Is Your Facility COVID Compliant?
Once upon a time, the only workplaces that really focused on cleaning and disinfecting were in the healthcare or food industries. For everyone else, cleaning activities revolved around visual cues: If it didn’t look dirty, it didn’t need cleaning.
Those days are over, thanks to COVID.
Today, every workplace is critically examining every surface, every policy, every cleaning tool and product, to make sure that they have a cleaning and disinfection program that’s adequate to address COVID. On the one hand, it’s a nuisance, but on the other hand, these are good habits that we should keep, even when/if this pandemic is fully resolved. Keeping employees healthy is the right thing to do, and it’s, ultimately, the most cost-effective thing to do.
CDC Provides Cleaning/Disinfecting Guidelines
There are plenty of resources out there to help direct your new, improved cleaning/sanitizing program. The CDC has released a useful document: Cleaning and Disinfection Your Facility: Every Day and When Someone Is Sick. Please note these guidelines are for ordinary workplaces, not for healthcare of other facilities subject to specific cleaning and disinfection regulations.
The CDC also recognizes a distinction between cleaning with products containing merely soap or detergent, and disinfecting with antimicrobial cleaners . The CDC recommends referring to EPA List N for approved disinfecting products.
Highlights of CDC Guidance
When no one with confirmed or suspected COVID-19 is known to have been in a space, cleaning once daily is generally adequate.
More frequent cleaning and/or cleaning plus disinfecting are recommended in shared spaces if certain conditions apply:
- High community transmission of COVID-19
- Low mask frequency
- Infrequent hand hygiene
- Community is at increased risk for severe illness from COVID-19
- Community includes people with poor hygiene, such as children who may not cover coughs and sneezes
Additional Safety Considerations:
Here are some additional notes for employers and facility operators to keep workers safe:
- Educate workers who clean, wash laundry, and pick up trash to recognize the symptoms of COVID-19.
- Develop policies to protect and train workers before assigning cleaning and disinfecting tasks.
- To protect workers using hazardous chemicals. Training should include when to use PPE, what PPE is necessary (refer to Safety Data
- Sheet for specific cleaning and disinfection products), how to properly put on, use, and take off PPE, and how to properly dispose of PPE.
- Ensure workers are trained to read labels on the hazards of the cleaning and disinfecting chemicals used in the workplace according to OSHA’s Hazard Communication standard (29 CFR 1910.1200).
- Comply with OSHA’s standards on Bloodborne Pathogens (29 CFR 1910.1030), including proper disposal of regulated waste, and PPE (29 CFR 1910.132).
There are many resources available to help protect workers and to become more COVID compliant. Hopefully this resource information is valuable to you and those in your workplace.