What Should Small Business Owners Know About Sanitation Requirements?

What Should Small Business Owners Know About Sanitation Requirements?

As the COVID-19 pandemic enters its second year, many people are still concerned about how sanitation affects their health. Whether they contract something through unclean surfaces or spend too much time in unfiltered air, your customers often still worry if your small business is safe.

Many states no longer have mandates for masking indoors. Therefore, it is up to you to continue doing the best for your customers’ health and safety. Here are some things small business owners should know about sanitation requirements.

Why Is Sanitation Important for Small Businesses?

For obvious reasons, property hygiene can help prevent people from getting sick. Repeated hand washing, cleaning of common surfaces and proper ventilation are great ways to keep employees and customers safe. By providing workers with a healthy environment, you can potentially decrease the instances of sick days.

However, good sanitation could be advantageous for your company as well. Research shows the need for hygiene transparency is one of the top changes in consumer behavior. Your consumers want to know you’re doing all you can to keep them, your employees and yourself in good health. Highlighting your cleanliness practices could prove beneficial for business.

Requirements for Physical and Online Shops

You likely have a few people to manage, whether you’re operating digitally or in a brick-and-mortar store. The Food Safety and Inspection Service has laid out guidelines coworkers and employees should follow for excellent cleanliness standards.

For a given number of employees, you must provide a certain amount of bathrooms. Each bathroom has to have water that can reach 110° Fahrenheit. Your trash containers must not be able to create unsanitary conditions. Even surfaces that don’t come into contact with food need repeated cleaning to ensure their continued safety.

Additionally, all workers must follow the best practices for hand washing and other hygiene. Good sanitation also includes allowing employees to take time off when sick. Anyone that may have an infectious disease or skin lesions should be out until they’re better. You could even ask them to wear a comfortable mask while they’re at work to avoid spreading germs.

Plumbing and sewage have requirements too. You have to provide enough water for the building and make sure wastewater is separate from any other drainage. If your company involves food, there are many additional regulations you must keep in mind.

Think about your small business as your house. Would you invite people over if others were coughing and sneezing in it, nothing was ever clean and there was trash everywhere? Your customers are your guests, so treat them and your employees with the same respect — online or in person.

Considerations for Maintaining Sanitation

There are many ways you can practice good hygiene in a small business. Here are a few ideas and recommendations for keeping fellow workers and customers healthier.

1. Keep Common Surfaces Clean

You should encourage people to wash anything others repeatedly handle. Registers, shopping baskets, door handles, phones — if more than one person will touch it, they should clean it.

Cleansing wipes are great for this kind of sanitation. You have a few options, but you must remember to read the packaging carefully. Some wipes have a specific length of time they should sit for maximum effectiveness.

2. Have a Good Sick-day Policy

Many employees are afraid to call in sick. They often feel managers disbelieve or even pressure them to still come into work. They could also worry about missing a day of pay or that their coworkers will have to take on more work with them gone.

These reasons are why your small business needs to have a forgiving sick-day policy. Sickness will happen, so you need to accommodate it. Offer paid time off and ensure your company can still function while certain employees are unavailable. Cross-training ahead of time can be a big help in these situations.

3. Think About Ventilation

Most businesses only exchange the air in their facilities about one or two times per hour. However, recent research shows good ventilation can help reduce the spread of airborne diseases. Clearing out air five times an hour could cut COVID transmission by 50%.

The only caveat is this will be a bit of an investment. Check with your local government to see if they offer any rebates or assistance for upgrading air ventilation. Though this sanitation step incurs more of a cost, it is a significant factor in keeping people healthy.

4. Display Cleanliness Posters

Give workers, customers and yourself a reminder of the best ways to stay sanitary. A display of proper cleaning techniques is a testament to your business’s dedication to hygiene.

If your business is online only, you could discuss your cleanliness standards on your website. This shows potential customers you’re taking care of them before they even receive their product.

Keep Your Small Business Sanitary

Good hygiene is essential for everyone involved with your small business. Your workers and customers will thank you for going above and beyond the baseline sanitation requirements. Read up on local and federal cleaning regulations and consider the tips above to keep everyone safe and healthy.

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Martin Banks grew up outside of Chicago and covers all things small-business related, as well as the world’s best hockey team, the Chicago Blackhawks

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