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The COVID-19 pandemic rocked the business world. Companies were forced to pivot quickly to ensure their survival. As well, a lot of organizations had to redesign the way they do business to ensure that their employees and customers were kept safe from the spread of COVID-19.
The government continues to release regulations and recommendations aimed at helping businesses protect workers and the public from the spread of COVID-19, along with cold and flu viruses. One of the most essential components is an increased cleaning protocol that aims to protect others from cold, flu, and COVID-19.
Effective Cleaning Protocols
To protect workers and customers, your cleaning protocols need to be effective. Gone are the days when we just wiped things down with a damp cloth as needed or did a deep clean once or twice per year. Your new cleaning protocol needs to be done consistently, often, and correctly.
A cleaning protocol doesn’t need to be complicated to be effective at protecting others from cold, flu, and COVID-19. Consider the following:
Most common products are effective at killing cold, flu, and COVID-19 viruses. Understand that there is a difference between cleaner and disinfectant.
- Cleaners wash away germs and dirt. Cleaner doesn’t kill germs, but it helps remove some or most germs that cause viruses to spread.
- Disinfectant kills germs that are lingering on surfaces or objects. A disinfectant may not necessarily clean, so it is usually applied after cleaning to lower the risk of infection even further.
Products that clean and disinfect at the same time are extremely efficient at reducing the spread of colds, flu, and COVID-19 by transmission via hard surfaces, objects, and touch points.
Before you create the process, you need to consider occupational health and safety requirements and regulations, as well as your WHMIS program.
The key to effective protection is consistency. To remain effective, your cleaning protocol must be done regularly and thoroughly, following a specific procedure. Cleaners, disinfectants, sanitizers, and combination products all may contain controlled substances. As such, training, information, and safety precautions must be in place.
The most effective cleaning protocols will use the least number of different products to achieve the outcomes. It’s recommended that you consider what products you will use first, to ensure you’re maximizing the use of the products you have. For example, using disinfectant wipes to clean door handles but using rags and cleaners to wipe down toilet handle isn’t as efficient as using disinfecting wipes for all touch points.
You’re ready to develop the procedure. Here’s what to do:
- List all surfaces and objects that need to be disinfected, remembering to consider all touch points
- Read all the manufacturer’s instructions and SDSs for all cleaning and disinfecting solutions
- Purchase and supply any required PPE
- Remember that wet methods (wipes and damp rags) are better than dry methods (dusting or sweeping)
- Decide on a frequency for regular cleaning
- For high-traffic areas such as lunchrooms or washrooms, increase the frequency
- Think about shared workspaces or tools and consider implementing a policy for cleaning them before and after use
- Supply wipes and hand sanitizer for employee workstations
- Add a schedule for checking all soap and sanitizer dispensers, as well as paper towels so that employees can practice hand hygiene
- Download the FREE Calendar to ensure you’re not missing anything!
What else can you do to protect employees and the public when they’re at your place of business? Regardless of how effective your cleaning protocols are, continue to implement the following:
- A hand hygiene program that focuses on frequent handwashing and increased sanitization
- Continued adherence to physical distancing
- Hand sanitizer stations at entrances and exits
- Universal masking policies
When used in conjunction with physical distancing and handwashing, masks are a proven method of decreasing the spread of COVID-19, as well as cold and flu viruses. Provide masks for all employees and ask clients to wear them when they visit as well.
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