It has never been more important to maintain a clean and thoroughly disinfected laboratory than now as the science community battles the risk of COVID-19 in hospitals and labs. Cleanliness standards have always been one of the most important features of a successful and well-managed lab, but now that we are fighting the spread of COVID-19, higher standards and more stringent practices must be put in place.
When you are cleaning and disinfecting your laboratory laboratory furniture, it is essential that you follow new guidelines and measures to ensure that your workplace and employees or students are kept as safe as possible.
Here, we will discuss the most recent developments in lab hygiene measures and how you can ensure that your lab furniture are kept disinfected and clean at all times.
Risk Assessment Procedures:
It is important that your lab space and its specific characteristics are closely inspected and assessed so that you can create precise and easy to follow procedures for everyone who has access to the space.
A few important factors to consider are:
- Numbers: It is important to know how many people will be regularly accessing the lab on a day to day basis. This will affect how often the laboratory workbenches, tables, and surfaces need to be disinfected. It will also affect social distancing measures, which still need to be maintained inside the lab space.
- Floorplan: For your laboratory to stay clean during COVID-19, you will need a floor plan that allows for ease of personnel traffic. It is also a good idea to put in place a one-way system that prevents crowding.
- Reassess Old Procedures: Take a look at your lab’s cleaning and sanitizing procedures and see where these procedures can be strengthened and improved upon. Often, this will mean doubling down on how often laboratory furniture is cleaned or switching to single-use equipment or garments where possible.
- Emergency Plan: In the event that someone in the lab contracts COVID-19, your lab should have adequate measures in place to protect staff who may be at higher risk of contracting the virus.
Where possible, improve the ventilation of the laboratory. This will help keep the air fresh in the workspace.
Have a Safety Plan in Place
A strong safety plan will be essential to keep your laboratory safe during these challenging times. This plan needs to be communicated clearly and regularly with all members of staff to ensure that it is always properly implemented.
You should keep your staff informed of the latest government and company or university guidelines so that everyone is aware of when they may need to isolate at home. The lab manager should keep tabs on any national and state developments concerning COVID-19 and update the safety plan accordingly.
Contact information should also be provided for employees to use if they experience symptoms of the virus or test positive. This will allow the lab to act quickly when protecting vulnerable members of the staff and ensuring that the individual’s workspace is thoroughly disinfected.
You may also need to introduce more flexible sick leave for your employees so that they feel comfortable and confident in their employment situation at all times. Supporting your staff during this time is essential.
Some labs have asked a member of staff to become a contact point who others may reach out to with concerns and fears over COVID-19. This will give your staff members reassurance and privacy while at work.
Here are a few of the best ways to keep your laboratory furniture clean:
- Wear gloves when cleaning and disinfecting the lab space and dispose of these afterward.
- It has been recommended that lab surfaces are first cleaned with soap and water before a disinfectant is applied.
- Create a strict cleaning routine that ensures surfaces and doors that are commonly used are cleaned and disinfected regularly. Take note of which spaces are used by people the most and adjust accordingly. If there is any area inside or near the lab that can be accessed by members of the public or administrative staff, these should be cleaned regularly and watched closely.
- Thoroughly and regularly clean ‘high touch’ spaces. These include doorknobs, faucets, phones, keyboards, handles, and shelves.
Personal Hygiene Measures
To ensure that all staff follows the new hygiene measures that have been put in place, offer or require new training that will reinforce the procedures. This will help ensure that everyone follows the basic rules, such as proper handwashing, and more advanced practices such as daily lab sanitization.
Personal protective equipment, or PPE, should also be provided as much as possible to keep everyone safe from the spread of COVID-19. You should also ensure that your lab is always well-stocked with essential supplies, such as disinfectants, soap, and alcohol-based sanitizers with at least 60% ethanol or 70% isopropanol.
You might also consider requiring your staff to wear face coverings in lab spaces that are smaller or where people work in close proximity. Face coverings may help prevent people from unknowingly spreading the virus.
It is important to note that face coverings are not an adequate replacement for PPE, which should be provided for anyone who may come in contact with an at-risk individual.
Protect Your Lab Furniture
When your staff takes these personal hygiene measures, it means that your laboratory tables and equipment will stay cleaner overall.
If you find that your current furniture does not meet safety standards, you may want to have custom laboratory furniture made. Whether you only need a few custom pieces or an entire overhaul of your laboratory design, LabTech Supply can help.
Visit our website to learn how you can order custom-made lab furniture today!