Safety & Compliance

Government Releases Flu Cleaning Procedures for Truck Cab

September 15, 2009

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The federal government released interim guidelines for cleaning a truck cab when a driver is visibly ill with the flu

According to the guidelines, flu viruses can live on nonporous surfaces for 24 hours or more, but enough quantities for human infection are likely to live for shorter periods. Any type of hand transfer by touching the eyes, nose and mouth can result in the spread of the virus. This spread can be avoided through hand hygiene, cough etiquette and respiratory hygiene. The guidelines recommend routine cleaning with soap or detergent and water, followed by the use of disinfectants to minimize the spread of the flu.

When cleaning the cab of a truck, the following cleaning methods should be used:

• Cleaners should use appropriate personal protective equipment (PPE), such as non-sterile disposable gloves that are recommended by the manufacturer of the detergent/disinfectant, when touching contaminated surfaces or handling cleaning and disinfecting solutions. Never wash or reuse the gloves. Eye protection may be required if splashing is expected.

• Many of the non-porous surfaces in the cab and associated compartments can be cleaned with detergent and water according to the vehicle manufacturer's recommendations. Frequently touched surfaces should be cleaned first and then disinfected using an EPA-registered disinfectant.

• Disposable or reusable plastic covers can be used to protect porous surfaces such as mattresses from contamination.

• If there is a spill of body fluids, immediately cover the spill with an absorbent gelling powder designed for spills of body fluids or if this is not available, disposable paper towels/cloths. Wearing non-sterile, disposable gloves, place residuals, used gelling agent and waste cloths in leak-proof bags, immediately seal and carefully dispose in covered containers. Hard, non-porous surfaces may then be cleaned and disinfected as described above. Since disinfectants are not registered for use on porous surfaces, removable porous upholstery, rugs and carpeting that have been exposed to vomit or feces should be carefully removed and laundered in accordance with the manufacturer's instructions or disposed of as described below. Porous upholstery and carpeting that can't be removed may be initially cleaned with water and detergent. The material should then be allowed to air dry.

• Dispose of gloves and soiled material in a sturdy, leak-proof bag that is tied shut and not reopened. Porous materials that will be laundered can be removed from the truck in the same manner. State and local governments should be consulted for appropriate disposal decisions.

• When cleaning has been completed and gloves have been removed, immediately clean hands with soap and water. If soap and water are not readily available, use an alcohol-based hand gel and wash hands with soap and water as soon as possible.

• Do not use compressed air and/or water under pressure for cleaning, or any other methods that can cause splashing or which might re-aerosolize infectious material. Vacuum cleaners should only be used after proper disinfection has taken place.

To view the entire guidance, click here.

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