Cleaning Coronavirus (COVID-19): Mixed Signals from the CDC and OSHA

Because the transmissibility of Coronavirus (COVID-19) from contaminated surfaces and objects is not fully understood, employers should err on the side of caution and take proper steps to decontaminate impacted areas. 

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), coronavirus can be found on some surfaces for up to 17 days after initial contact and that, “cleaning of visibly dirty surfaces followed by disinfection is a best practice measure for prevention of COVID-19 and other viral respiratory illnesses in community settings.” But how should businesses clean after a confirmed case of COVID-19 in the workplace?

COVID-19 CDC Cleaning Recommendations Differ from OSHA

With so many unknowns about COVID-19, there is conflicting information circulating on how to best disinfect surfaces where there have been confirmed cases. The CDC indicates that wiping down and disinfecting all contact surfaces is sufficient, while OSHA has issued a statement regarding COVID-19 Waste: 

“…use typical engineering and administrative controls, safe work practices, and PPE, such as puncture-resistant gloves and face and eye protection, to prevent worker exposure to the waste streams (or types of wastes), including any contaminants in the materials, they manage. Such measures can help protect workers from sharps and other items that can cause injuries or exposures to infectious materials.” 

Failure to properly manage the waste could lead to cross-contamination and further infection risks. Disinfecting and disposing of regulated medical waste is a service that requires industry expertise, specialized equipment, and appropriate state/federal certifications

Disinfecting and disposing of regulated medical waste is a service that requires industry expertise, specialized equipment, and compliance with appropriate state/federal regulations.

In addition, the process of cleaning and disinfecting COVID-19 puts those completing the cleaning at risk. Professionals trained in infectious disease cleanup have the skills, resources, certifications, and equipment to complete COVID-19 safely—giving you peace of mind that you, your family, your employees, and your customers are well protected.

Protecting Employees From Recognized Hazards

When the safety of your workers, customers, and community are on the line, having a trusted partner is key. It is critical that when selecting a company for COVID-19 cleaning that the company be OSHA compliant and follows all CDC guidance regarding Coronavirus.

General Duty Clause, 29 USC 654, section 5(a)(1) requires that employers protect their employees from recognized hazards. 

“Each employer shall furnish to each of his employees employment and a place of employment which are free from recognized hazards that are causing or are likely to cause death or serious physical harm to his employees.”

Additionally, the coronavirus is not listed as an exception to recording an occupational illness in 29 CFR 1904.5(b)(2). This means that if an employee contracts COVID-19 from another employee or through occupational exposure on a cleaning job, the illness is recordable on the OSHA log for that business. If it results in job restriction, days away or fatality, this is also required to be recorded. 

There’s a requirement to contact OSHA to actually REPORT a fatality or hospitalization if it is from a workplace exposure to Coronavirus. In the case of a death, an OSHA inspection and investigation would follow and could result in a fine if the company didn’t take proper measures when they knew about it and should have.

Offering Peace of Mind for Businesses with Prevention, Preparedness, and Disinfection Services

In response to the outbreak of the COVID-19 Coronavirus, Aftermath Services, the leading provider of virucidal disinfection, trauma cleaning and biohazard remediation, offers a comprehensive range of coronavirus-specific virus prevention, preparedness, and disinfection services for businesses.

Aftermath Services is also fully insured and bonded, to meet or exceed most commercial and government requirements. In addition, we are licensed to operate in 48 states

Gain more information on our coronavirus cleaning methods or contact us for immediate coronavirus cleaning.