Workers want both clean and disinfected workplace

Signage, checklist of cleaning protocols can help boost employee confidence

Workers want both clean and disinfected workplace
Frequent disinfection and cleaning of high-touch surfaces, such as doorknobs and light switches, is a top priority for U.S. workers.

While roughly three-quarters of U.S. workers want daily cleaning of their workplace amid the pandemic, even more want an extra layer of defence these days – disinfecting.

Back in May, 56 per cent were calling for daily cleaning and disinfecting – as of December, that percentage has risen to 62 per cent, according to a survey by OpenWorks, which provides commercial cleaning and facility services.

“Business leaders recognize that enhanced cleaning and disinfection protocols not only offer physical protection, but they also bring employees peace of mind,” says Eric Roudi, president and CEO of OpenWorks

These are employees’ priorities when it comes to commercial disinfection:

  • Frequent disinfection and cleaning of high-touch surfaces, such as doorknobs and light switches (90 per cent)
  • Use of Environmental Protection Agency-approved antimicrobial disinfecting products (83 per cent)
  • Cleaners who are certified in disinfecting through a governing authority (71 per cent)
  • Immediate test results showing bacteria has been eliminated (70 per cent)
  • Use of a sprayer, fogger or mister to apply disinfectant to all surfaces (68 per cent)

Cases of COVID-19 attributed to workplace outbreaks represented just over five per cent of cases among workers in Ontario in November and December 2020, says one research group. However, this does not include outbreaks in health care, education or congregate living settings such as jails.

Employee confidence

Employees are still split on whether they will get a vaccine, finds the survey of 447 respondents: 59 per cent said they will, 18 per cent said they will not and another 23 per cent are undecided.

Encouragingly, 67 per cent of employees surveyed in December are confident that their employer is having their workplace properly disinfected on a regular basis -- up by 10 per cent from May. However, one-third are uncertain.

Communication may play an important role in raising employee confidence, says OpenWorks.

“One example is signage that conveys the work that is being done to protect their health and safety, such as test results showing bacteria has been killed from surfaces, a checklist of disinfected areas and frequency of disinfection by the cleaning crew, or a sign or notice of disinfection posted by the commercial cleaning company or in-house cleaners.”

The World Health Organization (WHO) has said that surfaces, such as desks and tables, and objects, such as telephones and keyboards, need to be wiped with disinfectant regularly because “contamination on surfaces touched by employees and customers is one of the main ways that COVID-19 spreads.”

Employers must also promote good respiratory hygiene in the workplace, and regular and thorough hand-washing by employees, contractors and customers.

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