A pre-COVID survey of over 1000 UK workers found that 46% of them had been off sick because of an illness or infection picked up in the workplace.
The cost to UK employers alone was estimated at £1.56 billion, but this number pales into insignificance as we adjust to a post-COVID working environment and the challenges this involves.
In short, we simply cannot afford to go back to such bad habits.
With that in mind, we have created this handy list of easy-to-implement tips for cleaning and disinfecting your workplace.
- Developing a clear action plan
- Creating colour coded cleaning priority levels by touch frequency
- Selecting right products for each surface
- Ensuring adequate product supplies
- Training cleaning staff
- Practicing safety first
- Decluttering the workplace
- Making it easy
- Promoting handwashing
- Implementing a clean airflow policy
- Having a sickness response plan
- Communication practices
Developing a clear action plan
This is the first step to securing a clean, hygienic, and secure workspace.
An action plan can be as simple as documenting what spaces need to be cleaned; how often each space should be cleaned; what level of disinfection is needed; and what resource and equipment your team will need to carry out the tasks.
In most cases, disinfecting an area once a day is sufficient to prevent the spread of germs. However, high use may need disinfected more often.
Don’t forget those easy to miss surfaces such as telephones and workstations.
For more information on this, check out our recent article:
Creating colour coded cleaning priority levels by touch frequency
Colour coding cleaning priority levels makes it a lot easier to follow your guidelines.
Generally speaking, the more people who touch a surface, the higher the risk. So, prioritize cleaning high-touch surfaces.
Use a different colour code for each of the following areas:
- Very High Risk
- High Risk
- Significant Risk
It doesn’t matter which colours you choose (although we would refrain form using Green as this colour denotes SAFE) as long as all staff members are aware of them.
Selecting right products for each surface
Having the right products in place makes a huge difference to workplace hygiene standards.
Typically, you want to ensure the products you use can clean the required surfaces, such as:
- Soft surfaces such as carpets, blinds, and curtains
- Electronics such as tablets, touch screens, keyboards, and remote controls
- Common areas such as walkways, hard flooring, and door handles
- Outdoor areas such as benches, tables, and grab-bars
- Laundry such as towels and tablecloths
If you want to make sure that you have the correct products for each application, speak to a member of our team who will be happy to assist.
Ensuring adequate product supplies
It seems obvious, but a lack of basic supplies is one of the leading causes of poor workplace hygiene.
Ensuring continuity of supplies should be assigned to a cleaning manager who can liaise with your supplier regularly to make sure everything is in place.
A lack of basic items such as cloths and wipes can make all the difference.
Store cleaning products safely and always use them at the concentration as recommended by the manufacturer.
Training cleaning staff
Staff should all know how to clean or disinfect surfaces, spaces, and equipment, including what cleaning products should be used. They should also be taught when and how often areas should be cleaned or disinfected.
Make sure there are clear processes for which staff members are responsible for cleaning and sanitizing areas and who is responsible for enforcing the guidelines.
To protect workers from hazardous chemicals, training should include guidance on using PPE.
Ensure workers are trained to read labels on the hazards of the cleaning and disinfecting chemicals used in the workplace according to OSHA’s Hazard Communication standard.
Practicing safety first
Disinfectants are dangerous, so always follow the directions on the label. It will always include safety information and application instructions.
Ensure adequate ventilation while using disinfectant and wear gloves or PPE.
Gloves must be removed carefully to avoid contamination of the wearer and the surrounding area.
Additional PPE, such as glasses or goggles, might be required depending on the cleaning/disinfectant products being used and whether there is a risk of splash.
Use chemical disinfectants safely! Always read and follow the directions on the label of cleaning and disinfection products to ensure safe and effective use.
Decluttering the workplace
This is a great strategy as it reduces the need for cleaning over time.
Better organised spaces are easier to manage. They also drive efficiency by being less time consuming, frustrating, and tiring.
In fact, clutter is proven to seriously affect your health and wellbeing long-term. You’ll not only have a cleaner environment, but a healthier, happier workforce.
Whilst decluttering, you should be able to create systems that reduce people’s contact with surfaces and objects by implementing systems.
This is better than relying on cleaning once contact has taken place.
Think about how you can change the way you work to limit movement of people around your workplace as far as possible whilst reducing people’s need to touch surfaces or objects.
Making it easy
As part of your action planning, make it as easy as possible for workers to follow your guidelines.
Clear signage, easy access to products and a consistent simple message will yield much stronger results.
Do not leave anything to people’s initiative as this will likely cause an increase in bad hygiene and infections.
A simple set of practical expectations, straightforward directions, and readily available resources should be considered as part of the disinfecting regimen.
Readily available wipes, plenty of cleaning products and other smart systems can help.
Dirty hands are one of the biggest contaminators in the workplace, so maintaining a strong handwashing culture will be key to your success.
Poor hand-hygiene can not only causes the spread of germs and infectious conditions but can lead to many common skin disorders and increased staff absence.
For a complete breakdown of handwashing in the workplace please see our guide:
Implementing a clean airflow policy
As much as we can disinfect surface areas, COIVD has taught us the dangers of having lots of people working in cramped confined spaces.
Therefore, your action plan should include processes to promote good respiratory hygiene in the workplace.
This not only includes adequate ventilation, make sure to display posters promoting respiratory hygiene.
Combine this with other measures such as guidance from occupational health and safety officers, and briefing at meetings, to ensure that face masks or paper tissues are available at your workplace.
Having a sickness response plan
If a member of your team falls ill, it is vital that you have a plan in place to respond quickly and adequately.
You should clean and disinfect the spaces they occupied, any surfaces they may have come into contact with.
Immediately close any areas used by the person who is sick and do not use those areas until after cleaning and disinfecting.
Open doors and windows and use fans or HVAC (heating, ventilation, and air conditioning) settings to increase air circulation in the area.
Wear a mask and gloves while cleaning and disinfecting and use high-grade disinfectant such as Guardicide or Guardisan Super Fresh for a deep and thorough clean of the area.
Communicating expectations is key to your success.
Everyone in your workplace should be clear about your cleaning policy and should know what their role is.
This helps to nurture a strong culture of cleanliness and helps to health and hygiene mindset.
Remember to continue promoting this culture throughout the year. Without consistent and continuous messaging employees will easily forget.
So, that was 11 Easily Actionable Tips for Cleaning and Disinfecting Your Workplace.
We hope you found this guide to cleaning and disinfecting your workplace helpful. For more information, please see the .GOV website.
Please let us know if you have any further questions or feedback on this topic by getting in touch with us.
For more information on Chela’s intelligent disinfecting and cleaning systems please visit our disinfectant hub.