Safe return to work practices: The importance of infection control in the workplace

Safe return to work

Safe return to work practices: The importance of infection control in the workplace

Manage the return to work with these safe work practices

Most occupations involve close contact with others and shared surfaces, increasing employees risk of exposure to micro-organisms and viruses. As lockdown eases and workplaces begin to re-open, we want to advise on some steps and guidelines which can be put in place to manage a safe return to work after COVID.

Guidance for employers
Steps to achieve a clean workplace
Workplace cleaning products
High-touch areas in your workplace
Hand hygiene at work
Clean workspace

Guidance for employers

If you employ people, you must do everything reasonable to protect your workers and others from COVID-19. Employers are responsible for the health and safety of those they employ, so we encourage you to outline safe and hygienic practices in your workplace and provide the measures for staff to maintain this.

Standard infection control precautions advised by the NHS outline the main actions that all employers and staff can take to help reduce the spread of infection within workplaces.

COVID-19 risk assessments must be carried out, and all staff must be updated with new procedures. It may be that you need to fit screens between desks and have signs on the walls and floors; you will also need to implement a more rigorous cleaning routine.

Sanitising hands in office

A clean workplace is a safe workplace

It is well known that coronaviruses are transferable between people and objects and can be passed on to others through contact with shared surfaces; your workplace must be frequently cleaned to prevent the spread of infection and keep staff safe.

Follow these steps to introduce and maintain a system that will reduce the spread of germs in your workplace:

  1. Pay extra attention to high touch areas (see below)
  2. Implement a cleaning plan – determine what areas need cleaning and how frequently
  3. Set clear guidelines for the use of toilets, ensure they are kept clean throughout the day and have social distancing measures in place. We recommend following HSE control measures for shared common areas on your works premises.
  4. Make sure that shared items, such as equipment shared vehicles, are cleaned after each use
  5. Keep surfaces as tidy as possible to enable effective cleaning
  6. Regularly clean work areas between uses
  7. Regularly clean equipment between uses

Cleaning products

There are many workplace cleaning supplies available, but when you use PDi products, you know that you’re using NHS tried & tested products that can be trusted to meet your cleaning demands.

If you would like a consultation with one of our experts about any of our workplace cleaning solutions, please get in touch:

0161 902 3030

High touch areas in your workplace

High touch areas are considered to be anything that is touched by lots of people, and these areas need more cleaning. The below posters illustrate high touch areas within different areas of the workplace. Extra care should be taken to clean these areas regularly to prevent the spread of infection as much as possible.

You can print a downloadable poster from below and place it in a visible place in different work areas to make employees aware of which surfaces are touched most frequently.

Communal kitchen:

Company vehicle:

Your cleaning regime should involve deep cleaning at least once a day with periodic cleaning at different times throughout the day with surfaces being cleaned regularly. Workstations must be cleared at the end of each day/ shift and cleaned following your cleaning plan.

If your workplace has not been closed or has had reduced numbers of staff during the last 12 months, then you must also check your ventilation systems and water systems do not contain stagnant water which could increase the risk of Legionnaires disease.

How changing the way you work can reduce the need for cleaning

Look at ways to limit the movement of people around the workplace and how you can reduce the need for people to touch objects and surfaces in communal areas.

We recommend making minor adjustments in your work environment that will limit the spread of infection through close contact and shared surfaces:

  • Have specific work areas for specific people and teams
  • Put away items that are not needed to avoid unnecessary contact
  • Leave doors open to reduce touch to handles and also help with ventilation
  • Have footplates fitted to doors so that they can be opened with feet
  • Give each member of staff a door hook to open doors

Hand hygiene

Place hand hygiene posters and signs around the building to advise on good handwashing techniques, informing staff how to remove germs from their hands thoroughly.

Handwashing facilities at work must be provided, and where soap and water are not available, hand sanitiser must be available. It would be good practice to have hand sanitiser readily available around the workplace in addition to handwashing. Delivery drivers and members of staff who use company vehicles should be provided with hand sanitiser to use before and after the use of a company vehicle.

We have all adapted to using hand sanitiser more than ever in our daily routines – but have you ever wondered how it actually works? Our blog post exploring how hand sanitiser works will help to give you a better understanding.

Stero-san hand sanitiser

  • Available in 50ml or 500ml
  • 70% alcohol antiseptic gel with moisturisers and added emollients, providing special skin protection
  • An alternative to soap and water when washing hands is inconvenient
  • Demonstrated to conform to the EN1500 standard
  • Testing is performed by the Hospital Infection Research Laboratory, City Hospital, Dudley Road, Birmingham, UK

If you would like a consultation with one of our experts about any of our workplace cleaning solutions, please get in touch:

0161 902 3030

Finally, we would like to remind you to check your workplace first aid kits, it is likely that they need updating or replacing due to out of date products. We sell a range of work-appropriate first aid kits as well as individual kit refills. Please get in touch for advice about workplace first aid or choosing the right first aid kit.

Visit our
Interactive First Aid Guide

Demystify workplace first aid & find out exactly what your business needs.

Please enter your details into the form below along with any questions or comments and a member of our team will be happy to provide you with more information: