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As an employer, you must protect people from harm. This includes taking reasonable steps to protect your workers and others from coronavirus (COVID-19).

Coronavirus can transfer from people to surfaces. It can be passed on to others who touch the same surfaces.

Keeping your workplace clean and frequent hand washing reduces the potential for coronavirus to spread and is a critical part of making and keeping your business 'COVID-secure'.
Our web will show how you can organize your work and workplace, so hygiene is maintained, surfaces are clean and people are provided with the right facilities to control the risk from COVID.

There is separate advice on:

  • Use, manufacture and supply of hand sanitizer products and surface disinfectants
  • Disinfecting premises using fog, mist and vapour


Use signs and posters to help your workers practice good hand washing technique and to remind them to catch coughs and sneezes in a tissue or the crook of their arm and avoid touching their faces.


  • hand washing facilities with running water, soap and paper towels or hand dryers
  • hand sanitiser at locations in addition to washrooms, such as sanitising stations in shops
  • hand sanitiser nearby for people getting in and out of vehicles or handling deliveries, if they are unable to wash their hands

Information on how to wash your hands is available from Riddor Safety International.

Additional hand washing facilities

When completing your COVID-19 risk assessment, consider if you need to provide additional hand washing facilities so that people can wash their hands frequently.

Consider how often people should wash their hands, depending on where they work and how much contact they have with others.

This will also help you to decide if and where you need to provide additional washing facilities.

If you cannot provide additional hand washing facilities, you may need to provide hand sanitiser instead near to frequently used areas.

When you complete your risk assessment, think about:

  • providing handwashing facilities at entry/exit points so people can wash their hands when they arrive and leave work – if this is not possible, provide hand sanitiser
  • where to have extra handwashing facilities so people can wash their hands frequently
  • making sure your handwashing facilities have running water, soap and paper towels or hand dryers

Identifying where extra hand sanitiser points are needed in addition to washing facilities.


You may need to increase how often and how thoroughly you normally clean your workplace, as well as cleaning surfaces that you do not normally clean.

If you are cleaning because of a known or suspected case of COVID-19 in your workplace you should follow the Government guidance.

Before you can decide what cleaning is suitable for your situation, you'll need to do a risk assessment to help you manage risk and decide how best to work safely and protect people during coronavirus.

Your risk assessment will help you to identify what your cleaning regime will look like, but there are some general things that you should consider.

Clean frequently

  • Keep surfaces clear so that cleaning can be carried out more effectively
  • Areas should be regularly cleaned in line with your cleaning plan
  • Set clear guidance for the use and cleaning of toilets, showers and changing facilities to make sure they are kept clean and social distancing is achieved as much as possible
  • Clean work areas and equipment between uses
  • Frequently clean and disinfect objects and surfaces that are touched regularly
  • If equipment like tools or vehicles are shared, then clean them after each use

Identify frequently touched surfaces

Doors, bannisters, buttons and anything that is frequently touched, especially if it's touched by lots of people, will need more regular cleaning than normal. Examples of frequently touched objects include:

  • Work surfaces like desks, platforms and workstations
  • handles on doors, windows, rails, dispensers and water coolers
  • Common areas like toilets, reception, changing rooms, corridors and lifts
  • Vehicle handles, steering wheels, seat belts and internal surfaces
  • Control panels for machinery, control pads and switches
  • Computer keyboards, printers, touch screens, monitors and phones
  • Taps, kettles, water heaters, fridges, microwaves and cupboards
  • Shared equipment like tools, machines, vehicles, pallet trucks and delivery boxes
  • Post and goods coming in or being shipped out

Put in place measures to clean surfaces and objects after each use where possible, for example phones and conferencing facilities in a meeting room. If it's not practical to clean after each use, such as lift buttons that are used continuously throughout the day, make sure they are cleaned often.

Any adequate cleaning regime should involve deep and periodic cleaning.

Deep cleaning is a thorough clean of all frequently touched surfaces at least once a day.

