An employer’s first duty of care is to their staff, and as such you must protect them from harm. As the phased return to work is underway for most businesses, this means that reasonable steps must be taken to protect everybody from contracting Coronavirus.
The virus, just like other cold and flu viruses, can be transmitted from the carrier to surfaces, and then passed from the infected surface to other people that come into contact with it. By making sure your workplace is clean the risk is reduced, and your business can be classed as ‘COVID secure’.
Before you decide on the level of cleaning needed for your business, a risk assessment needs to be carried out to help manage risk and how to work safely and protect people during the pandemic.
There are lots of factors to consider; identifying how often you will need to clean, which surfaces are touched frequently, and whether deep cleaning is necessary every day.
Frequently touched surfaces are generally classified as such due to the amount of people touching them and the frequency in which they are touched. These can include:
• All work surfaces such as desks and workstations
• Door handles, window handles, dispensers and water coolers, taps, kitchen appliances, cupboards
• Common or staff areas such as bathrooms, reception areas, changing rooms and corridors
• IT equipment
• Goods inwards or outwards
It is not always possible to clean items or areas after every use. Implement measures to clean them often, or whenever possible. There are also ways of reducing the need for cleaning:
• Limit the amount of people in any one area.
• Clear clutter, thus reducing the need to touch objects.
• Fit foot plates to doors eliminating the need to touch handles.
• Insist on thorough handwashing at regular intervals.
• Be flexible; agree to a balanced home/office work schedule. The fewer people in work at any one time reduces the risk of the spread of infection.
Depending on the type of business you run, you may need to implement regular deep cleaning. This is a thorough clean of frequently touched surfaces, carried out at least once a day. You may need periodic cleaning; this is cleaning at different times during the day. This might also include regular cleaning of items immediately after use.
Talking to your workers is imperative; encourage them to co-operate with new measures put in place, and if you have an onsite cleaning team to engage safely with them. They should be responsible for keeping their personal working space clear of clutter and debris so that effective cleaning can be carried out.
Notices can be used to communicate the need for sanitary conditions during the coronavirus pandemic. Posters used to inform your staff of their responsibilities and to inform them of cleaning schedules will help with co-operation around your cleaning staff or contractor.
Whichever way you move forward, the situation we are in is sure to be the new normal, at lease for the foreseeable future. Cleaning companies such as Brightr have a dedicated COVID-19 cleaning team who will wear full PPE when cleaning your premises. For advice or a quote, get in touch here.