Extracts From “Guidance On Routine And Deep Cleaning Of Workplaces When Covid-19 Positive Cases Have Been Identified”, By Dr Charlene Andraos

Frequency of cleaning/disinfection

  • Workplaces to be cleaned daily.
  • The frequency of cleaning will increase if:
  • Workplace operates in shifts (clean between shifts).
  • Equipment is shared (clean between uses).
  • Disinfect when there is likelihood of contamination:
  • Suspected/confirmed case of COVID-19 at the workplace.
  • At workplaces with high volume of workers, customers or visitors that are likely to touch surfaces.

Terminal/Deep cleaning when COVID-19 case identified/suspected

WHO, CDC, EPA etc does not recommend fogging:

  • Disinfectant inactivated by organic matter (cleaning still required).
  • May miss surfaces shielded by objects/folded fabric etc.
  • Increased inhalation exposure of disinfectant to workers and community.
  • WHO recommends deep cleaning via wiping disinfectant on surface after thorough cleaning.
  • No formal accredited training needed.

Deep cleaning after COVID-19 case identified/suspected

  1. Close off area and direct work to another clean facility (it is not necessary to close entire business).
  2. Increase air circulation (open doors/windows).
  3. Wait 24 hours before cleaning.
  4. Personal protective equipment (PPE): disposable or utility gloves, dedicated overall (plastic aprons), closed shoes.
  5. Clean and disinfect communal areas and equipment (focus on highly-touched surfaces).
  6. Wipe twice with 0,05% (500 ppm) chlorine solution (or once with 0,1%).
  7. Avoid exposure to ill person’s fomites (ie pens, computer, eating utensils, dishes).
  8. Flood bodily fluid spillage with 0.5% (5000 ppm) chlorine solution, cover with absorbent material, leave for 30 min before cleaning.
  9. Cleaning equipment (eg buckets) must be separated from regular cleaning equipment.
  10. Closure period of workplace: disinfectant vapours have disappeared and all surfaces air-dried.
  11. Additional cleaning and disinfection not necessary if more than seven days have elapsed since ill person was present in facility.
  12. Continue routine, everyday cleaning and disinfection practices

Disinfection spray tunnels/booths

  • Prof Salim AbdoolKarim, Chairperson of the Ministerial Advisory Committee on Covid-19, “Human spraying is harmful with almost no benefit.“
  • CDC “does not recommend the use of sanitizing tunnels. There is no evidence that they are effective in reducing the spread of COVID-19. Chemicals used in sanitizing tunnels could cause skin, eye, or respiratory irritation or damage.”
  • WHO: “Spraying of individuals with disinfectants (such as in a tunnel, cabinet, or chamber) is not recommended under any circumstances. This practice could be physically and psychologically harmful and would not reduce an infected person’s ability to spread the virus through droplets or contact. Even if someone who is infected with Covid-19 goes through a disinfection tunnel or chamber, as soon as they start speaking, coughing or sneezing they can still spread the virus.”

Additional important points

  • Never mix different types of disinfectants (eg bleach with ammonia as hazardous vapours are released).
  • Moisturise hands regularly as alcohol-based hand sanitizers result in dehydration
  • If staff members develop skin irritation after using sanitizers or disinfectants, inform occupational health practitioner / specialist or contracted dermatologist to determine source of irritation and recommend another product.
  • Employers have to provide resources such as no-touch refuse bins, hand soap, alcohol-based hand rubs containing at least 70% alcohol, disinfectants, and disposable towels for employees to clean their hands and their work surfaces. (Department of Employment and Labour, 17 March 2020).
  • Irrespective of workplace size (ie < or > 20 employees), it is still the employer’s duty to comply with Section 8 of the OHS Act and to ensure that there are funds set aside for the provision of resources. If there is no budget, then the employer must think of alternative methods to raise funds.


Posted in Construction Health and Safety.

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