Best Practises for Using Weighing Equipment During the Covid-19 Pandemic
The Covid-19 pandemic has been one of the most defining and unstable periods in recent memory, not least for workplaces that have tirelessly been attempting to deal with the relevant practical adjustments to help combat any further spread of the disease. For industries where working from home isn’t an option, it is important to know what we can do to make sure our workplaces are safe and protected at all times.
For workshops, laboratories, warehouses and restaurants, we will take a look at some of the simple things you can do to make using your weighing equipment and overall workplace safer.
Inscale stocks a selection of washdown scales that can easily and thoroughly be cleaned down after use - view our full range here.
Wash your hands when using weighing equipment
First and foremost, regularly washing your hands is absolutely crucial in preventing the spread of Covid-19. If you take one piece of information from this article, make it this one! Although there isn’t a set timeframe for how often to do it, it should at the very least be before and after the use of any weighing equipment. This will protect you from any germs that may be on the instrument prior to your use, as well as others who will use it after you.
Always remember to also wash your hands after using the toilet, when preparing food, after coughing or sneezing or when entering and leaving the building. The UK government recommends that one wash should be 20 seconds in length with warm water and soap. Make sure to do areas such as the backs of hands or in between fingers and remember to take off any jewellery such as rings or watches. Alternatively, if you don’t have access to soap use hand sanitizer with at least 60% alcohol.
Do gloves protect you from Coronavirus?
The subject of wearing protective gloves is much discussed, although it can be hard to find definitive answers online. The general consensus is that you should only wear gloves in a “clinical setting” or an environment where you usually would anyway prior to the outbreak. There is growing evidence to suggest that simply washing hands is in fact a better option than gloves as the items themselves can become contaminated and therefor further spread the disease.
Wear a face-mask at work
Wearing a face-mask when at work is one of the simplest things that everyone can do today. Understandably it's probably not practical to wear a mask at all points of the day, but wearing one whilst using weighing equipment or any other shared items is recommended.
Clean your weighing equipment
This is another really important one. Thoroughly cleaning your weighing scales before and after use is a vital way of preventing the spread of Covid-19. Hot soapy water with a basic washing detergent or sanitizer spray will generally be enough, although always check the manufacturer's instructions for specific cleaning information for your instrument.
Be sure to wipe down the display, buttons, handles or storage equipment to make it as difficult as possible for the virus to be transmitted. Remember to remove the pan and adequately clean underneath as this can be an often-forgotten area of your scale or balance.
For a more rigorous clean, some scales and balances will have an IP rating which allows for partial submersion or spray cleaning. Any instrument with an IP Rating with a 5 or 6 as the second number can be spray cleaned (a rating of 6 allows for the use of more pressurised washers), whilst a 7 or 8 can be partially submerged. Despite these higher ratings, it’s generally not recommended that you submerge you scale as it’s not worth the risk of damage and will give no better results. You may want to make an ‘end of week’ deep clean part of your working schedule alongside daily cleaning. Please see here for our full range of washdown scales.
Work in a well-ventilated area
Keeping a workplace well-ventilated was one of the most important aspects of the UK government’s COVID-19 return to work strategy. They stated that there was evidence to suggest that the virus would be less likely to be transmitted in well-ventilated indoor spaces.
Adequate ventilation can be achieved through several methods, perhaps the simplest of all by opening windows when safe and reasonable to do so. If possible, the use of an external extractor fan is also cited as being an effective way of keeping air moving inside a workplace.
It’s important to note that for balances which require the highest precision, any drafts could cause errors in the readings. Many of the truly precise measuring instruments such as semi-micro, analytical and some precision balances will come with a draft shield, although it is recommended to check the manufacturer's instructions to determine optimum weighing conditions. Please bear this in mind before moving your weighing equipment near a window or extractor fan.
Using multiple weighing scales
If you're sharing one weighing device between multiple users, you are automatically increasing the risk of spreading Covid-19. According to government guidelines for workplaces, sharing equipment should be kept to an absolute minimum and 2 metre social distancing should be adhered to at all times (1 metre with risk mitigation is acceptable if 2 metres is not possible).
Now would therefore be a good time to purchase more weighing models if you have the financial capabilities and space to do so. This will ultimately make your working environment safer and allow for more employees to work a given time, thus increasing the overall efficiency of your workplace.
Set up Covid-19 working systems
Reducing the number of people each person has contact with is a fundamental part of Covid-19 prevention. This can be done by using ‘fixed teams or partnering’ systems to ensure that each person has contact with as few people as possible. Many workplaces have also adopted a rota system whereby a select number of employees come into work whilst others stay at home. These groups are then swapped around at a given time.
Where working apart isn’t possible, the government recommend either back-to-back or side-by-side working rather than facing one another. If possible, protective screens or barriers offer an effective prevention technique if you have the space to do so. This can be glass, metal, wood, Perspex or even polythene sheets – the main thing is to just cut down on human-to-human contact as much as possible.
Protecting from Covid-19 in small workplaces
Sometimes it simply isn’t possible to take all of the protective measures because of the space available in your working environment. For large warehouses, shipyards or farms it is a fairly straightforward affair, but for small laboratories, retailers or restaurants it can be difficult to implement everything that the government recommends – but this is what you can do.
- Most importantly, keep everything clean! That means hands, weighing equipment or any surfaces that workers may come into contact with. Of course, this is crucial for all workplaces, but it is especially important for smaller businesses where coming into close contact with others is expected.
- Implement fixed teams, partnering systems or rota systems into your workplace as featured above.
- For spaces where no Covid-19 protective measures can be adhered to, discuss whether or not this part of the company needs to be operational at this time. It is a company’s duty to protect all staff at all times and so this ultimately needs to be the top priority.
For any further information regarding workplace strategies for dealing with Covid-19, please visit the government website or refer to ‘Getting Your Workplace Ready for Covid-19’ from the World Health Organization. Lastly, please contact Inscale for any questions about weighing equipment Get In Touch.