The COVID-19 pandemic has affected many people’s lives and has significantly altered the business landscape nationwide. The coronavirus – the respiratory disease that causes COVID-19 – has killed more than 550,000 people in the United States, and left us with as many as 33 million COVID-19 cases nationwide, so it can be hard to feel safe during this pandemic.
We have experienced a major upheaval in our economy, with millions of people losing their jobs and others finding their hours slashed, as lockdowns and major restrictions on our mobility have severely restricted the normal pace of business production for much of the past year.
Now that we are beginning to gradually re-open more of our businesses and usher in employees back to their offices, we are in the process of trying to figure out how we should conduct ourselves while keeping our employees and customers safe. Our offices and worksites have been reconfigured and re-designed to accommodate national and state safety regulations and public health precautions.
So now as Americans begin the initial stages of returning to their places of business, our top priority is to ensure the health and safety, and well-being of our staff and customers. This is not an easy task as it seems COVID-19 safety precautions – as issued by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) – is being modified on an almost weekly basis.
We offer in this space guidelines and recommendations for operating in your workspaces in ways that allow for continued workplace productivity while keeping everybody safe. These proven strategies for businesses have been made available by the CDC, a team of Cleveland Clinic experts, and SAIF, Oregon’s not-for-profit workers’ compensation insurance company.
Tips for Safe Cleaning and Disinfecting the Workplace
Disinfecting high-touch surfaces and regularly used spaces is pivotal in controlling the spread of COVID-19. It is best to create a plan that is simple and easy for everyone at your company to follow.
Plan Phase: First determine what should immediately be cleaned. A guideline to go by could be spaces that have been left unoccupied for a week or longer – just routine cleaning is required. High-touch areas such as sinks, doorknobs, elevator buttons, coffee makers, break rooms, conference rooms, employee workstations, etc. should be cleaned and disinfected frequently.
Consider the resources and equipment required for these cleaning and disinfecting jobs. Make sure you utilize your janitorial workforce and determine the availability of cleaning products and personal protective equipment needed for cleaning your business’ facility.
Execution Phase: Make sure you clean dirty surfaces with soap and water before you disinfect them. Use EPA (Environmental Protection Agency)-approved disinfectants that will help safeguard against COVID-19. Be sure to read labels to make sure the cleaning products will meet the needs for your business or organization. You will also want to clean or replace air filters regularly in accordance with the manufacturer’s instructions.
Maintain Cleaning Routine: Continue to regularly clean and disinfect and be prepared to revise and adjust your cleaning regimen based on changes to your environment at work. Also, maintain safe practices by integrating more layers of protection to keep everyone safe. These practices include frequent hand washing, wearing masks, having employees stay home if they are sick, and social distancing.
Maintaining Social Distancing
Here are ways you can keep social distancing in effect at work and still allow for the daily workflow to continue unabated:
- Reconfigure your space or create barriers to be sure employees and others stay six feet apart.
- Stagger or adjust schedules to restrict the number of workers in the workplace at a given time.
- Adhere to public health guidelines with respect to special accommodations and protections for vulnerable and at-risk employees. You might allow higher-risk employees to keep working from home.
- Although cloth face coverings protect others from exposure to the person wearing the cloth covering, they are not a suitable or safe replacement for industry or task-specific required respirators and PPE (Personal Protective Equipment).
- In Washington and other states, masks or cloth materials that cover both the nose and mouth are required when physical distancing can’t be maintained.
Regular Health Checks at Work
- Conducting in-person or virtual health checks for employees on a daily basis is optional, according to the CDC.
- Consider having these health checks for all of your employees that come into the worksite.
- Use no-touch thermometers if you implement temperature checks.
- Follow guidance from the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) regarding confidentiality of medical records from health checks.
- Put together a plan in case an employee displays symptoms while in the workplace, or tests positive for COVID-19, or is determined to be presumptively positive by a public health authority.
- Build-in time into your schedule for training, ideally before re-opening your business.
- Train all of your staff on COVID-19 policies and procedures.
- Remember to conduct basic safety and health training for your staff and new employees that is geared to your industry and work environment.
Additional Workplace Recommendations for Protection Against COVID-19
If necessary, limit the number of people in your establishment at one time. You might have to change policies to allow for flexible worksites, such as work-from-home, flexible work hours, staggered shifts.
Increase the distance between employees at your company. Do this by adding extra space between workstations to ensure six feet of distance between workers. Encourage employees to avoid elevators and decrease the number of riders, create one-way traffic flow through aisles and hallways, etc.
Hold meetings by phone or video whenever possible. If you do need to meet in person, be vigilant about having adequate space between employees, make sure all employees are wearing masks, and be sure the meeting space is thoroughly cleaned and disinfected.
Create staggered schedules for break times and meetings to avoid large groups of people congregating in small spaces at once.
Adjusting to the New Normal at Work Amid COVID-19 Safety Precautions
Ensure that these workplaces’ COVID-19 safety precautions are implemented smoothly and in an orderly fashion by getting buy-in from your entire staff. It is important for management teams to be adaptable, flexible, and sympathetic to the needs of employees and capable of communicating these new health and safety policies clearly and effectively.
Dura-Shine Clean – A Premier Cleaning and Maintenance Company
As COVID-19 continues to impact our lives in these challenging and uncertain times, Dura-Shine Clean is prepared during this unprecedented time to clean and disinfect your business according to the protocols set forth by the CDC.
Dura-Shine Clean provides enhanced cleaning services for businesses that include touch-point cleaning and electrostatic disinfection to help prevent the spread of harmful viruses, germs, and bacteria.
Dura-Shine Clean services clients in Kennewick, Pasco, Richland, Moses Lake, and Othello.