Home | Industry Insights | Disinfecting Coronavirus and First Aid Kits

As your in-service safety provider, we wanted to send out this monthly safety message to raise awareness and enhance employee quality of life in your company. This monthly message deals with “Disinfecting Office Spaces, New OSHA Requirements, and First Aid Kit Updates.”

Feds offer guidance on cleaning workplaces post coronavirus

Employers are getting federal guidance on how to properly clean and disinfect their facilities before re-opening from coronavirus-related closures. The President also signed into law H.R. 6201(P.L. 116-127, The Families First Coronavirus Response Act, outlining guidance for OSHA to issue an emergency temporary standard within 30 days that requires employers within some sectors to develop and implement a comprehensive infectious disease exposure control plan. The Environmental Protection Agency and the Centers for Disease Control issued guidance April 29 providing step-by-step instruction for post-pandemic cleaning and disinfecting of workplaces, public spaces, businesses, schools and homes. Proper cleaning and disinfecting are important in helping prevent the spread of coronavirus, according to a news release on the joint EPA/CDC guidance.

This guidance offers a three-step process for preparing workplaces and other spaces for re-opening:

1. Develop a plan. Determine what needs cleaned, how to disinfect it and what resources and equipment are needed to do so.

2. Implement the plan. Clean visibly dirty surfaces with soap and water, use an appropriate disinfectant product and be sure to follow the directions on the label.

3. Maintain and revise the plan. Continue to routinely clean and disinfect while maintaining safe practices like frequent hand washing and using cloth face coverings and continue to reduce the potential of exposure by maintaining social distancing.

To aid in creating a plan, the guidance also provides a cleaning and disinfecting decision tool. To properly clean and disinfect surfaces to reduce the risk of COVID-19 exposure, a two-step process should be followed:

1. Use soap and water to remove germs, dirt and impurities from surfaces, which lowers the risk of spreading infection.

2. Use disinfectants to kill germs still living on surfaces to further lower the risk of spreading infection.

The EPA has a list of disinfectant products including ready-to-use sprays, concentrates and wipes that are effective against coronavirus. The agency reminds users to follow product label instructions and safety information closely. This includes leaving product on surfaces long enough to kill germs and
rinsing the product off to avoid ingestion.

When employers consider how to operate in these new times, and with OSHA preparing their new guidance on exposure control, they should also consider as many preventive measures as possible to protect their workforce and ensure business continuity. Here is a link to OSHA’s Control and Prevention worksheet. One thing is for certain, with this new guidance from OSHA, they are also looking to develop a new Employer Exposure Control Plan to mitigate this risks and risks in the future. One of the easiest and most effective ways to heighten prevention measures is to review current plans and look at first aid kits in your facilities. First aid kits are a vital source in prevention and employers should look at their first aid kits and see how they can be updated. With this new risk, first aid kits should contain disposable gloves, disposable masks, thermometers, and other items highlighted by the CDC and other subject matter experts.

Many employers over look first aid kits because of their infrequent use or because the items inside primarily treat minor injuries; however, a good first aid kit enhances the overall safety of employees in the office and ensures a quick response to both injuries and exposure to infectious diseases. First aid kits are required by OSHA 1910.151(b) and the minimal list of contents within the kits is described by the American National Standard (ANSI) Z308.1-1998. TW Safety is available to answer all your COVID-19 and first aid kit questions, please do not hesitate to reach out with questions or concerns to enhance your workplace safety efforts.


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