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Define clear rules for activity

With a number of interventions, you can ensure social distancing and hygiene rules are respected, both between employees and during contacts with customers and suppliers.

Cleaning staff immediately ask the customer to air out the building and whether he or she has symptoms that indicate a coronavirus infection. If this is the case, the cleaning staff may not enter the building. The cleaning staff must wash and disinfect their hands and then put on personal protective equipment (PPE), including gloves. Shortly before going outside, he or she must take off the PPE and thoroughly wash their hands.

 

Social distancing is the rule when greeting or leaving the customer. Keeping the appropriate distance is also important when working. If the building allows it, the occupants should not be present in the room where the cleaning staff is working. If this is not feasible, they must keep a distance in the room of at least 1.5 metres. If this is not possible, the cleaning staff cannot work there.

During contact with the customer, try to minimise the exchange of documents and objects. To prevent direct contact, the cleaning staff can put down the documents at arrival so these can be signed when they will leave. However, electronic service vouchers are preferred.

Your employees should always have enough paper handkerchiefs to cover their nose and mouth while blowing their nose, sneezing, and/or coughing. They must immediately throw used handkerchiefs into a rubbish bin and then wash their hands.
 

Tip: Thoroughly examine the tasks that a cleaning assistant can perform in a domestic environment. Avoid or postpone certain tasks (eg sorting dirty laundry, removing sheets, ...).


Tip: provide your cleaning staff with our ready-made posters about coughing and sneezing, hand hygiene, and general precautions against coronavirus for this.

Create a healthy workplace

Our info sheet indicates what you and your staff must pay attention to when working in a room: from adequate ventilation over all people working in a room to personal protective equipment.

You can limit the spread of the coronavirus by ventilating your rooms properly. Opening the windows regularly is the message. Ask your customers to do this before the cleaning staff arrive.
 

Do not use individual fans that can spread the virus.

Lees hier meer over in de nota van REHVA

Ask the customer to leave connecting doors open as much as possible during the cleaning. This will reduce the number of door handles the cleaning staff have to touch.

If the building allows it, the occupants should not be present in the room where the cleaning staff is working. If this is not feasible, they must keep a distance in the room of at least 1.5 metres. If this is not possible, the cleaning staff cannot work there.

Only essential meetings that cannot be organised remotely may take place in the office. In this case, choose a space where you can respect social distancing, and keep the number of participants to a minimum. Keep an attendance list of each physical meeting for one month.

The lift is essential for your cleaning staff so they can move between floors in a high-rise building. However, it is a small space and maintaining a proper distance is not always easy.
 

Tip: motivate your employees to use the stairs as much as possible as a healthy alternative.

Review these measures for safe lift use.

Motivate your employees to always grab the banister when using the stairs. They can use their sleeve or a tissue to grasp the handrail. Provide bins with foot pedal in the staircase; at the beginning, at the end or in different overflows and inform workers to throw the tissue into the trash immediately after use. In addition, you can also provide a hand alcohol gel per floor in a holder so that employees can disinfect their hands before and after using the stairs. Also make sure that the cleaning of banisters and handles (of the doors that lead to the staircase) is included in the cleaning program.

Motivate your cleaning staff to walk, ride a bike or scooter, or drive a car when going from place to place. If he or she has to use public transport, social distancing is an absolute must. In consultation with your customers, you can adjust working hours so the cleaning staff can travel outside rush hours. After every trip, cleaning staff must wash or disinfect their hands with hand alcohol.
 

If you come by public transport (train, tram, bus), follow the instructions of the transport companies. As from 4 May and from the age of 12, wearing a mouth mask or an alternative covering mouth and nose is compulsory in public transport in the stations, on the platforms and on board of the trains.

More concrete tips can be found in this information sheet

Cleaning staff must not take a break or eat lunch in the room where occupants are present. In nice weather, he or she should take their breaks outside.

Keep the work environment clean

In addition to adequate hand hygiene for your employees, cleaning materials must also be thoroughly cleaned to avoid spreading the coronavirus.

