Tech Corner: Winter Is On The Way
For the last several years, public health and hygiene have been high on the priority list.
For Operators, disinfecting is paramount – but with often sensitive electronic equipment, it’s important to know exactly how to keep your machines in the best working condition.
Good hygiene practices also help protect you and your team, helping you to stay healthy during the colder months.
So, with winter squarely on the way – stay safe!
- Covid, Flu and Other Germs
According to Health Canada, viruses like Covid 19 can remain active for longer (1) in temperatures under 20° C, (2) in relative humidity levels under 40% and above 60% and (3) on smooth surfaces like plastic and steel compared to porous surfaces like wood and cardboard.
Regular cleaning, disinfecting and using Personal Protective Equipment all contribute to limiting the spread of viruses and bacteria from place to place, especially as technicians and operators are out travelling from one location to the next.
The Canadian Centre for Occupational Health and Safety (CCOHS) identifies vending machines as a Common Touch Point Surface.
- Cleaning Surfaces
Breakroom counters, doorknobs, light switches, steering wheels – all are high-touch areas that need regular cleaning.
Cleaning with regular detergents and water helps by physically washing germs off of a surface, but doesn’t always kill them! Disinfectants or bleach solutions should be part of your regular cleaning routine.
Points to consider for creating your cleaning routine:
- The more high-touch the area is, the more often it needs to be disinfected
- Clean surfaces before disinfecting for maximum effectiveness
- Disinfectant should leave a visible layer behind that needs to air dry
- Have the right PPE on hand – gloves, masks & cloths all come in different types
- Choose the right cleaners – check out Health Canada’s List of Disinfectants
- Cleaning Electronics
Micro-market displays, POS devices, card readers, keypads – the industry is booming with the latest technological developments. Common sense dictates that liquids and electronics don’t mix, so what’s the best way to keep them clean?
- Bleach is not recommended!
- Turn electronics off (and unplug where possible) before cleaning
- Don’t use vacuums – compressed air may be a good alternative (but be careful with delicate parts!)
- If you are cleaning inside a machine, make sure you’re grounded to avoid static
Which cleaner should you use? Check the manufacturer’s recommendations – if none are available, opt for a gentle clean with a 70 percent isopropyl alcohol wipe.
Screens and touchscreens are much more sensitive; so take extra precautions:
- Use a microfibre cloth (or disposable soft, non-abrasive, lint-free cloth or wipe)
- Choose a specially formulated screen cleaner, or if none are available then choose a 60-70% isopropyl alcohol solution
- Don’t use bleach, detergents, high concentration alcohol solutions, or sponges
- Apply the disinfectant to the cloth and squeeze out excess liquid before use
- Never spray products directly onto electronic devices
The layers on a touchscreen will wear down over time. Most disinfectants will contribute to this wear, so use gently and be mindful of touchscreens that need to be restored.
Get ahead of the seasonal illnesses by reviewing and increasing your regular cleaning/disinfecting routines, and look forward to the return of warmer weather in the spring!
See the list below for more resources:
- Hard-surface disinfectants and hand sanitizers (COVID-19) - Canada.ca
- Reducing COVID-19 risk in community settings: A tool for operators (canada.ca)
- CCOHS: Coronavirus (COVID-19) - Tips: Standard Operating Procedure: Disinfection of Touch Points
- Occupational Hygiene Resources (wsps.ca)
- COVID-19 and WHMIS: 7 Disinfectant Do's and Don'ts (wsps.ca)