Keeping your employees safe is just one of many challenges of the pandemic. Use a cleaning task checklist to help reduce the spread amongst janitorial workers.
At a time when many businesses have temporarily or permanently shut their doors, the cleaning industry has barely had a break. With people being extra cautious because of the pandemic, cleaning crews continue to tackle janitorial jobs despite the risk of infection from COVID-19. However, without a cleaning task checklist specific to the pandemic, workers may find themselves much more exposed than they’d like to be.
Many cleaning companies have addressed exposure risk with reduced hours, reduced teams, and sometimes even decreased services. Even so, there are plenty of employees who still work every day to ensure that others remain safe. Utilizing a COVID-centric cleaning task checklist will not only help minimize the potential dangers, but it will also give your employees peace of mind that they’re as safe as can be, and that their employer values their overall health and well-being.
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Your cleaning task checklist for reducing the spread of contagious viruses
Follow CDC guidance
When preparing your cleaning task checklist, the first thing you want to do is to make sure that your processes follow CDC guidance. That doesn’t mean you have to limit your checklist to these criteria, but they are the best place to start, especially if you’re putting together a list for the first time. OSHA also has some helpful information about best practices for COVID cleaning.
Before starting a job, employee should take note of the following:
- Personal protective equipment (PPE) like disposable gloves, face masks, and face shields (optional, but offers another layer of protection)
- CDC-approved disinfectants, which can be found here
- Surface cleaners, toilet cleaners, extra wipes, and clean mops
- Contact-tracing information for each job site to help assess the risk
- Hand sanitizer for when hand-washing isn’t immediately available
- When possible, restrict access to the area to be cleaned to minimize contamination during the cleaning process
Employees should also familiarize themselves with the products they’re using and stick to any manufacturer instructions regarding proper use. When new products come in, it can help to hold employee training sessions to ensure that everyone understands what they’re working with.
Cleaning task checklist
Once your teams have the resources they need, here’s a checklist they can follow to help minimize the spread of COVID:
- Wear disposable gloves, a face mask, and if possible, improve ventilation in the workspace by opening windows or activating air purifying equipment
- Dust HVAC units, lighting fixtures, and other high-reaching places before cleaning low-level areas
- Clean all surfaces with an all-purpose cleaner and wipes, especially high-touch surfaces such as:
- Phone handles and keypads
- Light switches
- Sink taps and toilet flushers
- Refrigerator handles
- Desktops and office chairs
- Cupboard handles and other kitchen surfaces
- After everything is wiped down, use an EPA-approved disinfectant to kill any remaining germs. Remember to leave the disinfectant on the surface for the recommended dwell time before wiping away to ensure all germs are destroyed (contact times vary from less than a minute to up to 10 minutes, depending on the product)
- Sweep or vacuum floors, taking care to kick up as little debris as possible in the process
- Mop floors with the same disinfectant you used on the surfaces, again allowing time for the disinfectant to work completely
- Empty trash receptacles, then wipe down and disinfect the bins before inserting clean liners
- When the job is complete, remove disposable gloves and face mask
- Wash hands thoroughly with soap and water for at least thirty seconds
- If hand-washing isn’t immediately available, use hand sanitizer and then wash hands as soon as possible afterward
Once your team completes the cleaning task checklist, they can do a few other things to ensure safety.
- Dispose of all single-use equipment, such as gloves, masks, gowns, wipes, trash bags, etc.
- Double-bag trash before throwing it out in an appropriate receptacle
- Put reusable equipment, such as mop heads, into labeled plastic bags and keep them separate from other equipment until they can be transferred to a cleaning facility
- Wipe down mop handles, water buckets, and other reusable equipment before using them again
- Wash hands again when all tasks are completed
Things to keep in mind
Adhering to a cleaning task checklist is most effective if your staff also keeps certain precautions in mind.
First, each employee must dispose of PPE immediately following a single job. Gloves and masks aren’t as effective if they are reused or used for long periods. If your employees are cleaning offices, for example, they should change their PPE every time they clean a different room, whether that be a kitchen, bathroom, or separate offices. Washing hands between PPE use is also highly encouraged. These extra steps will take time and may cost a little more money, but they are critical to reducing the spread and exposure of COVID-19 and ensuring your clients’ facilities are as protected as possible.
Re-emphasize the importance of washing hands regularly during the workday. Employees should avoid touching their mouths or faces, especially while wearing PPE. They also should not come into contact with other people until they’ve properly washed their hands and done all they can to ensure they’re clean.
Now more than ever, it’s vital that employees use cleaning chemicals as directed on the manufacturer’s label. It might be useful to include this on a cleaning task checklist to ensure that they remember to familiarize themselves with any products that may be new or otherwise unfamiliar to them.
Ensure that none of the products in your inventory are expired as they may be less effective against all germs, especially COVID-19.
Finally, if any of your employees exhibit COVID-19 symptoms or return a positive test, ensure that you are taking steps to retrace the people and places they’ve come into contact, and take appropriate precautions to reduce contamination across other team members. Other employees should be tested if one is diagnosed with COVID, and things like commercial vehicles and other communal equipment should be thoroughly cleaned and disinfected before anyone else comes into contact with them.
Remember, too, that even though this list is COVID-specific, these steps also work during cold and flu season. And anything you can do to keep your team and your clients healthy is good for everyone, including your overall business.
Janitorial Manager can help you track and minimize employee exposure to COVID-19, helping to ensure their safety and that of your clients. Find out more about all that Janitorial Manager has to offer by signing up for a free demo today!