Preparing to return to work .... shared kitchens


Shared kitchen hygiene
In my latest blog series “Preparing to get back to work safely” last week I discussed the implications around making sure your office chair is both clean and sanitised. If you missed it you can have a read here.
It is important to make sure that as an employer or building manager the area you expect employees to come back to is both safe, and hygienic.  There are so many disinfectants on the market claiming to kill Coronovirus, bacteria etc, but to really know what it kills you have to practically be a hygiene professional!
Let’s drill down a bit here on this point........
Coronovirus is an umberella term which basically covers everything from COVID 19, SARS-COV-2 to the common cold and flu.  So even if a product only kills the common cold; which is quite easy to kill - it can legally have on its label KILLS CORONAVIRUS.... which is technically true.... but doesn’t mean that it kills COVID or even SARS-COV-2 which is the virus’s shadow we are currently living under.
So when the pandemic first hit, and everyone was putting photos on Facebook of the back of their bottle of Dettol, you can imagine the eye rolling that was going on in my house - my husband and I both work at Astral Hygiene so we have a warped kind of ‘in joke’ in our house!
Dettol kills the common cold but not SARS-COV-2! Even today I visited the Dettol website  and it says “Dettol products have demonstrated effectiveness against Covid-19 virus (SARS-CoV-2) when used in accordance with the directions for use”....... that doesn’t say it kills the virus.... it may be saying it kills some viral particles in the Petrie dish.... but it DOES NOT say it carries any certifications that it kills the virus.......
We’re looking for BS EN 14476 numbers here (kills virus’s) and BS EN 1276 numbers 1276 (kills bacteria) - any of these numbers on the back of your product and its a tested, certified product.
That was a little tangent, but one that I won’t edit out.... it’s a good point!
This week we’re going to be talking about the best way to keep workplace kitchen’s and particularly shared kitchens covid safe. During this blog I’m gonna be giving you solid points to consider and some hints and tips in terms of making sure that everybody is looking after your your whole team, but also making sure that everybody feels that this workplace is safe to come back to.
As Jason Leitch says .....keeping everybody safe.... takes everybody!
Obviously as you would expect from me; I will be talking about sanitisation; and of course recommending the best chemicals to help you keep everything clean and sanitised. I just thought this was an opportunity to kind of drop some other kind of nuggets of wisdom.
So let’s talk practical, when people come into the kitchen area you want them to be coming in with clean and sanitized hands; so the only way to do that is to put a hand sanitising point at the entrance and exit.
You can get a dispenser from anywhere, but here at Astral Hygiene we have of course gone the extra mile, because that is what we do! Yes we sell hand sanitising dispensers, but we have also had a designer create a backboard which we sell as part of a package.
The backboard really reinforces the message that Astral and YOU as the provider of the gel, take hand hygiene very seriously.  It has pictures demonstrating the best way to sanitise your hands and just adds that professional touch to the and sanitising station.  I have hyperlinked the hand sanitising station here, so go an have a look. You’ll agree it is a really good finished product.
If you can create a one-way system through the kitchen so that people aren’t passing one another in the entrance and exit this is ideal.  You can then put one sanitising station at the entrance and one at the exit.
Another key point in terms of making sure everybody safe in a shared kitchen area is put in a capacity limit in shared areas. This can be simply done with a sign at the start of the kitchen area indicating a maximum of two people allowed in this area only one time. That will sort it out immediately.
Erection of guide to using a shared kitchen area would also be useful. In this guide we should have points like always wash your hands thoroughly before and after use in the kitchen, always wear a mask when in the kitchen, wipe down all the surfaces and any equipment you use with an antibacterial/viral spray that you are providing. I of course have suggestions!
You do need to be making sure that all areas are sanitised and you need to be using an appropriate sanitising spray such a Salvesan or Kitchen Cleaner, and you do need to be put in a regular cleaning regime in place across the entire workplace but particularly in the kitchen. Please see the note above about picking the right sanitiser, a bottle of Dettol in a professional environment will simply not do, and may get you in to trouble with Environmental Health.  Speak to the experts, speak to us at Astral!
It would be useful, to put up a cleaning rota and get whoever is responsible for cleaning the kitchen and sanitising it to sign off in regular periods throughout the day. Such as once per hour, or once every two hours.
If you have a topic you’d like me to blog about, please don’t hesitate to drop me an e-mail at


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