One of the most popular solutions for keeping both employees and customers safe during the pandemic has been through the use of plastic sheets. Using a clear polycarbonate sheet, many businesses have set them up in the workplace to curb the spread of the coronavirus, or even using the plastic for effective face shields.
But how should you set them up? And why? We answer those questions (and more) below.
Why You Should Use a Clear Polycarbonate Sheet in Your Workplace
It’s been determined that the coronavirus primarily spreads through respiratory droplets from breathing, talking, yelling, and so on. Therefore, a natural solution to prevent the spread of the virus is to stop those droplets from reaching people by using a barrier.
That’s where clear acrylic and polycarbonate sheets come in.
They reinforce physical distancing and stop droplets from reaching people. Plus, they are also an effective way to reduce the use of masks in the workplace. Since they are easy to clean as well, they are an excellent choice to use to keep both your staff and customers safe.
How to Keep Employees and Customers Safe Using a Clear Polycarbonate Sheet
In order to use plastic sheets to their maximum effectiveness in the workplace to keep people safe, there are a few things you need to know.
Firstly, people draw in breath from a roughly 30cm radius from their nostrils. That means you need to take that into account for both your tallest employee and your shortest—especially if the sheet will be hanging.
In many cases, a small opening will need to be created in the sheet, likely at its base, to either talk or pass items through. In these instances, the opening should be made as small as possible and be offset from where someone will typically be sitting or standing. This will further prevent transmission and keep both parties safer.
Consider the width of the plastic sheet as well. Your staff will be more protected with sheets that have wings or extensions on the side that wrap around. If there are any gaps in the hinges, tape over them to prevent movement and airflow.
The most effective uses of clear polycarbonate sheets for COVID-19 shielding are free-standing or mounted partitions. Hanging sheets can waft air from one side to another and are also more difficult to clean.
Installing Polycarbonate and Acrylic Sheets
Although it’s important to keep employees safe, using clear polycarbonate sheets should not prevent employees from being able to leave in an emergency.
To prevent any issues, make sure any partitions or sheets set up are either taped or bolted down. In addition, ensure that when setting them up the clear plastic sheets don’t block any important exit routes.
Cleaning Clear Polycarbonate Sheets
It’s important to be mindful of what disinfectants are being used to clean plastic sheets. Both acrylic and polycarbonate plastic can get cloudy or crack if a damaging disinfectant is used. Do not use Lysol, Pinesol, Butyl Cellosolve, Isopropanol, or Formula 409.
These partitions should be cleaned at least once a day and at least twice a day for high touch areas and surfaces. Be aware that not all disinfectants are effective against COVID-19. Some work better than others. Do not scrub or use a brush or squeegee to wipe the sheet.
To clean a clear polycarbonate sheet, spray or wipe a disinfectant with a soft cloth. If no coronavirus-effective disinfectants are available, rinse the sheet with lukewarm water first then use a soft cloth and lukewarm, soapy water to wipe it down. Rinse the cloth in the soapy water often since polycarbonate sheets can easily scratch and don’t have a mar-resistant coating. When you’re cleaning the sheet, gently wipe in the direction of the flutes. Once you’re done washing, rinse the sheet with lukewarm water again and dry it with a soft cloth to prevent spotting.
If polycarbonate sheets are being installed in lieu of staff using masks, then it’s critical they are installed effectively. Both employees’ and customers’ breathing zones must be taken into account in designing an effective partition. Partitions are also meant to complement coronavirus protocols in place, not to replace them. Continue to have physical distancing, hand-washing, and cleaning procedures in place to keep everyone safe.