Food and beverage factories have been continuing to produce throughout this rapidly and ever-changing environment. Producers have had to react quickly to meet increased demand in the just-in-time supply chain while intensifying cleaning and disinfection protocols and ensuring an even safer working environment for employees. Nonetheless, the pervasiveness of this Coronavirus means that having an employee test positive for COVID-19 should be anticipated and an emergency response protocol should be readily available to minimize downtime.
What to do if an employee tests positive for COVID-19?
- The entire plant will need to be considered for the deep cleaning and disinfection reset protocol.
- Determine where the employee with COVID-19 travelled in the facility and prioritize the reset of these areas.
- Employees exposed to the employee with COVID-19 will need to be managed following WHO (World Health Organization) or local guidance on isolation.
SARS-CoV-2 Survivability on Surfaces
According to a recent study published in the New England Journal of Medicine, SARS-CoV-2 (the virus that causes COVID-19) can live in the air and on surfaces between several hours and several days. The study found that the virus is viable for up to:
- 72 hours on plastics,
- 48 hours on stainless steel,
- 24 hours on cardboard,
- 4 hours on copper.
It is also detectable in the air for three hours.
Touchpoint Considerations in the Factory
- Entranceway touchpoints (door handles, door frames, swipe card access points, smoking areas, garbage receptacles, etc.)
- Employee welfare areas (uniform areas, changing rooms including lockers, benches, chairs, doorways, handles, doorframes, etc.)
- Cafeteria/lunchrooms (doorway frames and handles, tables, chairs, refrigerators, storage cabinets etc., in-house cafeteria service areas, vending machines etc.)
- Employee washrooms
- Hand washing/sanitation stations (dispensers, sinks, taps and driers if applicable)
- PPE self-serve storage (hairnet, earplugs, glove, beard net, hardhat/bump cap)
- Other areas to consider include water fountains, hallway display boards, training/conference rooms, offices and the first-aid room
Deep Cleaning Production and Employee Amenity Areas
Always wear appropriate Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) when using and handling cleaning chemistry and always check the label for any additional safety requirements.
- For non-stainless steel and soft metals use a neutral detergent or a suitable soft-metal safe (SMS) chemical as per normal use concentration. For stainless steel (sinks etc.) use chlorinated caustic as per normal use concentration.
- Use appropriate chemical application equipment, dry or containing suitable detergent.
- Allow the chemical solution to contact the surface being cleaned for a minimum of 15 minutes.
- Use appropriate mechanical action (brush, scrub pad, wipe, cloth). Discard disposable cleaning materials after cleaning an area (pads, wipes, cloths) and hygienically manage the others.
- Rinse according to chemical label directions
- Apply suitable disinfectant (sanitizer) according to label directions to all surfaces after rinsing the detergent.
- The production hall will require a wet clean, dry clean or fogging, or a combination of these methods, depending on the specific requirements of the site and the product(s) being produced. Find out more about our OPC equipment and fogging systems and download our Effective Virucidal Cleaning and Disinfection Guides from our customer portal.
Some of our recommended products (per regional approval/regulatory body) can be downloaded in a flyer (below). However, products are rapidly being added so please review with your Diversey representative.
General Measures to Follow to Protect the Production Plant from a COVID-19 Occurrence
- Adopt and enforce the use of PPE, especially face masks for everyone
- Minimize unnecessary traffic flow and employee contact
- Touchpoint disinfection protocol (amenity & non-production) every 4 hours
- Evaluate mid-shift cleaning options
- Enhancement of captive uniform and footwear program
- Introduction/maintenance of hygiene entrance systems (boot washers, door foam sanitizers)
- Ensure availability of detergent, disinfectant and equipment to complete regular and
- Deep cleaning tasks
- Risk assessments on employee proximity at production lines
- Changes to line position to create social distance
- Temporary physical partitions
- GMP diligence across the plant and increased GMP compliance audits
- Evaluate the removal of employees/reduced line speeds
- Review the WHO (World Health Organization) "COVID-19 and food safety: guidance for food businesses: interim guidance, 07 April 2020".