Social distancing guidance suggests maintaining (6 feet distance between people to decrease the potential for transmission of COVID-19. In some settings, e.g., a client communicating with an employee or other workplace settings, it may not be possible to maintain the 2-meter distance. Environmental barriers are an example of engineering control that can diminish droplet transmission in these settings. Tempered glass can be used as a barrier between people.
Multiple companies suggest the use of tempered glass or other barriers for a variety of businesses to lessen exposure. CDC and OSHA both recommend the use of tempered glass or clear glass barriers in pharmacies between the employee and consumers at pickup counters.1,2 Similarly, WHO mentions the use of physical barriers at registration desks, triage desks, or pharmacy windows in the healthcare setting.
Tempered glass is beneficial because it is readily available, easily worked, smooth, transparent, and easily cleanable. Features such as scratch and impact resistance should be considered before making a selection. In installing glass partitions, attention should be given to ventilation provisions to dodge interference with HVAC systems.
OSHA suggests installing tempered glass partitions in retail stores when it is not possible to support social distancing. For rideshare, taxi, or care service workers, OSHA also suggests installing a tempered glass partition between the driver and the passenger compartments, if possible. OSHA suggests restaurant and beverage vendors offering takeout or curbside pickup install glass partitions if possible when sensible social distancing is not possible. CDC suggests placing a glass barrier (e.g. sneeze guard) between patrons and airport retail and food service workers as a means to actually improve the distance between staff and clients.
The NCCEH published guidance for use of such barriers. The NCCEH authors state: “Partitions are intended to serve three critical roles:
1) intercepting the respiratory droplets that are thought to transmit the virus,
2) re-enforcing physical distancing requirements, even when users are unwilling or forgetful.
3) reducing reliance on masks, both due to the shortage of these items and user comfort.
The dimensions of the partition should take into account the breathing zone areas of both users and reflect the posture (sitting or standing) of the users. The height of the glass partition needs to be greater than the tallest standing user. The barrier should be as wide as reasonable, typically indicating the length of the desk or counter.
Normally there will need to be an opening in the tempered glass or other barriers to allow the transfer of paperwork or other items, e.g., prescription medications in a pharmacy, between the users. These openings should be as small as feasible and should be located to the side of the sitting user, i.e., not straight in front of the employee’s breathing zone. The partitions can be mounted on the surface of the desk or counter using an industrial strength adhesive. Ideally, the design should allow the support of a 6-foot separation between users. The NCCEH authors state: “Because partitions are intercepting respiratory droplets, they must be treated as contaminated surfaces and should be cleaned regularly according to a set protocol.” Disinfectants or cleaners that will not damage the barrier need to be chosen.
Cubiture is committed to giving you the best. While you might be tempted to take a low-budget route when buying office furniture accessories, acrylic sneeze guards should not be on this list of items. Every company should invest in the best health and safety measures for their employees while concurrently keeping the aesthetic and resale value of their office furniture. Call us now for a free quote and design drawing. You won’t regret purchasing tempered glass.
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