Safety and OSHA News

CDC updates COVID-19 disinfecting, social distancing guidance

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recently updated disinfecting and social distancing guidance in response to the COVID-19 outbreak.

The organization provided new guidance regarding workplace cleaning, disinfecting, social distancing and ventilation in response to the evolving COVID-19 situation in the U.S.

Social distancing

When it comes to social distancing, the CDC recommends establishing policies and best practices for the individual workplace, especially if state and local health authorities are recommending it for your area, according to updated guidance on the CDC COVID-19 webpage.

This means avoiding large gatherings and maintaining 6 feet from others when possible.

Recommended strategies include:

  • implementing flexible worksites, such as teleworking
  • implementing flexible work hours, like staggering shifts or lunch breaks
  • increasing physical space between employees at the worksite
  • increasing physical space between employees and customers, such as using drive-through services or partitions
  • implementing flexible meeting and travel options, like postponing non-essential meetings or events
  • downsizing operations
  • delivering services remotely, such as using phone, video or web services, and
  • delivering products through curbside pickup or delivery.

Building ventilation

The CDC recommends improving engineering controls for building ventilation, including increasing ventilation rates and the percentage of outdoor air circulating into the system.

Environmental cleaning, disinfecting

All frequently touched surfaces in the workplace should be cleaned frequently. This includes workstations, keyboards, telephones, handrails and doorknobs.

Other cleaning recommendations include:

  • If surfaces are dirty, clean them with detergent and water before disinfecting.
  • Most EPA-registered household disinfectants should be effective against COVID-19. Follow manufacturer instructions for all cleaning and disinfection products.
  • Discourage workers from using other workers’ phones, desks, offices and work tools and equipment. If necessary, clean and disinfect them before and after use.
  • Provide disposable wipes so employees can wipe down commonly used surfaces before each use. Use products that meet EPA criteria for use against SARS-Cov-2, the cause of COVID-19, and are appropriate for the respective surface.
  • Perform enhanced cleaning and disinfection after individuals who are suspected or confirmed to have COVID-19 have been in the facility.
  • If a sick employee is suspected or confirmed to have COVID-19, follow all CDC cleaning and disinfection recommendations.
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