COVID-19: Disinfecting Shared Vehicles

For most of us, COVID 19 has been a significant and often stressful experience. It has had a huge impact on us as individuals, as a society and as a workforce.

Many of the norms of life have changed, some of them forever. Things that we took for granted are either not allowed or a lot more difficult to do.

One of the biggest changes that happened was the shift to working from home. This has reduced the risk for a large portion of the workforce (although it comes with its own set of challenges). It is likely that even when the pandemic is over, many will still work from home.

However, one of the biggest challenges we face is what happens to the majority of workers who can’t work from home.

The wearing of masks, physical barriers and social distancing are the new norms. Frequent and thorough hand washing is the new golden rule, with hand rubs containing at least 60% alcohol being provided if soap and running water is not immediately available.

Encouraging workers to stay home if they are sick and promoting respiratory etiquette, including covering coughs and sneezes are common. The sharing of tools and equipment is actively discouraged. However, there are instances when this is not practicable.

One area affected is the sharing of vehicles. The disinfecting of a shared vehicle before and after use has become a prerequisite. So how do you do disinfect your shared vehicle?

 

A quick search on the internet will provide you with information that you can use as reference. Here are some key points:

Having the Right Tools

It is recommended that you use either disposable gloves or a dedicated pair of reusable gloves when disinfecting your shared vehicle. The gloves should be compatible with the products being used and other PPE may be required depending on the Safety Data Sheet or product manufacturer’s instructions.

Having disinfectant wipes and disposable gloves available in the vehicle may make it easier to guarantee compliance.

Always ensure you have adequate ventilation when cleaning materials are in use. Doors and windows should remain open when cleaning the vehicle.

Focus on Common Vehicle Touchpoints

You will want to clean the commonly touched surfaces in the vehicle that you will come into contact with the most. These will be the hard non-porous surfaces within the interior of the vehicle such as the door handles, steering wheel, seatbelts, gear shift, lights, windows and air conditioning controls, grab handles and other touch points on your dashboard. Don’t forget to include the key in your cleaning regime.

For frequently touched electronic surfaces, such as tablets or touch screens that are present in the vehicle, disinfect following the manufacturer’s instructions for all cleaning and disinfection products. If there is no manufacturer guidance available, consider the use of alcohol-based wipes or sprays containing at least 70% alcohol.

A written cleaning and disinfection procedure can help make sure that the cleaning is followed consistently and correctly.

After Cleaning

Gloves and any other disposable PPE used when cleaning and disinfecting the vehicle should be removed and disposed of after use. You should wash your hands with soap and water for at least 20 seconds immediately after the removal of gloves and other PPE. If soap and water are not available use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer with at least 60% alcohol.

Here is a  quick video guide on how to disinfect your shared vehicle. This blog was featured in the World Safety Organization February 2021 newsletter.

If you are looking for more information on reducing COVID-19 risk at your workplace, check out this complementary course 5 Steps to Reduce COVID-19 Risk in the Workplace.

It feels like John Quinn has been involved in safety forever. He started as a union safety representative, then a firefighter, an occupational health nurse, and for the last 18 years an HS&E advisor for a range of industries including Nuclear, Aerospace, Construction, Social Services, Marine Transport, Smelting and Demolition. John is the co-creator of www.safetyknowledgehub.ca