Employers could protect your workers and others from coronavirus (COVID-19) by taking reasonable steps. Coronavirus can transfer from people to surfaces and can be passed on to others who touch the same surfaces. Keeping your workplace clean and frequent handwashing reduces the potential for coronavirus to spread and is a critical part of making and keeping your business ‘COVID-secure’.
You could make your workplace clean and COVID-secure by steps such as using hand sanitizer, cleaning workplace, improving bathrooms, toilets and washbasin, washing work vehicles and hiring cleaning staff. In today’s guidance, we will cover the first two topics.
1. Handwashing and using hand sanitiser
Use signs and posters to help your workers practice good handwashing technique and to remind them to cough/sneeze into an arm and avoid touching their faces. Provide:
- handwashing facilities with running water, soap and paper towels
- hand sanitiser at locations in addition to washrooms, such as sanitising stations in shops
- hand sanitiser nearby for people getting in and out of vehicles or handling deliveries, if they are unable to wash their hands
When completing your COVID-19 risk assessment, consider if you need to provide additional handwashing facilities so that people can wash their hands frequently. Consider how often people should wash their hands, depending on where they work and how many contacts they have with others.
For information related to choosing the right sanitising facilities, refer toHand sanitiser products and surface disinfectants during the coronavirus pandemic – use, manufacture and supply.
2. Cleaning the workplace
You may need to increase how often and how thoroughly you normally clean your workplace, as well as cleaning surfaces that you do not normally clean. Before you can decide what cleaning is suitable for your situation, you’ll need to do a risk assessment to help you manage risk and decide how best to work safely and protect people during coronavirus.
There are also general things you should consider, including clean frequently, identify frequently touched surfaces, consider workstations and accommodation, reduce people’s contact with surfaces and objects. And you should always use effective cleaning products.
You could also disinfect premises using fog, mist, vapour or ultraviolet (UV) systems. It may be suitable options to help control the spread of the virus, by cleaning and disinfecting a larger space or room.
If you are cleaning because of a known or suspected case of COVID-19 in your workplace you should follow the GOV.UK guidance.
If you would like to know more about how to keep your workplace safe via cleaning, please check next week’s newsletter, where we will cover the remaining topics of improving bathrooms, toilets and washbasin, washing work vehicles and hiring cleaning staff.
Join our LinkedIn discussion group, COVID-19 HSE Red-on-line Experts Forum, to share your experiences and best practices relative to the novel coronavirus with fellow EHS professionals and the Red-on-line team.