Occupational health tool kit:  Building cleaning and barriers (tip sheet #2)

From: Health Canada


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Organization: Health Canada

Date published: July 2020

For those responsible for building maintenance and cleaning

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Stay informed

  • For further information and guidance, please visit canada.ca/coronavirus.
  • Work closely with Real Property, Occupational Health and Safety (OHS) committees, and cleaning and maintenance service providers.
  • COVID-19 recovery activities will be gradual and phased in order to allow for physical distancing; note that a return to full building/worksite occupancy will not be possible at this time.

Cleaning and disinfecting

  • Increase cleaning and disinfection of all hard surfaces using appropriate cleaners and following manufacturers’ instructions for safe use, which may include the use of personal protective equipment such as gloves. If household or commercial disinfectant cleaning products are not available, hard surfaces can be disinfected using a mixture of 5 mL of bleach (5% sodium hypochlorite) and 250 mL of water. Make sure the solution is in contact with the surface for 1 minute.
  • Consult technical sheets and Safety Data Sheets (SDS) to ensure proper product application and safety measures.
  • Arrange for the cleaning of offices, lunchrooms, and workspaces at least twice per day, and more often for high-traffic areas and contact surfaces. Focus on frequently touched and shared surfaces.
  • Ensure washrooms are cleaned frequently and stocked with soap, paper towels, and plastic lined waste containers.
  • For work environments where running water is not available, ensure employees have access to an alcohol-based hand sanitizer.
  • To encourage proper hand hygiene for employees, consider installing hand sanitizing stations and signage at building entrances. Ensure stations and signage are accessible for all needs.
  • Provide disinfectant solution and/or wipes at several locations on floors.
  • Provide tissues, plastic lined waste containers and alcohol-based hand sanitizer at entrances, where feasible.

Physical barriers

  • Where physical distancing is not possible, consider the feasibility and effectiveness of installing physical barriers, such as clear plastic sneeze guards, glass or plastic windows between employees and clients. It is important that any physical barriers do not create restrictions to accessibility, in circulation paths or negatively impact airflow within a space.

Touch points

  • Consider installing touchless technologies where feasible (e.g., faucets, light switches, garbage cans).
  • Keep doors open, where possible, considering security as well as OHS elements such as building and fire safety requirements.

Prepared by Health Canada’s Public Service Occupational Health Program (PSOHP)

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