On Monday 23rd March, the UK Government implemented a countrywide lockdown. From this point, all non-essential journeys are prohibited and only designated key workers (such as doctors and food chain workers) may continue to attend their places of work. While many of us hunker down at home, ready for weeks of self-isolation, there are still numerous workers using commercial spaces including GP surgeries, supermarket staff rooms, ticket offices at stations and conventional offices.

For employers of key workers, workplace hygiene has never been more important. In order to protect the health of staff and slow the spread of the COVID-19 virus (also known as the Coronavirus), workplaces must be more vigilant than ever before about cleaning surfaces to reduce the risk of transmission amongst staff. Such steps won’t only help to protect workforces, they will also reduce the risk of further transmission among the entire population.

Please consider adopting these enhanced cleaning measures:

1. Clean with isopropyl alcohol or sodium hypochlorite

These ingredients will help to fight COVID-19. They are commonly found in many commercially available cleaners and disinfectants – just read the label. Sodium hypochlorite is the chemical name for bleach. As such, please take care when using this ingredient. Wear gloves to protect your skin, keep it away from fabrics to prevent bleaching and never dilute it with any chemicals. Bleach should only ever be mixed with water. There are other cleaners which are appropriate for use against COVID-19. Find a full list here.

2. Dry surfaces after cleaning

Water creates an environment in which the virus can multiply. Dry off freshly cleaned surfaces with a clean, dry cloth or paper towels.

3. Focus on touch points

The public have been warned extensively about the importance of rigorous handwashing and avoiding face-touching. That’s because our hands are “sponges” for viruses. On the way to work, your staff may have used public transport, pressed buttons at pedestrian crossings, or come into contact with viruses on any number of surfaces. If they are not able to wash their hands before contacting surfaces in your workplace, transmission can occur.

It may also be the case that an employee is already affected by COVID-19 but is asymptomatic. In all circumstances, rigorously and regularly cleaning touch points including door handles, light switches, phones, photocopier and printer buttons, kettles, taps and toilet handles will all reduce risks. If possible, place alcohol wipes next to equipment which must be shared and ask staff to clean items including office phones and printers after use.

4. Stop sharing equipment

To reduce the number of surfaces shared by employees, businesses and organisations should limit the amount of equipment which is shared in the premises. That may include ensuring everyone uses a dedicated mug or temporarily banning the making of hot drinks on site (to reduce the potential for kitchen contamination), ensuring workstations are not shared (keyboards are a particular harbour for contaminants), and propping doors open to reduce the number of people touching door handles.

There are many resources online which can educate employers on how to reduce the spread of COVID-19 in workplaces which must remain open for business. If you do research further information online, please make sure you are accessing reliable advice from a government body or trusted organisation. You may find the following links helpful:

The Abbey Cleaning Service offers exceptional cleaning services across South Wales. For more information about our commercial cleaning services, contact us today on 029 2067 9323.

[Post last edited – 31st March 2020]