Commercial Cleaning Re-Opening Guidelines For Distribution Facilities

Commercial Cleaning Standards

Preparing your distribution facility for re-opening requires a comprehensive commercial cleaning and coronavirus disinfection plan to keep workers safe while getting back to business.

Prepare Your Distribution Facility for Re-Opening

Preparing your distribution facility for re-opening includes implementing:

  • Social distancing controls
  • Engineering controls
  • Commercial cleaning standards for coronavirus disinfection
  • Infectious disease response plan

Social Distancing Controls

Most reported cases of COVID-19 have been traced back to human contact. Redesigning your distribution facility to accommodate a six-foot space between workers whenever possible can help cut down the spread. If that’s not possible, consider whether physical barriers can be implemented to separate work areas.

If you use an inventory management or warehouse management system, check to see if you can arrange goods in a manner that can reduce pickers from being clustered in areas. Consider arranging goods into zones with assigned teams. Instead of maneuvering the number of workers throughout the entire facility, you may be able to limit the number of people within zones. By using a zone strategy, you can pick goods inside a zone and then pass them on to adjacent zones for fulfillment.

Many distribution centers have rearranged work schedules to stagger shifts, including early morning and late-night that were previously downtimes. This limits the number of employees in the workplace at any given time. If someone on a shift were to get ill, it might mean quarantine for multiple team members. By extending shift hours, workers are less likely to come in contact with sick individuals.

Distribution facility managers should consider restricting access points into the building to maintain acceptable limits on the number of people in the workplace at any one time. Policies should be set up for deliveries and shipping, including touchless tracking and barcode scanning.

Engineering Controls

The Occupational Safety and Health Administration requires all companies to provide a workplace free from recognized hazards that could threaten the health and safety of workers.

Engineering controls to limit exposure to COVID-19 may include:

  • High-efficiency air filters
  • Increased ventilation rates
  • Installing physical barriers, such as plastic sneeze guards or panels to increase the separation
  • Drive-through areas for shipments and deliveries

Commercial Cleaning Standards for Coronavirus Disinfection

The virus has been shown to remain active on some surfaces for hours and even days. The Center for Disease Control (CDC) recommends regular cleaning and disinfecting before and after reopening workplaces. Deep cleaning and commercial cleaning should be part of your coronavirus disinfection plan.

If you are using a commercial cleaning service at your distribution facility, you should make sure they are following all CDC recommendations, ISSA standards, and following best practices for coronavirus disinfection to eliminate 99.9% of bacteria and viruses on exposed surfaces.

Cleaning and disinfecting happen in two stages. First, cleaning with soap, water, and other cleaners will remove dirt and some germs. After cleaning, a separate disinfection process should occur using disinfectants on the EPA’s approved list of disinfectants for use against SARS-Cov-2 (COVID 19).

Commercial cleaners should be trained in safety and OSHA procedures, including the use of personal protective equipment (PPE), the hazards of cleaning chemicals, and disposal of regulated waste. They should also be certified in Blood Borne Pathogens and Global BioRisk Advisory Council (GBAC) Disinfection procedures. Any good commercial cleaning company should also be fully licensed, insured, and bonded.

You should also ask about deep cleaning, frequency of cleaning and disinfecting, and how they treat high-touch areas. The CDC recommends daily disinfecting of high-touch areas, such as doorknobs, elevator buttons, light switches, bins, racks, faucets, and sinks. In high traffic areas, disinfecting may need to occur even several times a day, such as the beginning and end of each shift.

Review Your Infectious Disease Preparedness & Response Plan

Every distribution facility should have an infectious disease response plan in place. This should include additional proactive measures to minimize exposure and a plan to deal with a scenario where a worker is ill.

Proactive measures should include:

  • Policies, procedures, protocols, and training for employees
  • DIY cleaning using products such as hand sanitizer and disinfectant wipes
  • Health screenings, including monitoring and self-assessments, before entering your distribution facility
  • Communicating building protocols in an obvious manner, such as floor markings for social distancing, face masks requirements, and healthy practices.

You also need to have a response plan in place in case someone is sick. This includes:

  • Stay-at-home policy for sick employees
  • Quarantine procedures for those exposed to coronavirus
  • Notification of exposed employees
  • Procedures for lockdowns, cleaning and disinfecting of exposed areas

Some facilities will designate an isolated area where someone can be kept until they can receive treatment and keep a commercial cleaning service on-call for coronavirus disinfection.

To Learn Even More About Re-Opening Download this Free Executive Report

We’ve assembled a Workplace Readiness and Re-Opening Guide that shares best practices developed in alignment with recommendations from the CDC, OSHA, EPA, WHO, and ISSA.

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We apply our TotalWorksTM Comprehensive Commercial Cleaning Service approach to provide top-to-bottom cleaning, disinfecting, and sanitation solutions.

Let us show you how you count on a safer, healthier, and cleaner environment for your distribution facility. Contact OpenWorks today for a quote.