Most offices had transitioned to temporary work-from-home amidst the COVID-19 pandemic to help mitigate the spread of disease. As the quarantine protocols continue to ease, many employers are now encouraging their employees to go back on site. If you are thinking of doing the same, how can you ensure that it will not compromise your employees' health? In accordance, the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) released guidelines on cleaning and disinfecting workplaces effectively against SARS-Cov-19 (COVID-19 virus). The cleaning and disinfection policies involve three steps: (1) Develop a plan; (2) Implementation and (3) Maintain and revision.
- Developing a plan involves determining which areas are needed to be clean, how to disinfect them, and the resources and equipment necessary. CDC recommends the use of disposable gloves, which should be thrown-out after cleaning and disinfecting. They also provided a list of Environmental Protection Agency (EPA)-approved disinfectants against the COVID-19 virus.
- In the implementation, dirty surfaces should be cleaned first with soap and water to reduce the number of dirt and microorganisms before using disinfectant to kill the remaining ones. Direct contact and frequently touched surfaces should be routinely cleaned with the appropriate products and always follow the instruction on its label. In disinfection, if the EPA-approved guidelines are not available, use a dilute bleach solution. The CDC also provided additional guidelines for cleaning soft surfaces, electronics, and laundry. Soft-surfaces should also be cleaned with soap and water, while electronics should have a wipeable cover. For laundry, always use disposable gloves, especially when handling the laundry of an infected person. Disinfect the clothe hampers using the EPA-approved disinfectants or diluted bleach solution as well.
- Maintain and revise section focuses on routine cleaning and revision of cleaning plan depending on disinfectant and personal protective equipment (PPE) availability. It also involves educating and ensuring that cleanliness and minimum public health standards, are followed including wearing face masks, proper handwashing, and social distancing.
Before allowing your workers to go back to the office, CDC recommends having them tested for COVID-19, but if on an unfortunate circumstance that someone whom you have permitted to go back to work becomes positive with the virus, here are what the CDC had advised you to do:
- Isolate the area used by the infected person.
- Open the doors and window for the air to circulate.
- Only clean and disinfect after 24 hours.
- Turn off air conditioning systems before vacuuming the area.
- Wear gloves when cleaning and use detergents for soft surfaces.
- After cleaning, disinfect it with an EPA-approved disinfectant.
- Once thoroughly disinfected, it is usable again.
One of the main benefits of office cleaning has always been to reduce the health risks and occupational hazards for its workers. And during the pandemic, cleaning and disinfecting have helped many offices to ensure the safety of their workers, from those that are barely returning to their office and especially to essential workers who have never stopped going to their office during the pandemic.
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