Cleaning the premises after a Covid case
We are aware of the need to clean and disinfect the workplace after learning of a worker with Covid symptoms or confirmed coronavirus. There is guidance on how this should be undertaken from a health and safety perspective.
The UK Government guidance notes the need to undertake cleaning and disinfection following an occasion when an individual has symptoms or confirmed coronavirus and has left the premises.
Guidance notes that:
- public areas where a symptomatic person has passed through and spent minimal time but which are not visibly contaminated with body fluids, such as corridors, can be cleaned thoroughly as normal
- all surfaces that the symptomatic person has come into contact with should be cleaned and disinfected, including all potentially contaminated and frequently touched areas such as bathrooms, door handles, telephones, grab rails in corridors and stairwells.
It is advisable that, as part of outbreak contingency planning, the employer has a plan in place to enable appropriate cleaning to be undertaken. A process should be put in place that enables appropriate persons to be informed of the circumstances when cleaning is required and has the authority to put the plan into place.
In terms of practical matters, the following should be considered:
- completion of an appropriate risk assessment/s for the cleaning activities, including use of substances and work equipment
- provision of appropriate equipment for cleaning but also warning signs and personal protective equipment, etc
- development of method statements/standard operating procedures that put into practice the risk control measures required
- instruction and training of operatives in the use of equipment, PPE, substances, cleaning methods and waste disposal, etc.
There will need to be some form of dynamic risk assessing required as the operations will need to take into account the actual areas involved. This will require some investigative work to ascertain where the person with symptoms/confirmed Covid has been.
Again the employer should be considering where responsibility for this rests within the organisation.
Where the cleaning operations have been outsourced to a third party it is essential the organisation works with the cleaning provider to ensure all parties are fully conversant with the procedures to be followed.
To assist in developing appropriate procedures, the British Institute of Cleaning Science (BICSc) have produced a guidance document Standard Operating Procedure: Outbreak Decontamination Cleaning.
This guidance can be used as a framework to develop an organisation-specific procedure.
Contact us should you require further information.
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