Whether you work in a clinic, a restaurant, or an office, keeping your workplace clean is essential for the health of your customers and your staff. These tips will help you maintain sanitary conditions and prevent the spread of disease or illness, as well as ensuring that your place of work is a pleasant place to be.
Wear Disposable Gloves
Gloves help stop the spread of bacteria. Gloves should be worn when handling food, dealing with medical equipment, or using hazardous materials of any form. Even if you work in an office, use gloves to prepare common meals or to clean restrooms. Keep a supply of gloves in your supply closet and in the office kitchen.
Wash your hands before and after putting on gloves. Do not switch tasks while wearing the same pair of gloves; the entire point is to prevent bacteria transfer. Throw away gloves as often as needed to maintain cleanliness.
Keep Sinks Separate
Bacteria can easily be transferred from one sink to another. Consider each sink to be a sterile “zone” intended for a specific purpose. A handwashing sink should not be used to do dishes, and a lab sink should never be used to wash hands.
Breakroom sinks may be used to wash hands, do dishes, and assist with food preparation. Use common sense; if your hands have touched cleaning chemicals, wash them in the bathroom instead. Consider putting up signage to indicate what areas should be used for what. We can all be a bit forgetful.
Hire a Cleaning Crew
Normal staff simply cannot be expected to maintain professional cleanliness standards. Employees have been hired to perform specific positions. A cook should not be asked to scrub, just as a lab tech should not be asked to sterilize. Performing cleaning at the same time as other job duties can actually increase the spread of bacteria.
Hire an office cleaning service to help maintain your work environment. Consider the needs of your workspace when deciding a cleaning schedule; an office does not need to be kept to the same standards as a restaurant or a clinic, but all should be cleaned on a consistent basis.
Keeping a constant work flow, i.e. having specific days when your employees or the service you have hired clean certain things and helping them draft up a specific schedule, can help keep everything clean and consistent.
If there are specific needs for your business, be sure to talk them over with those you have hired. Keep everyone up to date on safety protocols or even just particular quirks of your building or business. Even if you only need a few janitors to vacuum, take out the trash, and clean your bathrooms, having some supervision and accountability can be helpful.
Store Hazardous Materials Carefully
Cleaning agents and other chemicals need to be stored in a cool, dry place that is away from the floor. Cleaning agents should not be kept near food or medical supplies for any reason.
Most cleaning supplies list storage recommendations. Throw away any supplies in damaged containers; leaks can be more hazardous than you might think. Always make sure that you are disposing of supplies properly.
Workspace cleanliness comes from a combination of regular maintenance and employee habits. Ask your cleaning company for advice on meeting the required standards for your particular type of business. Small changes to employee routine, such as creating proper handwashing procedures, may be all that is needed to keep the workplace safe and sanitary. Whatever your particular business needs, you can find a solution that work for you and your employees.
Guest author, Lizzie Weakley is a freelance writer from Columbus, Ohio. She went to college at The Ohio State University where she studied communications. In her free time, she enjoys the outdoors and long walks in the park with her 3-year-old husky Snowball. @LizzieWeakley