As COVID-19 cases continue to fluctuate throughout the country, it is increasingly vital that schools and businesses adopt a strategic plan for enhanced cleaning and infection prevention and control measures in the office and classroom.
Strategically Increasing Enhanced Cleaning in the Workplace
In order to end the lockdowns and return to business as usual, an emphasis must be placed on strategic enhanced cleaning measures in line with guidelines from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) combined with occupant communication, targeted touchpoint disinfection services, and workforce training.
Occupant health and safety should be the primary focus of all your cleaning and infection prevention or control methods.
According to the U.S. Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA);
Measures for protecting workers from exposure to, and infection with, SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19), depend on the type of work being performed and exposure risk, including potential for interaction with people with suspected or confirmed COVID-19 and contamination of the work environment.
Employers should adapt infection control strategies based on a thorough hazard assessment, using appropriate combinations of engineering and administrative controls, safe work practices, and personal protective equipment (PPE) to prevent worker exposures.
Some OSHA standards that apply to preventing occupational exposure to SARS-CoV-2 also require employers to train workers on elements of infection prevention, including PPE.
Initial and Ongoing Cleaning Strategies
Initial methods will vary depending on the industry, occupancy and use, and whether or not your facility has been closed and unoccupied for an extended period of time.
If the facility has remained closed for an extended period, you will need to perform the following prior to worker reentry:
- Evaluate the facility for potential health issues, such as waterborne illnesses, air filtration and circulation problems, and the possible presence of any rodents or other pests.
- Conduct an initial risk assessment of all workspaces and identify potential hazards that could increase the risk of COVID-19 transmission, especially likely social distancing issues.
- Flush, circulate, and test the water system for any diseases, such as Legionnaires.
- Open windows and doors to circulate fresh air through the facility, leveraging fans as necessary.
- Turn on and test the HVAC system, replacing filters, and cleaning ducts and vents as necessary.
- Contract with a professional third-party to test the air and address any concerns.
- Establish physical and administrative controls that facilitate social distancing and reduce or eliminate unnecessary occupant and visitor contact, such as physical plexiglass barriers, virtual meetings, and adjustments to worker and vendor scheduling, and;
- Communication messages and methods that convey how a facility is being cleaned for occupant safety, when, with what, and how that impacts each person who enters the building.
Ongoing strategies will require you to:
- Map out facility zones.
- Create cleaning checklists for each zone and assigning resources--cleaning tools, products, and staff.
- Identifying high touch fomites in each zone and determining the average rate they are touched during a normal business day.
- Establish fomite disinfection throughout the day in accordance with occupancy and use.
- Upgrade current cleaning equipment to more efficient and effective tools, such as smart microfiber towels, no-touch spray vacs, and electrostatic disinfection appliances.
- Acquire, outfit, and train all personnel with personal protective equipment that meets the standards for COVID-19 protection, as well as protection from cleaning chemicals and fumes.
References & Resources
- What Increased Cleaning Measures In The Workplace Look Like
- COVID-19 Employer Information for Office Buildings
- Cleaning your workplace to reduce risk from coronavirus (COVID-19)
- Cleaning and Disinfecting Your Facility
Moving past and out of the current lockdowns of schools and businesses will require more than just a mask and standing a few feet apart.
Ongoing strategies will need to be developed and monitored--specific to your facility and its occupant's needs and demands--that maintains high levels of indoor air quality, surface sanitation, and occupant hygiene.
Outsourcing to a provider experienced in cleaning for health, as well as disinfecting and controlling the spread of COVID-19 and other pathogens is a proven method for ensuring occupant safety while controlling costs.
If you would like more information regarding the effectiveness of high-performance infection prevention and control measures, or if you would like to schedule a free, no-obligation onsite assessment of your facility's custodial needs, contact us today for a free quote!
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In Valencia CA, or Santa Clarita CA, call (661) 437-3253
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