Cleaning staff must always wear nitrile gloves. Before he or she starts work, they must disinfect cleaning materials (e.g. brush, vacuum cleaner, wiper, bucket) and points that will be touched (e.g. switches, door handles, table tops, remote control, tap handles, valves). The cleaning staff should do the same before they leave. Only prescribed disinfectants may be used. If the cleaning staff will use products provided by the customer, the prescribed dilution must be respected.

Cleaning staff must always wash their hands before and after using the toilet. Also provide a disinfecting hand cream.
 

Hang clearly legible instructions about hand hygiene at every washbasin. Inform employees to close the water tap with a paper towel or close the tap with the elbow after washing and drying hands. Also underline the importance of good toilet hygiene. Specifically: leave the toilet clean, flush and close the toilet lid.
 

Tip: Points for attention for bleach as a cleaning agent and disinfectant.

Download our hand hygiene poster

Provide sufficient quantities of soap – preferably in soap dispensers – paper towels and closable bins, if possible with pedal control.
 

Avoid using electric hand dryers or towels.

These preventive measures apply to ethanol (the basis of hand alcohol gel) in large quantities (from 5l)

First and foremost: the risk of corona contamination via waste is minimal. Correct, efficient waste collection is crucial to avoid additional hygiene and health risks. Remove full bins or bin bags from the work floor immediately. Waste collectors must wear gloves.

How to take off gloves correctly? Read the instructions

Keep a close eye on the health of your employees

Those who exhibit symptoms must go home. But what about the mental health of your employees? And, has your cleaning staff received the right info about first aid?

If an employee feels ill and exhibits flu-like symptoms (e.g., fever, cough, shortness of breath, runny nose, sore throat, headache, muscle aches, fatigue), send him/her home immediately to contact the doctor. Anybody with respiratory complaints must not come to work. 

This article contains a number of frequently asked questions about dealing with sick employees

Your employee can come to work, even if a housemate is ill. It is important that this employee follows the same instructions as other employees.

More information is to be found in the general measures of the government

The government is going to trace those who have been in close contact with a corona patient. If your employee has been in contact with a corona patient he may receive a phone call from a contact tracer working for the government. They will advise him what measures to take depending on the nature and the length of the contact. Provided your employee receives no guidelines (government, doctor, etc.) and shows no symptoms he may go out to work.

Employees who are mentally troubled (for example, stress, workload, work-life combination), feel anxious or are mourning the loss of a loved one can contact the Mensura psycho team during office hours for a confidential conversation.
 

We can also activate a 24/7 helpline for your staff. Would you like to know more about this? Send an email to psychosociale-aspecten@mensura.be.

Frequently asked questions related to coronavirus and mental well-being

Even if your non-Dutch speaking employees have mastered our language reasonably well, they may still lack certain nuances. This can lead to misunderstandings. Therefore, provide basic information in the native language of your employees.

Download posters, FAQs and audio files with corona info in different languages

It is important that your cleaning staff knows how to care for themselves when injured.

More information can be found in this info brochure.

Face masks are part of the lockdown exit strategy. It is important that we wear them, but it is crucial that we continue to respect the hierarchy of the prevention measures. Specifically: when the first measure in the hierarchy cannot be respected, only then does the measure in the level below come into force.
 

Face masks are at the bottom of the ranking and are only recommended if all other measures are not feasible.
 

Preventive measures according to hierarchy 

  1. Stay home, especially if you are sick. 
  2. Work from home whenever possible if the job allows for this. 
  3. Maintain a distance of at least 1.5 metres, indoors and outside. 
  4. Wash your hands often with soap and water. 
  5. Wear a mouth mask on public transport and when social distancing cannot be guaranteed.
  6. Limit your physical social contacts.
     

Infographic: 'How to wear a face mask safely'

This information sheet contains more information about face masks

Employees who come from abroad need extra follow-up to prevent the spread of the Corona virus. Mensura developed a procedure for this:

Would you like to know more about this procedure? Please contact your contact person or your regional Mensura office.

Do you have a question about the specific situation in your workplace?

We are happy to help you! Get in touch with your trusted contact or our regional office.

Sector-specific e-learning courses for your employees

Do you want to inform your employees about how they can work safely and healthily during these corona times? You can with our sector-specific e-learning sessions.

Find out more about e-learning for your sector