Disinfection Procedures

11 mins read


It’s all good and well to talk about sanitization and disinfection, but how far do you really have to go? What constitutes proper disinfection measures? Since we’re not used to being this detail-oriented about our cleaning, it’s easy to overlook items and surfaces we often touch that could carry disease. By following this guide, you’ll be able to confidently open your space to workers and give everyone present peace of mind.

General Disinfection Measures

The goal is to establish a sanitary baseline before the site opens. The site should be 100% disinfected prior to anyone returning to work. The cleaning steps outlined below should be taken routinely to disinfect workplace surfaces to protect employees. Don’t neglect to replace or clean/disinfect the HVAC air filters, which often go unnoticed but could be spreading the virus throughout the office.

Providers or employees should sanitize and disinfect all areas of the site with special attention to:

  • Tools
  • Workstations and equipment
  • Screens on site floors
  • Restrooms
  • Cafeteria
  • Lockers
  • Common surface areas
  • Computer screens and keyboards

Put tight controls in place on who enters and exits the site during the cleaning shutdown:

  • Security
  • Sanitization vendors
  • PRT (Pandemic Response Team) team members, as needed

General Disinfection Measures:

  • This checklist should be implemented to reduce the risk spreading any infection.
  • The cleaning steps outlined below should be taken routinely, based on frequency mentioned, to disinfect workplace surfaces, chairs, tables, etc. and protect employees.
  • Along with these workplace disinfection activities, proper personal sanitary practices including washing hands after bathroom use are also necessary.

Disinfection Frequency in Workshops and Offices
# Area/Place Disinfection Content Disinfectant Disinfection Measures Frequency
1 Work cell common surfaces Control buttons, tools and other common surfaces Hospital grade disinfectant or fresh 10% chlorine bleach solution (sodium hypochlorite solution), as appropriate Spray with hand held sprayer or wipe Minimum at the end of each shift
2 Offices, desk and conference rooms Table and chair surface Spray with hand held sprayer or wipe At the end of each meeting and end of day
3 Conveyor belts Wipe areas of common employee interface Spray with sprayer At least once in the morning and afternoon
4 Moveable trays or containers Handles and other commonly touched areas Spray with sprayer Based on use; Once per shift if contacted by 1 person only; otherwise, between users
5 General objects that are used or touched often Doors and windows, handles, faucets, sinks and bathrooms Spray with hand held sprayer or wipe At least 4 times per day
6 Cafeteria/Canteen Table and chair surfaces, dispensers, vending machines, etc. Spray with sprayer Generally 3 or more times per shift to include after all breaks and meals
7 Tableware Forks, knives and spoons Hospital grade disinfectant or fresh 10% chlorine bleach solution (sodium hypochlorite solution), as appropriate Place in high temperature disinfection cabinet, with temperature higher than 60°C, and time longer than half an hour After use
8 Vending machines Interface surfaces (pay, selection and vending surfaces) Spray with sprayer Generally 3 or more times per shift to include after all breaks and meals
9 Forklifts Wipe areas of common human interaction Spray with sprayer After each use
10 Multi-user safety vest and other PPE Only single user vest and PPE allowed Spray with sprayer After each shift
11 Transport vehicles Common surfaces (e.g. seat surfaces rails, belts, door and window controls) Spray with sprayer Before and after each use
12 All floors and walls All general floors and walls at site Mop Periodically, where frequently touched; mop hard surfaces daily

Deep-Cleaning and Disinfection Protocol

The General Disinfection Measures Protocol (above) should be followed regularly, whereas the Deep-Cleaning and Disinfection Protocol is triggered when an active employee is identified as positive for COVID-19 based on testing.

COVID-19 “deep-cleaning” is triggered when an active employee is identified as being COVID-19 positive based on testing. Sites may opt to have a deep cleaning performed for presumed cases, at their discretion.

Deep cleaning should be performed as soon after the confirmation of a positive test as practical. If a delay is expected past the end of a shift, the site should gain consensus from both their regional Operations and EHS leaders and take steps to perform an additional disinfection of potentially impacted common surfaces during the interim period.

While the scope of deep cleaning is presumed to be the full site, sites may reduce the footprint to be deep cleaned if there is sufficient rationale to do so and they gain consensus of their regional Operations and EHS (Environmental Health & Safety) leaders.

Not withstanding the above, if an active employee is confirmed to have a COVID-19 positive test, in lieu of performing deep cleaning, sites may shut down the site for a period of at least 72 hours to allow for natural deactivation of the virus, followed by site personnel performing a comprehensive disinfection of all common surfaces.

