Once your facility has reopened for business, it’s important to have a clear social distancing policy and cleaning plan to not only protect your employees but also to make them feel safe and comfortable as they work.
The following is sourced from American Industrial Hygiene Association’s backtoworksafely.org and the Center for Disease Control. Refer to these sources for more information, including guidelines on specific business types like retail and industrial.
Enhanced Cleaning Practices for Building and Equipment
The AIHA recommends the following:
- Select appropriate disinfectants based on the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s list of products that meet the EPA’s criteria for use against COVID-19.
- Review product labels and Safety Data Sheets and follow manufacturer’s specifications.
- Consider consulting an industrial hygiene expert if additional advice is needed.
- Establish a disinfection routine. All contact surfaces should be disinfected regularly, including:
- Individual workspaces between shifts.
- Common area contact surfaces between each use, including:
- Door handles
- Elevator buttons
- Bathroom surfaces
- Kitchen appliances and surfaces
- Sign-in areas
- Common office electronics (e.g., phones, printers, keyboards, mice and personal devices)
- For guidance on cleaning and disinfecting individual rooms and spaces in your workplace, refer to Prepare Your Workplace for Business During the COVID-19 Pandemic.
- Use disposable products when possible.
- If reusable products are used, maintain, handle and clean per product instructions.
- Consider using a checklist or audit system to track when and how cleaning is conducted.
- Remove items and personal effects from surfaces to facilitate surface cleaning.
- For additional guidance on a cleaning plan, review the CDC’s recommendations.
Social Distancing Policy/Guidelines for Your Workplace
The CDC defines social distancing, also called physical distancing, as “keeping space between yourself and other people outside of your home.” A policy/guidelines are important to establish so employees know what is expected of them when working in the office.
Consider the following the latest information from the CDC when crafting your policy/guidelines while also consulting guidance from your state.
- Actively encourage sick employees to stay home. Develop policies that encourage sick employees to stay at home without fear of reprisals, and ensure employees are aware of these policies.
- People without symptoms can spread COVID-19, so it’s important to keep distance from all people whenever employees are in the office.
- Transmission occurs when an infected person coughs, sneezes or talks and droplets are launched in the air and land in the mouths of people nearby.
- It may be possible that person can get COVID-19 by touching a surface or object that has the virus on it then touching their mouth, nose or eyes.
Below are social distancing tips from the CDC that will help you create your policy/guidelines:
- Stay at least 6 feet (about 2 arms’ length) from other people
- Do not gather in groups
- Stay out of crowded places and avoid mass gatherings
- Cover your mouth and nose with a cloth face covering when around others.
- Work/Learn from home when possible.
Additional Social Distancing Tips for the Workplace:
- Use tape or floor decals to mark-off 6 feet in personal workspaces so people know how close they can get
- Clearly post social distancing policy/guidelines in various places in your facility.
- Use plastic partitions and shields to mark off areas and protect employees.
Personal Hygiene Guidelines
In conjunction with practicing social distancing in the workplace, it’s crucial for employees to take proper steps to protect themselves and mitigate the spread of the virus should they become ill.
- Evaluate your health constantly; if you are sick, have a fever, symptoms, or someone at home is sick then you should remain home. Employer HR Policies, HIPPA guidelines and other laws should be followed at all times.
- Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds, especially at the following times:
- Upon arriving at work
- After blowing your nose, coughing, or sneezing
- Touching any common contact surfaces
- Prior to leaving work.
- If soap and water are not readily available, use a hand sanitizer that contains at least 60% alcohol. Cover all surfaces of your hands and rub them together until they feel dry.
- Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth with unwashed hands.
- Cover your mouth and nose with a cloth face cover when around others.
- Continue to keep 6 feet between yourself and others when wearing a face cover. It is not a substitute for social distancing.
This Guide is not intended to provide legal advice and it should not be considered or relied upon as such. Companies are encouraged to consult an attorney for legal advice relating to reopening.