A critical component of coronavirus prevention is hygienic cleaning and sanitation of workplace surfaces. This is especially important for those surfaces that come into direct contact with skin.
In factories, there are many high-touch areas that require regular, scheduled sanitation to protect workers from infection.
These include but are not limited to:
- Warehouse spaces
- Offices, break rooms and kitchenettes
- Meeting rooms
The cleaning and sanitation technique used will depend on the type of surface. Surfaces generally fall into three categories: hard surfaces, soft surfaces, and electronics.
Hard (Non-porous) Surfaces
- Wear disposable gloves when cleaning and disinfecting surfaces, and discard after each cleaning. If reusable gloves are used, they should be dedicated for cleaning and disinfection of surfaces for COVID-19 and should not be used for other purposes. Consult the manufacturer’s instructions for cleaning and sanitation products used. Wash hands immediately after gloves are removed.
- If surfaces are dirty, they should be cleaned using a detergent or soap and water prior to disinfection.
- For disinfecting surfaces, most common EPA-registered household disinfectants should be effective.
- A list of products that are EPA-approved for use against the coronavirus is available here. Follow manufacturer’s instructions for all cleaning and sanitation products for concentration, application method and contact time, etc.
- Additionally, diluted household bleach solutions (at least 1000ppm sodium hypochlorite) can be used if appropriate for the surface. Follow the manufacturer’s instructions for application, ensuring a contact time of at least 1 minute, and allowing proper ventilation during and after application. Check to ensure the product is not past its expiration date. To avoid a health and chemical hazard, never mix household bleach with ammonia or any other cleanser.
- Unexpired household bleach will be an effective sanitation agent for COVID-19 when properly diluted. Prepare a bleach solution by mixing:
- 5 tablespoons (1/3 cup) bleach per gallon of water, or
- 4 teaspoons bleach per quart of water
Soft (Porous) Surfaces
- For soft, porous surfaces such as carpeted floor, rugs, and drapes, remove visible contamination if present with cleaning agents indicated for use on these surfaces. After cleaning:
- Items to be washed should be in accordance with the manufacturer’s instructions. Use the warmest water setting allowed for the items and dry them completely.
- Otherwise, use products that are EPA-approved for use against COVID-19 and that are suitable for porous surfaces.
- For electronics such as cell phones, tablets, touch screens, remote controls, and keyboards, remove visible contamination if present.
- Follow the manufacturer’s instructions for all cleaning and sanitation
- Consider the use of wipeable covers for electronics.
- If no manufacturer guidance is available, consider using alcohol-based wipes or sprays containing at least 70% alcohol for disinfecting touch screens. Dry surfaces thoroughly to avoid liquid pooling and damaging equipment.
Following measures correctly and consistently is as critical as the awareness of the nature of the virus and its transmission. Maintaining and observing these sanitation and hygiene practices ensures you minimize any risks to your employees and business.