list of disinfectants, including ready-to-use sprays, concentrates, and wipes, that can be used against COVID-19. Always follow the product label instructions and safety information, including leaving the product on the surface long enough to kill germs and rinsing off the product to avoid accidental ingestion.

When using a disinfectant is not an option, consider making your own using bleach and water. EPA suggests adding 1/3 cup of bleach for each gallon of water. Do not mix bleach with any other cleaning products.

Maintain and Revise

Reducing exposure to COVID-19 is a continuous responsibility. CDC and EPA recommend cleaning and disinfecting high-touch surfaces at least daily. More frequent cleaning and disinfecting may be required if a surface is more frequently touched. In fact, you may want to consider disinfecting after each touch for some surfaces. It all depends on your specific facility.

Social distancing and masks should also be implemented where possible. Encourage employees to stay home if they feel unwell and alter your cleaning/disinfecting strategy when new information emerges. Together, all of these precautions can help keep you and your team safe.

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