How long does Coronavirus last on surfaces?

coronavirus on surfaces

All workers should be working from home wherever possible however, for some roles and industries that is just not possible. Employers must update their risk assessments to include protecting workers from exposure to Coronavirus. This includes touching contaminated surfaces in the work place.  

How long does Coronavirus remain on a surface?

The simplest answer is, no one knows. Coronavirus is such a new virus we are still learning about it every day. We do know from previous Coronaviruses (SARS-CoV and MERS-CoV) that the risk of infection from a contaminated surface reduces over time. The best estimate at the moment is that the risk is significantly reduced after a 72 hour period. 

How should workers protect themselves?

Workers should:

  • regularly wash their hands with soap for at least 20 seconds  
  • avoid touching their mouth, nose and eyes 
  • sneeze and cough into a tissue or handkerchief

Hands should be washed at least every two hours and immediately after touching; door handles and push-plates, documents, taps and washing facilities, toilet flush and seats, handrails on staircases and corridors, lift and hoist controls, machinery and equipment controls, food preparation and eating surfaces, telephone equipment and other shared work equipment.

What preventative actions should employers take?

Firstly and most importantly, if workers can work from home then they should do so. Where this is not possible employers must:

  • ensure workers maintain a social distance of at least 2 metre at all times
  • not undertake any non-essential work where it is not possible or safe for workers to maintain a distance of 2 metres
  • implement enhanced cleaning procedures on all surfaces allowing extra time for cleaning and disinfecting 
  • ensure workers do not share PPE and dispose of all single use PPE immediately after use
  • hold meetings virtually, where possible 
  • stagger break times to reduce congestion and contact
  • make hand cleaning facilities or hand sanitiser available throughout the work space
  • disable fingerprint time keeping and entry systems 

It should be noted that this advice is intended for non-clinical settings only. 

We’re here to help 

If you require any further advice or would like to receive a copy of our Coronavirus Risk Assessment please do get in touch


Share this article