There were 965,340 reported cases of COVID-19 and 45,955 deaths in Britain as of 29th Oct. 2020. COVID-19 is spread from person to person through small droplets, aerosols, and direct contact. Based on what is currently known about the virus, there is a significant risk of infection from contaminated surfaces.
When the government relaxes the country's lockdown restrictions, there will be several procedures required for workplaces to reopen.
One of the critical measures proposed is that workplaces must be deep cleaned before employees return to work. All areas should be decontaminated.
This piece will cover the cleaning routines necessary to keep a premises safe and hygienic, as well as procedures for deep cleaning and disinfection following the identification of a coronavirus case:
Frequent Cleaning and Disinfection Measures
There’s no doubt increased frequency of cleaning of all general room surfaces reduces the virus's presence and the risk of contact. Workplace managers should increase the frequency of cleaning using recommended products such as bleach and detergents.
While doing so, more attention should be paid to frequently touched surfaces such as light switches, door handles, remote controls, and electronic devices.
Generally, the more people in a room, the more times it should be cleaned. The most frequently touched surfaces in bathrooms and communal kitchens should be wiped down at least twice a day. It is essential to appropriately wear personal protective equipment (PPE) or an additional layer of clothing when cleaning the surfaces. The main areas that should be cleaned and disinfected regularly include:
- Touchpoints areas like doorknobs, countertops, keyboards, light switches, faucets, sinks, handles.
- Electronics such as desktops, laptops, touchscreens, phones, remote controls.
- Floors and walls.
- Desks, chairs and other furniture.
How to clean and disinfect
Wear disposable gloves when cleaning and disinfecting surfaces. Gloves used for cleaning and disinfection of surfaces for COVID-19 should not be used for other household purposes:
- After each cleaning session, dispose of the gloves.
- Dirty surfaces should be cleaned using a detergent or soap and water before disinfection.
- Use only approved disinfectant products and bleaches and ensure you follow the manufacturer's instructions.
Soft or porous surfaces like carpeted floor, rugs, and drapes can be cleaned as frequently as possible using appropriate cleaners for the surfaces. After cleaning, launder the items appropriately, then dry them thoroughly.
Kitchens and communal canteens
Although COVID-19 cannot be transmitted through food, any person who handles food frequently should wash hands regularly using water and soap for 20 seconds. As a matter of good hygiene practice, crockery and eating utensils should not be shared. All kitchen surfaces should be cleaned regularly.
Clean frequently touched areas in the bathrooms a minimum of twice a day. You must provide suitable hand washing facilities such as running water, liquid soap, paper towels, and hand driers. If cloth towels are used, there should be one for every individual and they must be laundered regularly.
When cleaning electronics such as phones, touchscreens, remote controls and keyboards, remove any visible contamination and follow the manufacturer's instructions for the recommended cleaning and disinfection products.
- You can also use wipeable covers for electronics.
- Use alcohol-based wipes and sprays that contain at least 70 per cent alcohol to disinfect touchscreens.
- Ensure you dry the surfaces appropriately to avoid pooling of liquids.
Linens and clothing
Wear disposable gloves when handling and cleaning dirty laundry and discard the gloves after use. If you don't use gloves when handling dirty laundry, ensure you wash your hands afterwards.
- Do not shake dirty laundry, to minimise the risk of dispersing the virus through the air.
- Where appropriate, launder items using warm water and dry items completely
Dispose of waste frequently
It is not mandatory to segregate waste unless an individual in the workplace has tested positive or is showing symptoms of COVID-19. However, waste should be disposed of more regularly than usual, using standard available methods. Waste should be stored safely and kept away from pets to avoid littering.
- Put waste in plastic rubbish bags and tie them tightly.
- Plastic bags should be placed in a bin and tied.
- They should then be put in a secure and appropriate place, waiting for immediate disposal.
Hand washing and hygiene measures
Everyone should wash their hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds. If soap and water are not immediately available, use an alcohol-based sanitiser that contains at least 60 per cent alcohol.
Deep cleaning after a suspected or confirmed case
The following are the general principles for cleaning after a person with symptoms or a confirmed case of COVID-19 has left the workplace:
Wear protective equipment
Appropriate PPE such as disposable gloves and aprons must be worn before cleaning the public spaces after a confirmed or suspected case. It would help if you also washed your hands using soap and water for 20 seconds once all PPE has been removed. Additional PPE should be worn to protect the cleaner's eyes, mouth and nose in higher risk areas where the infected person spent more time.
Cleaning and disinfection
- Public spaces like corridors where the symptomatic person has passed through should be thoroughly cleaned using the standard methods.
- Areas the person came in contact with such as the bathrooms, telephones, door handles, stairwells, grab rails, and all other surfaces should be thoroughly cleaned and disinfected.
- Use disposable cloths, mop heads, or paper roll to clean all hard surfaces, chairs, floors, door handles, and sanitary fittings. Use a “one site, one wipe, in one direction” method.
- Items like upholstered furniture and mattresses that cannot be laundered or cleaned using detergents should be treated with steam cleaning methods.
Personal waste from people with symptoms of COVID-19 and the waste from cleaning areas where they spend time should not be placed in communal waste areas until the test results are known.
If the person tests negative, the waste can be disposed of as normal. If the test is positive, the waste should be removed within 72 hours. Such waste should be categorised as Category B waste and should be handled as follows:
- Keep the contaminated waste separate from other waste.
- Arrange for collection with an expert hazardous waste contractor.
The risk of COVID-19 infection at the workplace depends on many factors such as the type of surface contaminated, the amount of virus shed from any individual, and the duration the individual spends in the setting. If you are a London resident, contact us today for effective deep cleaning and decontamination services.