For essential businesses and others that are operating during the pandemic, maintaining a clean environment is critical. Cleaning and disinfecting high touch surfaces multiple times during the day is a daunting requirement for many businesses. Maintaining a clean environment can put patrons and fellow workers at ease, but can create a challenging task for the personnel tasked with cleaning and disinfecting.
This post will only cover general cleaning and disinfecting by custodial staff and other personnel. Cleaning and disinfecting after the discovery of a confirmed case is usually performed by a specialized cleaning crew and will not be covered in this post.
Low Risk Activities
Low risk activities include routine cleaning and housekeeping in:
Low traffic offices
Manufacturing or industrial facilities
Facilities not occupied by the general public
Medium Risk Activities
Medium risk activities include routine cleaning and housekeeping where other staff and/or the general public are present.
High Risk Activities
High risk activities include cleaning visible blood, body fluids, and other potentially infectious materials.
Very High Risk
Very high risk activities include cleaning visible blood, body fluids, and other potentially infectious materials from someone suspected or confirmed to have COVID-19.
Prevention Methods Based on Risk
First and foremost, make sure to follow all local public health orders. Some of the most common requirements include:
Social distancing plan for workers and the public
Cleaning and disinfection protocols for regular business operations and if a confirmed case was identified at the store
Custodial staff contracted from another agency should have their own COVID-19 prevention protocols and should not rely on their site employer.
Recommended controls, regardless of risk, include the following:
Encourage workers to stay home if they feel sick
Implement physical distancing rules for workers and the public
Require a face covering to be worn at all times by workers and patrons
Promote hand hygiene by encouraging frequent hand washing and placing hand sanitizer in high traffic areas
Establish cleaning and disinfecting protocols using EPA-approved cleaners and the appropriate contact time for disinfection
Ensure constant air flow indoors and avoid recirculating air; air purifiers with HEPA filters can also be used
For medium risk activities, the following controls can be used:
Avoid cleaning methods (e.g., dry sweeping or high pressure water) that can re-aerosolize infection particles
Avoid touching the eyes, nose, and mouth while cleaning
Wear chemical-resistant gloves while cleaning
For high risk activities, the following controls can be used:
Establish a Bloodborne Pathogens Program that covers universal precautions and other controls to prevent exposure to infectious materials
Additional personal protective equipment like protective coveralls, respirators and face shields may be needed
Very high risk activities should not be performed by general custodial staff.
If you have questions about your cleaning activities and how local health orders affect your operations or how to implement disease prevention controls, contact us for a discussion about your situation.