Proper disinfectant use has become a hot-button issue since the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic. This is especially true for construction sites, manufacturing facilities, and anywhere else where hundreds of people are putting in hard labor. Proper disinfectant use guidelines are constantly undergoing changes on both a state and national level.

The case of a Connecticut company recently fined by OSHA after workers got sick from a cleaning product highlights the importance of the proper use of disinfectants.

OSHA fined a Hartford-based transportation company for violations related to its drivers getting sick from a disinfectant used on a bus in June 2020 as part of COVID-19 prevention protocols.

Drivers apparently got ill after they boarded buses before the substance had properly dried or settled.

OSHA cited the company for a serious violation, saying it failed to provide drivers with information on the potential health effects of the disinfectant, which are known to include skin and respiratory problems.

OSHA issued a $7,711 fine last month.

Following OSHA Directions

With the COVID-19 pandemic still at large, it is imperative to follow cleaning and disinfecting guidelines. OSHA is continuing to gather data to provide companies with the best cleaning and disinfecting plans.

Simply using a disinfectant doesn’t mean properly disinfecting surfaces or areas according to OSHA directions. Using disinfectants properly is very important. People’s skin coming near recently disinfected surfaces can be dangerous because disinfectants are designed to kill germs.

It is advised to wear personal protective equipment when using disinfectants and always cleaning a surface before disinfecting it. A chemical disinfectant has what’s known as dwell time—the time it must remain on a surface in order to kill pathogens.

Immediately wiping down a surface is counterproductive during disinfecting. Properly using disinfectants requires dwell time to ensure all of the harmful germs and bacteria are destroyed.

EPA Disinfectant Use Approvals

Disinfectants that claim to kill certain viruses must first be approved by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, which also sets standards for how disinfectants are used.

A spray bottle is often an approved use. A high-volume sprayer is not. The EPA does not have guidelines specifying the use of a high-volume sprayer, which may distribute surface bacteria into the air. Disinfectants can also stay airborne for hours–disinfectants that are harmful to the body.

Surface Cleaning

Although studies have shown that the coronavirus is most likely spread through respiratory droplets focusing on surface cleaning is still important. Properly disinfecting heavily-trafficked work areas and surfaces is more important than ever due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

IECA members provide environmental remediation and collective bargaining services for the protection of Illinois businesses and consumers from superfluous or unnecessary environmental regulations. Regulatory agencies like OSHA and the EPA may develop policies and regulations based on things happening anywhere in the country.


It is for this reason that IECA members keep a close eye on regulatory issues, legal situations, and new regulations from news sources across the country. This is especially true when it comes to issues that everyone should be aware of.

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