15 April, 2020
A number of growers have queried SRA regarding decontaminating surfaces in machines such as cabs of tractors and harvesters in relation to COVID-19. SRA’s Leader for Disease Management, Dr Rob Magarey, suggests the following, which incorporates advice from the World Health Organisation:
1. Detergent + water: wash dirty surfaces with either detergent + water or soap + water – using a suitable cloth. If the surfaces end-up relatively clean, this itself will lead to removal of much / all of the virus load. If the surfaces are not dirty to start with, this step could be skipped if you intend to spray or wipe with alcohol.
2. Alcohol: finish the job by wiping or spraying with a 60-70% solution of alcohol. Ensure there are no sources of ignition, particularly before using a spray as ethanol mist is subject to an explosive flame.
In the sugar industry context, it is suggested that benzalkonium chloride (the active ingredient in Sterimax) is not as good as alcohol.
Safe Work Australia has developed a comprehensive information sheet for agricultural industries and minimising the risk of exposure. You can access it here.
Access the Australian Government guidelines here.
SRA has also developed this poster explaining work in the field with us during this time
This video is general in nature and is intended to support existing official material on COVID-19. Please also see our disclaimer.