How to Clean your Workplace and Workstation to Prevent the Spread of Coronavirus/COVID-19

­­How to Clean your workplace to Prevent the Spread of COVID-19/Coronavirus

Do you know how to clean your workplace, phone and IT equipment properly, so it doesn’t inadvertently spread COVID-19 throughout your office?

It’s not as hard as it may seem.  

For workplaces

Employers and employees have a role to play in reducing the spread of infection.  Further information on preparing your workplace or home is available from the World Health Organization.

General advice

  • Increase awareness about COVID-19 through communication with all team members including janitorial staff, vendors and contractors
  • Evaluate the workplace for areas where people have frequent contact with each other and shared objects and ensure they have a regular cleaning and sanitation schedule (see below)
  • Increase the distance between desks and workstations as well as employees and customers (ideally 2 metres).

A physical barrier like a cubicle or Plexiglas window also works to increase distance between people

Hygiene

      • Encourage frequent hand hygiene, sneeze and cough etiquette, and staying home when ill or having traveled
      • Ensure frequent cleaning, every 30 – 60 minutes or as needed is recommended for high-touch surfaces, such as:
        • Bars and hand rails
        • Desks and chairs
        • Phones and Printers
        • Kitchens and Bathrooms
        • Computers, touchscreen ordering, and cash registers
        • Elevator buttons
        • Restaurant tables and menus
      • Provide access to handwashing areas and place hand sanitizing dispensers in prominent locations throughout the workplace, if possible.

Flexible work arrangements and sick leave

        • Where feasible, adjust policies to reduce social contact, such as:
          • flexible hours
          • staggering start times
          • teleworking arrangements
          • using email and teleconferencing
        • Relax sick leave policies to support employees in self-isolating when ill.
          • This includes suspending the need for medical notes and reduces the burden on an already stressed health care system.
        • Prepare for increases in absenteeism due to illness among employees and their families or possibly school closures.
          • Access your business continuity plan for how to maintain key business functions if faced with high absenteeism
          •  

The fact that the WHO recently declared COVID-19 to be a pandemic and many celebrities even are self-quarantining make it clear that businesses need to make coronavirus cleaning a priority to keep workers, team members, and customers safe from this potentially dangerous disease. 

Depending on your business, ensure you clean all common areas well and often to prevent the spread. Do you not forget about your personal and work phones as well as cleaning IT equipment such as laptops, phones, fax machines, printers, etc.  Also, don’t forget the coffee machines and water fountains!The Public Health Agency of Canada reports that COVID-19 can survive on surfaces for up to several days.  This poses a danger to everyone in an office, restaurant or co-working space. 

Furthermore, many people do not show symptoms and if an asymptomatic carrier uses a company device such as a computer or printer, and non-infected co-workers later use that device, they could spread the infection.  Disinfecting these common areas are effective ways to reducing the potential to spread the disease without even knowing.

The following are other recommended actions to take in your business to prevent the spread without damaging equipment and other surfaces: IT EquipmentIf easy to turn off, it is recommended to completely turn off equipment and remove it from the desk or table to fully clean.  Wipe down all surfaces with water and a household cleaning product, Lysol wipe or a diluted bleach solution.  Any cleaning rags that have been used for this tasked should be washed with the same disinfecting solution before being hung to dry, or use one-time use wipes and dispose after.

  • Do not forget to clean and take off any carrying cases
  • Electronic devices that handle liquid disinfection should be dusted with a soft cloth
  • Using alcohol prep wipes or a similar product that has 70% alcohol will kill all or most bacteria
  • Dusting cloths should be washed in water and bleach or disinfectant and hung to dry.
  • Open windows for ventilation and air flow at office or at home.

Consider the need for cross-training personnel to function in key positions.

Closure

Workplace closures may be considered in an exceptional circumstance and should be based on a risk assessment. This may be the case if many employees must be off to prevent the spread of COVID-19.

 

 



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