Without a doubt, COVID-19 has affected all areas of our lives. Dealing with it cannot be avoided. And while many companies have changed their business practices to a work from home model, not all companies have this luxury.
Taking Care of Your Employees and Customers
At The Waterways, we believe it is imperative to take care of our employees and customers. As you reopen your own business, you may feel confused about how to ensure the safety of your employees.
By now, most of us are familiar with the following, but not everyone is caught up on sanitization practices.
- Social distancing
- Handwashing practices
One of the most effective ways to fight off viruses and keep your employees safe is to follow best practices when sanitizing.
The good news is we no longer have to guess at what these practices should be. COVID-19 has been with us long enough now researchers have determined the best methods for cleaning and disinfecting workplace surfaces.
Because of how COVID-19 is transmitted and how long it stays active on surfaces, your best bet in battling its spread is to clean and disinfect your workplace regularly.
For brevity’s sake, we are covering the basics of cleaning and disinfecting your workplace in this article. For more in-depth details, go to the CDC’s website and the websites that we have listed at the end of this article.
It’s Not Just About Safety. It’s About Confidence
Some employees may feel uncomfortable about returning to the workplace or have concerns regarding their safety. Letting employees know an initial deep clean will be performed before they return to work will inspire confidence.
Part of your overall return-to-work plan should include standards, policies, and schedules for the deep cleaning and disinfecting of:
- Common areas
- Individual spaces
These will also instill a sense of well being in employees.
Disinfecting Your Workplace
List N for Disinfectants for use Against SARS-CoV-2 contains products you can use to combat COVID-19. Only professionals should use many of the commercial products due to the impacts they can have on the human body as well as the environment.
The CDC also suggests the following options for daily use:
- EPA-registered household disinfectant. When using an EPA-registered disinfectant, follow the instructions on the label to ensure the safe and effective use of the product.
- Alcohol solutions with at least 70% alcohol. This solution is perfect for electronics, like touch screens, keyboards, remote controls, and ATMs.
- Use diluted household bleach solutions on appropriate surfaces. To make a bleach solution, mix 1/3 cup of bleach with a gallon of room temperature water. Make sure the bleach is intended for disinfection and has a sodium hypochlorite concentration of 5%–6%. Apply the solution to the surface for at least 1 minute. A bleach solution will be effective for up to 24 hours.
How To Disinfect
- Wear disposable gloves when cleaning.
- Clean surfaces using soap and water first, then use a disinfectant.
- Routinely clean frequently touched surfaces.
- Base the amount of cleaning or disinfection on the level of use.
- Clean and disinfect surfaces and objects before each use.
Regular cleaning staff who clean and disinfect community spaces need to be trained on the appropriate use of cleaning and disinfection chemicals.
- They should wear disposable gloves and gowns during the cleaning process, including trash removal.
- They should wash their hands for 20 seconds after removing gloves. If soap and water are not available, use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer that contains at least 60% alcohol.
Cleaning Soft Surfaces
Use soap and water or specific cleaners to clean:
- Carpeted floors
If you can, disinfect the surface with an EPA-registered household disinfectant and then vacuum as usual.
Disinfecting Outdoor Areas
- Structures like playgrounds generally require normal routine cleaning but do not require disinfection.
- Clean high touch surfaces made of plastic or metal (like railings or grab bars) regularly.
- Wooden surfaces, sidewalks, roads, and groundcovers like mulch or sand do not need to be disinfected.
What to Do If Someone Gets Sick With COVID-19
You may have a knee-jerk reaction if an employee or visitor has brought a confirmed or suspected case of COVID-19 into your workplace.
That’s normal— this is scary stuff. You may be tempted to close the facility, but that isn’t necessary. If a person with confirmed or suspected COVID-19 has been in your facility:
- Close the area(s) used or visited by the ill person for 24 hours or as long as possible.
- Open outside doors and windows wherever possible.
- Use ventilating fans to increase air circulation.
- Appropriately disinfect the area.
Anyone who was not in close contact with the person with confirmed or suspected COVID-19 can return to work immediately.
Hiring a Company to Help
If you feel keeping your workspace cleaned and disinfected is too big a job for your company to undertake on its own, look into hiring a company that can do it for you.
If you already have a cleaning company that takes care of regular maintenance, make sure they are using the proper products. You may also need to increase the number of times that they clean your facility.
We know that it’s hard to keep up with all of the information that’s coming out about COVID-19. Here is a list of resources that you may find helpful as you prepare your office for a reboot:
- Guidance for Cleaning and Disinfecting issued by the CDC
- FDA’s Tips for Safe Sanitizer Use
- CDC’s Hand Sanitizer Use Considerations
- List N for Disinfectants for use Against SARS-CoV-2
- EPA’s six steps for Safe and Effective Disinfectant Use
- Reopening Guidance for Cleaning and Disinfecting Public Spaces, Workplaces, Businesses, Schools, and Homes(CDC)
- Cleaning and Disinfection for Non-emergency Transport Vehicles(CDC)
- Guidance for Reopening Buildings After Prolonged Shutdown or Reduced Operation(CDC)
- More CDC resources for businesses
We Are Here for You
We know you’re ready to get back to work! We’re standing by to fulfill all of your premium water dispenser needs. Just give us a call!