Corona Virus COVID-19 - Deep Cleaning and Disinfection:

  1. Identify an approved external company to carry out the deep cleaning activity. At a minimum, this company must have:
    1. Trained personnel to clean, disinfect, and dispose of hazardous waste
    2. Proper equipment and PPE to perform the task
    3. All necessary procedures and local authorizations or permits to perform disinfection services and manage any wastes generated
    4. Use of approved COVID-19 disinfectant chemicals to perform this activity
  2. The Pandemic Crisis Management Team must coordinate and supervise the cleaning and disinfection process. They must ensure that:
    1. There is a specific plan and strategy to clean all site, machinery/equipment, common areas, offices and any typical areas where employees interact
    2. Only authorized people can access the site during the cleaning operation
    3. All third party team members are using any required PPE and that it is also properly disposed of at the end of the process
    4. Assure that employees are made aware that the work areas have been disinfected
    Note: For the company’s purpose, deep cleaning is defined as a more comprehensive cleaning using advanced technologies, more aggressive cleaning solutions and performed by an external third party.
  3. Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) requirements for the Deep Cleaning team:
    1. The use of PPE is to be determined by the cleaning contractor based on the chemicals used to conduct the disinfecting process including proper wearing, storage, cleaning, decontamination and disposal of PPE as biohazard waste.
  4. Disposal
    1. At the end of the process, the Cleaning company must follow the local regulations to dispose all the PPE and cleaning material used in the proper manner.

Inbound Parts/Materials/Packages

According to the WHO, it is safe to receive packages from areas where COVID-19 has been reported, stating that,

“The likelihood of an infected person contaminating commercial goods is low, and the risk of catching the virus that causes COVID-19 from a package that has been moved, traveled and exposed to different conditions and temperature is also low.”

The virus does not survive on surfaces for long, and the length of shipment time and other environmental factors should inactivate the virus.

If you receive an expedited package from an area where COVID-19 is present and are concerned about possible surface contamination consider these steps:

  • Wash your hands frequently with soap and water
  • Use hand sanitizer when soap and water are not available
  • Avoid touching your face, eyes, nose or mouth

If packaged materials have been in transit and/or stored at the site for more than 48 hours from last human contact, no further action is needed. While not necessary, where employee apprehension remains high, sites may suggest the following additional precautions:

  • Using PPE, such as disposable nitrile gloves and/or disposable surgical masks
  • Disinfecting surfaces with a 10% bleach (sodium hypochlorite) solution made fresh daily, or a hospital-grade disinfectant - as appropriate to the surface(s) being treated (noting that these chemical agents should only be used by trained and authorized personnel)

Disinfection Protocol Checklist

It would be a good idea to set up a protocol checklist to make sure that disinfection measures are taken at whatever frequency your company decides is wise. This way, cleaning leaders know exactly what’s expected of them and what tasks need to be completed, and the next shift can look back on what was completed during previous shifts. Below is a sample that you can use, but feel free to customize it to the needs of your individual company.

Confirming Audit Card

Shift: Card#
Inspection Area:
General Disinfection Measures
1. Did the cleaning crew/employees receive training about the disinfection method and frequency?
2. Was hospital grade disinfectant or fresh 10% chlorine bleach solution (sodium hypochlorite solution) used as appropriate?
3. Did the team conduct a comprehensive cleaning in all work cell common surfaces (control buttons, tools, conveyors, trays, containers, forklifts, machines)?
4. Did the team conduct a comprehensive cleaning in all offices, desk and conference rooms (cabinets, desk, tables, chair surfaces)?
5. Did the team conduct a comprehensive cleaning in all general objects that are often used or touched (doors, windows, handles, faucets, sinks, bathrooms)?
6. Did the team conduct a comprehensive cleaning in cafeteria/canteen (tables, chair surfaces, dispensers, vending machines)?
7. Did the team conduct a comprehensive cleaning in all common surfaces of personnel buses (seat surfaces, rails, belts, door, windows, floor)?
8. Did the team conduct a comprehensive cleaning of floors, walls and multiuse areas (tables, chair surfaces, dispensers, vending machines)
2nd Layer Audit
Audit of the above performed by a higher-level manager
9. Were non-conformities raised? Y/N
10. If yes, were they actioned?
11. If no, please provide reasons:
3rd Layer Audit
Audit of Layer 2 by EHS
or a higher-level manager
12. Were all non-conformities closed? Y/N
13. If no, please provide reasons:

It’s scary trying to face the invisible – and insidious – corona virus. It’s easy to get overwhelmed by the possibility that it could be on any surface. But if you follow these measures, you are guaranteed to have a safe working environment for all of your employees, leaving them to focus on what really matters.

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