We developed a set of enhanced cleaning guidelines in the wake of coronavirus, which we now use to ensure sites are given the required level of decontamination over and above that of our regular cleaning procedures.
Frequently touched surfaces that benefit from enhanced cleaning:
- Desktops and all work surfaces
- Door handles
- Light switches and dimmer switches
- Computer monitors, keyboards, mice
- Tablets and laptops
- Telephone equipment
- All chair rests and arms
- Canteen tables and chairs, crockery, trays and cutlery
- Sinks, taps and kitchen areas
- Toilets, including all surfaces
- Water fountains and drinks dispensers and vending machines
- Lifts and their doors and buttons.
Enhanced cleaning frequency
The areas highlighted above should be cleaned at least daily and, if possible, between shifts. Sites should use a commercial disinfecting wipe, detergent and water, or commercial anti-microbial products (see Disinfection section below for a list of likely effective cleaning solutions). The general guideline is that the more people who contact surfaces, the more frequently those surfaces should be cleaned.
- Internal or external cleaning staff will be responsible for regular cleaning of common areas frequented by employees
- Provide disposable wipes or other cleaning products so that commonly used surfaces can be wiped down by employees before each use.
Enhanced cleaning of non-office areas
Non-office areas include production areas, including shipping, receiving and labs. Many of our facilities have specific cleaning requirements for production areas, shipping and receiving areas, laboratories, and other non-office areas as dictated by quality systems, good manufacturing practices (GMP), or other requirements. These procedures should be maintained. In many cases, these procedures will include disinfection that will reduce the risk posed by viruses and pathogens.
That said, existing procedures may not include disinfection – and not in all areas. In these cases, to the extent that these enhanced cleaning guidelines can be implemented without compromising quality or other production requirements, they should be considered.
Personal protective equipment recommendations:
- Safety glasses with side shields and gloves (non-latex)
- Dispose of gloves after cleaning and wash hand with soap and water for at least 20 seconds
For general precautionary cleaning, detergent and water are adequate. Many general household products contain the appropriate concentrations of active ingredients (AIs) for disinfection of areas that have a high potential of contamination from viruses.
The AIs and their effective concentrations have been shown to be effective against known viruses. In addition to the use of cleaning agents, other treatments effective against known coronaviruses include steam and heat treatment.
Guidelines for disinfection
Disinfectants should be prepared and applied in accordance with the manufacturer’s recommendations. Ensure that appropriate contact time is given before rinsing or removing the disinfectant. Please see the disinfectants section below or refer to the European guidance referenced below for recommendations on disinfectants that can be used.
Disinfection of production, shipping and receiving, laboratories and other non-office locations should be done in consultation with QA/QC staff, operations and others as appropriate to ensure selected disinfectants and proposed methods are acceptable from a quality and production perspective.
Important points to note when using disinfectants:
- Check the labels and use according to instructions, and be aware of the potential hazard of each product
- Avoid contact with eyes and skin when handling cleaning products
- Comply with all warnings and precautions for use
- Do not mix different cleaning products
- Use in a well-ventilated area
- For disinfection of highly contaminated surfaces or materials, avoid the use of spray, and allow appropriate contact time needed for disinfection prior to rinsing or removing the product from the treated surface (refer to product instruction).
Singapore National Environment Agency, Interim List of Household Products and Active Ingredients for Disinfection of the COVID-19 Virus” (2/23/20)
European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control, Interim Guidance for environmental cleaning in non-healthcare facilities exposed to SARS-CoV-2 (2/18/20).
Specific work instructions with respect to disinfection (in addition to the European guidance)
- Cleaning staff should wear disposable gloves, disposable long-sleeved gowns, eye goggles or a face shield and an N95 disposable respirator or equivalent during the cleaning
- Gloves should be removed and discarded if they become soiled or damaged, and a new pair worn
- Disinfection can be limited to specific locations within the facility where the infected person spent time or was likely to have contacted surfaces (i.e., not just passing through an entrance vestibule, for example)
- The active ingredients and their effective concentrations listed below have been shown to be effective against known coronaviruses. In addition to the use of cleaning agents, other treatments effective against known coronavirus include steam and heat treatment. All disinfectants should be used according to the manufacturer’s instructions
- Soak cloths, mops, etc. with disinfectant or bleach solution and avoid spray applications which may create splashes and further spread the virus
- Wipe table tops, desks, benches or other horizontal surfaces with human contact with disinfectant or the prepared bleach solution at the beginning and again at the end of the cleaning
- Where possible, seal off areas where the confirmed case has visited until all cleaning and disinfection of the contaminated surfaces has been completed
- Remove curtains, fabrics, quilts, pillows and cushions for washing, preferably using the hot water cycle. Alternatively, you may choose to simply dispose of these items
- For hot-water laundry cycles, wash with detergent or disinfectant in water at 70ºC for at least 25 minutes. If low-temperature (i.e., less than 70ºC) laundry cycles are used, choose a chemical that is suitable for low-temperature washing when used at the proper concentration
- Arrange for a cleaning contractor to properly disinfect any carpets that have been used by any person who has been confirmed to have COVID-19
- Floors and hard surfaces should be cleaned using a disinfectant selected from the list contained in the European guidance
- Disinfect non-porous cleaning equipment by soaking in disinfectant or bleach solution. Disinfect equipment used in one room, before using for other rooms. If possible, keep the disinfecting equipment separated from other routine equipment
- Double-bag all materials for disposal (including rags, respirators, disposable gowns and gloves) and seal with a cable tie. Wear a new pair of gloves for handling the bag
- Waste should be disposed of upon completion of the disinfection work in accordance with local or country regulations for the disposal of bio-hazardous waste.