Workplace hygiene

While some employees have settled into working from home, many key workers and skeleton staff are in the workplace.

IOSH has developed a seven-step workplace hygiene guide along with a care checklist. The guide will help you to ensure that everyone is safeguarded as they work behind the scenes to keep your organisation operational during these challenging times.

Advice for Workplace Hygiene

1. Assess

Understand where there is potential for the virus to spread and consider where working environments and activities may need to be restricted or reduced.

2. Minimise

Exposure can be minimised by considering essential staffing requirements. For instance, how can you restrict or contain activities and locations or workspaces to essential levels, while still adhering to guidance on social distancing?

How you can best minimise exposure through enhanced workplace hygiene: 



Caution/care points


Desks, tables, computers (screen/keyboard/mouse)

Telephones, work tools and other regularly handled tools/equipment/machinery controls/panels

Window openers, blinds

To be wiped with disinfectant regularly


Equipment usage by others (shared or multi-use)


Appropriate disinfectant - type, application, inhalation/contact health risks


Availability/stock of suitable disinfectant –Substitution could lead to increased harm

Transitory areas

Corridors, stairs, escalators, lifts

As above

As above

Communal areas

Rest rooms, canteens, meeting rooms, prayer rooms

As above

Canteens – food hygiene & handling rules apply.


Use disposable plates & cutlery

Shared facilities

Small business, shared buildings,

Agree collective arrangements/preventative measures

Cohesive effort & maintained vigilance to change

General (internal) Workplace

Air conditioning

Air circulation/movement


Check filter efficiency



Avoid use of re-circulated air, closed units

3. Educate/communicate

Communication during this period is key. It is vital that all staff members, including agency and locums, are kept updated with the latest advice and guidance. This should include how to report symptoms to a manager and how to monitor your health and wellbeing.

4. Define

Define the required standards, rules and behavioural expectations: workplace and personal hygiene; distancing and personal contact; and operational flexibility (for example, allowing skeleton staff to start later or finish earlier).

5. Monitor

To ensure adherence to defi ned standards, rules and expectations, the following should
be considered:

  • Leadership – managing remote staff, ensuring adherence to (enhanced) health and
    hygiene controls and strict consistency of application.

Responsiveness to changes in circumstances – consider timeliness, consistency and clarity
of messaging and communications.

6. Review

During this time, as government rulings change, your working environment will also need to be reviewed constantly, with the safety and health of all staff being the priority.

The following should be reviewed continuously:

  • Being vigilant to changes in health of staff (and/or families)
  • Keeping informed. Awareness of external threats: partners/customers/clients
7. Plan Ahead

Develop a plan of what to do if someone becomes ill with suspected Covid-19 at your workplace.

The plan should cover putting the sick person in a room or area where they are isolated from others in the workplace, limiting the number of people who have contact with the sick person
and contacting the local health authorities.

For more information about workplace hygiene in the healthcare sector, please see: Advice for healthcare workers.

For more information about workplace hygiene in the healthcare industry please see: Advice for Healthcare Workers