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Port Facility Best Practices During the Coronavirus Pandemic - Courtesy of IRPT

Our partners at the Inland Rivers Ports & Terminals association has provided us with Port Facility best practices that they have compiled from a number of port facilities. We're sharing it here with full credit to the IRPT.

COVID-19: Port and Terminal Facility Best Practices

For all workers, regardless of specific exposure risks, it is always a good practice to:

  • Frequently wash your hands with soap and water for at least 20 seconds. When soap and running water are unavailable, use an alcohol-based hand rub with at least 60% alcohol. Always wash hands that are visibly soiled.

  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose, or mouth with unwashed hands.

  • Avoid close contact with people who are sick.

To facilitate safe crew changes:

  • Designate port, terminal and maritime personnel, as "essential" and provide an essential service. Provide letter addressed to the employee on company letterhead and attach both Federal and State issued guidance proclamations.

  • Implement appropriate approval and screening protocols for port, terminal or maritime personnel entering the facility for the purposes of crew changes and repatriation, based on CDC guidance.

  • Encourage port tenants and terminal service providers to comply with and adopt similar screening or other protocols or procedures introduced by the port.

  • Provide information (and display in open view) to personnel on basic protective measures against COVID-19 based on WHO advice.

  • Adopt employee reporting requirements of illness to port or terminal management.

To facilitate safe operations:

  • Effectively communicate pre-arrival information, screening and protective measurers to all port tenants, service providers, etc.

  • Share any special requirements, revisions to facility accessibility and hours of service, due to measures introduced in response to COVID-19, are effectively shared and communicated as quickly as possible to port tenants, service providers and appropriate agencies (U.S. Coast Guard, Army Corps, etc.).

  • Promote the use of electronic communications in lieu of face-to-face administrative and commercial interactions between all entities operating in a port or terminal in order to reduce the risks posed by interaction or the exchange of documents.

  • Develop policies for employee protection, including disinfecting work stations before and after use and frequently.

  • Provide training on how to properly disinfect surfaces based on CDC protocols.

  • Ensure all personnel and guests are provided with resources to protect themselves and their work stations, facility equipment, etc. This may include additional hand washing stations, face masks, gloves, hand sanitizer, etc.

If your facility has a confirmed case:

  • Report the confirmed case to the U.S. Coast Guard port captain and other necessary health agencies.

The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) has issued guidance on timing and location of cleaning and disinfection of surfaces.

  • Close off areas frequented by the ill persons. Open outside doors and windows and use ventilating fans to increase air circulation in the area. Wait 24 hours or as long as practical before beginning cleaning and disinfection.

  • Cleaning staff should clean and disinfect all areas such as offices, bathrooms, common areas, shared electronic equipment like tablets, touch screens, keyboards, remote controls, and machines used by the ill persons, focusing especially on frequently touched surfaces.

  • If it has been more than 7 days since the person with suspected/confirmed COVID-19 visited or used the facility, additional cleaning and disinfection is not necessary.

How to clean, based on different surfaces

Hard (Non-porous) Surfaces

  1. If surfaces are dirty, they should be cleaned using a detergent or soap and water prior to disinfection.

  2. For disinfection, most common EPA-registered household disinfectants should be effective. A list of products that are EPA-approved for use against the virus that causes COVID-19 is available at Follow the manufacturer’s instructions for all cleaning and disinfection products for concentration, application method and contact time, etc.

Additionally, diluted household bleach solutions (at least 1000ppm sodium hypochlorite) can be used if appropriate for the surface. Follow manufacturer’s instructions for application, ensuring a contact time of at least 1 minute, and allowing proper ventilation during and after application. Check to ensure the product is not past its expiration date. Never mix household bleach with ammonia or any other cleanser. Unexpired household bleach will be effective against coronaviruses when properly diluted.

  • Prepare a bleach solution by mixing:

  • 5 tablespoons (1/3 cup) bleach per gallon of water or

  • 4 teaspoons bleach per quart of water

Soft (Porous) Surfaces

  1. For soft (porous) surfaces such as carpeted floor, rugs, and drapes, remove visible contamination if present and clean with appropriate cleaners indicated for use on these surfaces. After cleaning:

  2. If the items can be laundered, launder items in accordance with the manufacturer’s instructions using the warmest appropriate water setting for the items and then dry items completely.

Otherwise, use products that are EPA-approved for use against the virus that causes COVID-19 and that are suitable for porous surfaces.


  1. For electronics such as tablets, touch screens, keyboards, remote controls, and machines, remove visible contamination if present.

  2. Follow the manufacturer’s instructions for all cleaning and disinfection products.

  3. Consider use of wipeable covers for electronics.

If no manufacturer guidance is available, consider the use of alcohol-based wipes or sprays containing at least 70% alcohol to disinfect touch screens. Dry surfaces thoroughly to avoid pooling of liquids.

Linens, Clothing, and Other Items That Go in the Laundry

  1. In order to minimize the possibility of dispersing virus through the air, do not shake dirty laundry.

  2. Wash items as appropriate in accordance with the manufacturer’s instructions. If possible, launder items using the warmest appropriate water setting for the items and dry items completely. Dirty laundry that has been in contact with an ill person can be washed with other people’s items.

  3. Clean and disinfect hampers or other carts for transporting laundry according to guidance above for hard or soft surfaces.

It is understood that each facility will need to evaluate their operations and adjust best practices to meet your facility needs.

Employers must ensure workers are trained on the hazards of the cleaning chemicals used in the workplace in accordance with OSHA’s Hazard Communication standard:

Employers must comply with OSHA’s standards on Bloodborne Pathogens

including proper disposal of regulated waste, and PPE

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