Periodic cleaning is cleaning at different times throughout the day. It can include cleaning items immediately after use as well as cleaning surfaces on a regular basis throughout a single day.


Make sure that workstations are cleared at the end of the day or shift so that they can be properly cleaned. Ensure that all workstations are regularly cleaned in accordance with your cleaning plan.


Employers who provide accommodation for their workers should make sure it is properly and regularly cleaned. Consider following cleaning regimes:

  • To ensure accommodation units stay clean
  • For shared communal areas
  • Cleaning regimes for toilets and showers


Reduce the need for cleaning

Reducing people's contact with surfaces and objects is better than relying on cleaning once contact has taken place. Think about how you can change the way you work to:

  • Limit movement of people around your workplace as far as possible
  • Reduce people's need to touch surfaces or objects

Ways you could limit movement or reduce people's need to touch objects that you can consider include:

  • Allocating specific work areas or vehicles to specific people
  • Creating small groups that can work independently on tasks
  • Closing off spare workstations and putting away items that you don't need
  • Propping open doors to avoid the need to touch handles (excluding fire doors or other doors that must be kept closed)
  • Fitting automatic sensor operated doors or foot plates to doors so they can be opened with feet rather than hands
  • Issuing door hooks to workers so they don't have to touch handles
  • Reducing equipment available to reduce the amount that needs to be cleaned

Cleaning products

Your usual cleaning products should be effective. If you change your usual regime then check that products are suitable for the surface and environment. Clean cloths and other reusable cleaning products in soap and water after use.

Store cleaning products safely and always use them at the concentration as recommended by the manufacturer.


When completing your COVID-19 risk assessment, review the provisions you have in place to make sure they allow people (including visiting workers) to wash their hands frequently. Consider whether you need to provide any additional washing facilities.

To protect people when using existing washing facilities, you should:

  • Identify all surfaces that require additional cleaning in bathrooms and toilets
  • Make sure you provide running water and soap
  • Provide hand drying facilities – paper towels, continuous roller towels or electrical dryers
  • Empty bins frequently – where possible, have open-topped bin or foot-operated lids
  • Use signs and posters to increase awareness of good handwashing technique
  • Decide how and when to clean handwashing facilities and empty bins
  • Decide who will replenish soap, paper towels and hand sanitizer

Keep the facilities well ventilated, for example by ensuring extractor fans work effectively and opening windows and vents where possible.


Ensure vehicles are cleaned regularly, particularly between different users. Clean commonly touched areas in vehicles including:

  • Handles (inside and out)
  • Steering wheel and starter button
  • Ccentre touchscreen and stereo
  • Handbrake and gearstick
  • Keys and key fob
  • Indicators and wiper stalks
  • Windows, mirrors and mirror switches, seat adjusters and any other controls

Ensure that people practice good hygiene before and after using the vehicle. Provide hand sanitiser where necessary.


Some organizations may decide to have full-time cleaning teams. Smaller organisations may need fewer cleaning staff. Other workers can also play a part. You should determine what is needed for your business based on your COVID risk assessment.

Talk to your workers and provide information

Talk to all your workers and encourage them to co-operate with cleaners. They can make sure that surfaces are left clear at the end of the day so that deep cleaning can be done more effectively. Papers or items left on surfaces might make cleaning less effective.

Keeping people informed about any changes to cleaning, and the reasons for it reduces the chance of uncooperative staff. It may also reassure your workers that you are doing what you can to keep them safe.

You could use posters to inform people that regular cleaning will take place and that they should co-operate with cleaners.

Where you expect users to clean equipment after use as part of your cleaning regime, posters can help to remind people of their responsibilities.

Provide cleaning staff with their usual personal protection equipment (PPE) for cleaning where this is necessary.

Cleaners should maintain social distancing while cleaning and wash their hands with soap and water when they finish work. You should provide hand sanitizer when washing facilities aren't close by.

Ensure cleaning staff receive good instructions and understand the importance of carrying out thorough cleaning properly.