Flu Prevention For Your Facilities

Objective:

To provide a healthy, flu free environment for employees to strive and perform their daily tasks without interruption. Supplies & Equipment Needed: Disinfectant Spray/Wipes Face Masks & Respirators Facial Tissues Hand Sanitizing Solutions & Wipes Hand Soaps Latex/Nitrile/Synthetic/Vinyl Gloves No-Touch Trash Receptacle

Introduction to Flu Protection

With flu season about to start back up again, it is time to consider how vital the role of the facilities maintenance and custodial staff is in keeping our workplaces healthy. There are many everyday precautionary measures that individuals should personally take to minimize the risk of spreading the flu. But those responsible for the maintenance of their facilities have the unique ability to make an enormous impact on workplace health. It is important to educate maintenance staff about the importance of keeping a schedule of regular, frequent cleaning and disinfecting. This is especially true of commonly touched items such as door handles, counters, and desks. It is also critically important to make sure that everyone in the workplace has access to the needed supplies and are made aware of the importance of doing their part to keep a healthy environment. Here are seven things your facility can do to give a “shot in the arm” to the prevention of the spread of flu.

1. Posters

The CDC provides flu which address flu recommendations. All materials are free for download. They may be printed on a standard office printer, or you may use a commercial printer. Post them in bathrooms and breakrooms. They even have printable flyers. http://www.cdc.gov/flu/freeresources/print.htm

2. Hand Sanitizing

Hand sanitizers will prevent the most harmful bacteria and viruses from spreading. Make sure to keep hand sanitizing solution readily available at all times. A strategically placed pump type dispenser provides easy, quick access for effective protection against the spreading of germs by hand contact. Some key areas to place a dispenser are:
  • Gathering areas such as lobbies, conference/meeting rooms, break rooms, classrooms, etc.
  • Shared workstations, shared telephones, printers, or other shared equipment
  • Entrances and exits
  • Any area in which people will be waiting such as near elevators, reception rooms, waiting line areas, etc.
  • In restrooms near the door or next to the hand dryer.
It is also a good idea to distribute individually packaged hand sanitizing wipes to be used as needed.

3. Hand Washing

It is important to keep plenty of soap on hand and communicate the importance of thoroughly scrubbing hands with soap several times a day. Washing hands after using the restroom, upon reporting to work, and before and after eating should be mandatory for employees. This will help to prevent the spread of the virus from person to person.

4. Disinfecting Common Use Areas

Disinfect areas that get used frequently by multiple people. Use a disinfectant spray to clean these areas frequently. This will help to prevent the spread of viruses and other bacteria. This would include any shared equipment such as keyboards, chairs, desks, telephones, countertops, work benches, copy machines, forklifts, tools, cash registers, door handles, etc.

5. Proper Use of Tissues

Provide tissues in all common areas and meeting rooms. Also make sure there are no-touch trash containers available to quickly dispose of used tissue. Post info to make sure employees are aware of the importance of using tissue and the dangers caused by sneezing into hands, or touching eyes, nose, or mouth with bare hands. It is everyone’s responsibility to help keep the environment a healthier one.

6. Hand Protection

Blue nitrile gloves. Gloves are another part of the prevention process that may not be necessary for everyone. But it might be required for those in certain roles such as medical care, police/security, mail handling, maintenance, or any other position which might involve direct hand contact with infected people or contaminated items. Nitrile, vinyl, and latex gloves should be stocked according to your specific needs. High quality gloves are recommended to prevent any germs from passing through the glove material.

7. Breathing Protection

This may be a good idea for some who are in close contact with large amounts of people, or are in close contact with people who may already be infected with a virus. A medical cone face mask would especially apply to those people who work in care facilities, such as hospitals or retirement homes.

Overview

Proper planning and support from facilities managers and custodial staff can be a tremendous influence to the prevention of the spread of flu in the workplace. Those who are responsible for keeping the workplace clean have a unique role and responsibility to minimize the risk of flu.