Creating Robust Cleaning and Disinfecting Protocols

Not surprisingly, one of the most important safety measures for the workplace is a robust and regular process to regularly clean and disinfect the workspace. Before employers bring employees back to the worksite, they should consider updating worksite cleaning, and disinfection procedures, including lining up vendors.

As the best practice, businesses should ensure that they follow the most up-to-date CDC guidelines for cleaning and disinfecting their worksites. To prepare indoor and/or outdoor spaces that have been unoccupied for at least seven days, businesses need only perform “normal, routine cleaning.” However, for indoor areas that have been occupied within the last seven days, businesses need to take a more thorough approach. For frequently touched surfaces and objects made of hard and non-porous materials (e.g., glass, metal, or plastic), the CDC recommends frequent cleaning and disinfecting. For frequently touched surfaces and objects made of soft and porous materials (e.g., carpet, rugs, or material in seating areas), the CDC recommends that these materials be spotless or laundered, and if possible, materials of this sort in highly trafficked areas should be removed. Surfaces and objects that are not frequently touched should be cleaned on a routine basis. Employers should ensure their worksites have sufficient supplies of soap, sanitizer, tissues, paper towels, and other item employees will need to practice good hygiene, as well as products employees can use to clean and sanitize their work areas.

Businesses should be aware of how often, and with what supplies their workspace is being cleaned and should determine if the level of cleaning and disinfecting is sufficient, or needs to be increased. When workers are present, the workspace should be cleaned and disinfected at least once per day. However, there is no one-size-fits-all plan, as each workplace is different and will demand different cleaning strategies. In addition to CDC guidance, businesses should consider the following issues when determining their cleaning plan:

  • Identify areas of low exposure (e.g. non-shared workstations or areas closed off to the public) or higher exposure (e.g. areas where employees congregate together or are exposed to the public), and tailor the cleaning plan accordingly.
  • Anticipate cleaning and disinfecting supplies that employees will need to clean and disinfect their areas at work and equipment (e.g. disposable wipes).
  • Determine where the “high-touch” areas are in the workplace (e.g. elevator buttons, printers or copiers, door handles) and ensure those areas receive more frequent disinfecting.