With the emergence of the novel coronavirus, COVID-19, the way we live and work has been impacted in unprecedented ways. As the virus continues to spread, public life is increasingly monitored to flatten the curve. While many organizations are moving to remote work, some companies work with systems or with sensitive materials that require employees to be on-premise to get their job done.
We have come up with some important considerations to create a healthy and sanitary work environment specifically when it comes to cleaning and disinfecting. Keep in mind that in addition to this, we believe that a safe workplace also includes proper communication, signage, and a healthy office culture. We hope our tips provides both knowledge and peace of mind as we navigate through these tough times.
While the spread of the virus might feel unavoidable, the fact is that good cleaning and disinfection routines can greatly reduce or eliminate the risk of a viral count of COVID-19 on surfaces and objects in the office. For employers, it is their duty to maintain a clean environment and ensure every person feels safe coming in every day.
The World Health Organization has provided guidance on getting workplaces ready, and there is a list of EPA-approved disinfectants known to be effective against SARS-CoV-2 (the virus that causes COVID-19). While all formal guidance from the government and medical authorities should be read, understood, and followed closely, here are a few key considerations:
When using any type of cleaner or disinfectant, be sure to use disposable gloves, wear a mask (such as a cloth face covering) for any cleaning and disinfection work. Be sure to wash your hands with soap and water for at least 30 seconds both before and after as you carefully remove and throw them away. As many disinfectants are made for use on hard surfaces only, you want to avoid any direct contact with your skin. Also note if there are any strong fumes and properly ventilate your work spaces accordingly.
Cleaning Before Disinfecting
Always remember to clean before beginning disinfection. This means using soap and water the old-fashioned way. Cleaning with soap (or detergent) and water helps remove initial particles that can carry risk of COVID-19 on surfaces. This reduces the viral load before disinfection allowing the disinfectant to be more effective in killing the remaining virus.
What About Disinfecting Wipes?
Disinfecting wipes are handy and generally available at retail stores. They help out in a pinch and are a great way to clean up after someone in the workplace finishes up in a common area such as their workstation, meeting table, or lunchroom area. If you are using disinfecting wipes, remember to focus on cleaning only one item at a time, using enough wipes to ensure the surface stays wet for 4 minutes.
Careful Where You Touch
Every workplace is different, so keep in mind your common high-touch surfaces. These may include, but are not limited to: tables, chairs, door handles and knobs, light switches, phones, keypads, locks, remotes, desk surfaces, elevator and elevator buttons, shared office equipment, etc. For more hands-on workplaces such as construction sites, be mindful of shared equipment. Generally you would have more PPE available including work gloves, but it is always best to err on the side of caution. Our own Anasphere Plus is an EPA-approved disinfectant for all your needs. Backed by superior science, Anasphere can help with re-opening your business and workplace as an easy to use spray for hard surfaces and common touch point.