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US | COVID-19 | CDC and EPA Publish Joint Guidance on Cleaning and Disinfecting

COVID-19 CDC OSHA Disinfecting

On April 29, 2020, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) published joint guidance on cleaning and disinfecting public spaces, workplaces, businesses, schools, and homes.

The joint guidance contains three overarching steps:
  1. Develop a plan
  2. Implement the plan
  3. Maintain and revise the plan
The guidance also contains a few reminders about the coronavirus and reducing the risk of exposure. This includes disinfecting frequently touched surfaces and objects including:
  • Tables
  • Doorknobs
  • Light switches
  • Countertops
  • Handles
  • Desks
  • Phones
  • Keyboards
  • Toilets
  • Faucets and sinks
  • Gas pump handles
  • Touch screens
  • ATMs
Use EPA-approved disinfectants when available. If these are not available, 70% alcohol solutions may be used or 1/3 cup of bleach can be added to one gallon of water. Hard and non-porous surfaces that are visibly dirty should be cleaned prior to disinfection. Soft and porous materials such as carpets, rugs, or materials in seating areas, should be thoroughly cleaned or laundered. Consider removing soft and porous materials in high traffic areas and disinfect soft and porous materials if appropriate disinfectants are available.

Develop a Plan

When developing a plan, determine what needs to be cleaned. According to CDC/EPA, areas unoccupied for seven or more days only need routine cleaning; current research shows that the virus does not last longer than that on surfaces. You may maintain existing cleaning practices for outdoors areas. You must then determine how areas will be disinfected, considering both the type of surface and how often the surface is touched. Consider the availability of cleaning products and personal protective equipment required for cleaners and disinfectants.

Implement the Plan

Clean visibly dirty surfaces with soap and water prior to disinfection. Use EPA-approved disinfectants appropriate for your needs. Follow all directions on the label.

Maintain and Revise the Plan

Continue or revise the plan based on appropriate disinfectant and PPE availability. Frequently touched surfaces should be disinfected at least daily. Additionally, ensure employees wash their hands frequently, use cloth face coverings, and ensure sick workers stay at home. Maintain social distancing and reduce the sharing of common spaces and frequently touched objects. ____________________
Sources: CDC/EPA Guidance for Cleaning and Disinfecting Public Spaces, Workplaces, Businesses, Schools, and Homes, April 28, 2020 CDC/EPA Infographic, Guidance for Cleaning & Disinfecting Public Spaces, Workplaces, Businesses, Schools, and Homes, April 23, 2020 ____________________ LinkedIn COVID-19 Expert ForumJoin our LinkedIn discussion group, COVID-19 HSE Red-on-line Experts Forum, to share your experiences and best practices relative to the novel coronavirus with fellow EHS professionals and the Red-on-line team.

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