The number of infected people with coronavirus is increasing. People keep asking questions over employees’ safety against coronavirus at the workplace.
The status is developing, and everyone is monitoring the situation. Governments have imposed quarantines and shut borders. Companies have imposed travel restrictions.
The economic and human impacts on businesses have been stark. But, some worried employees are still going to work. They have every right to be.
In this crisis, companies must focus on the employees’ safety against coronavirus.
The SNOHC team explains frequently asked questions over employees’ safety against coronavirus.
What employees need to know to stay safe against Coronavirus
Neither employers nor governments can’t deal with the employees’ safety against coronavirus alone. Everyone should take one step toward solving it. It’s good practice for employees to:
- Practicing self-hygiene and encouraging others to do so.
- Keep 6 feet distance while talking.
- Stay and keep the family updated on actions to reduce risk levels.
- Check friends, and co-workers’ emergency contact or contact numbers are up to date.
- Make sure of regular hand wash by everyone, and there are clean places with soap and water to do so.
- Make sure managers practice hygiene plans, isolate sick employers at the workplace.
- Change/postpone any travel to affected areas.
- Employees must use hand sanitizer and tissues, and encourage others to do so.
7 Helpful strategies to protect workers against coronavirus
1. Encourage sick employees to stay home
Experts recommend that employees who have acute respiratory illness stay home. They need to wait until they are free of fever and any other symptoms for at least 24 hours. Stopping the spread chain is essential in employees’ safety against coronavirus. The CDC urges separating employees who have symptoms of acute respiratory illness. Sending them immediately home would be wise. Sick employees must cover their mouth and nose while sneezing or coughing. If tissue is not available, with the end of the elbow.
2. Stay and keep others informed
Lots of people are feeling stressed out. People are experiencing much concern because there are lots of unknowns out there. Isolation can have a negative-devastating impact on the human psyche. Families have the challenge of finding outlets. It’s essential to be cautious while trying to inform and hearten employees. Making employees busy will help:
- Creating some fun
- Talking in a positive mood
- Engaging employees more to think less about the crisis
- Defining new projects that even are not necessary.
Identify and introduce reliable sources of information such as WHO, CDC to employees. Encourage them not to believe every shocking news they hear on social media.
3. Importance of hygiene
Companies need to provide employees the necessary means to prevent the coronavirus spread. Employers need to educate employees about workplace infection, symptoms, and modes of transmission. Employers need to put in place measures to reduce the risk of transmission in the workplace. For example, providing hand sanitizers/handwashing facilities and disinfecting public surfaces.
Emphasize hand hygiene and respiratory etiquette by all employees:
- At the most visited places, place safety tip posters.
- In conference rooms/most visited locations, place hand rubs to encourage self hygiene.
- Provide alcohol-based sanitizers, no-touch disposal receptacles, and tissues for use by employees.
- Force employees to wash hands for at least 20 seconds or use alcohol-based sanitizers. If the dirt on the hands is clear, you must use soap and water.
4. Perform routine environmental cleaning
- Execute regular and frequent cleaning. Particularly for most-touched surfaces, such as doorknobs, countertops, and workstations.
- Provide disposable wipes to employees. They need to clean desks, remote controls, keyboards before each use.
5. Employers need to take certain steps before traveling
- For travel tips, visit the CDC’s Traveler’s Health Notices.
- Before traveling, check employees for acute respiratory illness. If employees are sick, avoid sending them on business trips.
6. Prepare plans for a possible coronavirus epidemy in the US
The level of severity of how many people will become infected from COVID-19 in the US is not yet known. You need to be able to respond in a flexible way to different levels of severity. Consider preventing business losses in a likely quarantine. There is a low-risk stage for the general American public from COVID-19.
7. Creating an Epidemy Response Plan
Based on the type of job and circumstances, think of different considerations. Every employer should protect the workforce from COVID-19 during an epidemy. Practice Routine cleaning of most-touched surfaces and self-hygiene. Employees need to understand that staying out of the workplace is essential.
When should employers exclude workers or visitors for employees’ safety against coronavirus?
If the employees/workers have symptoms of coronavirus, they must stay/go home. Hesitating to send employees with coronavirus will have a serious impact on others. Prevent visitors or employees who have coronavirus symptoms from entering the workplace. If in, separate them. Decrease their exposure to others. Try sending them home and arrange to get a medical evaluation.
If coronavirus becomes epidemy, employers should use hand-held thermal scanners to check temperatures. Try to exclude visitors/ staff with high temperatures. Checking temperature is the first and handy way to diagnose infected ones. Some infected with coronavirus may be contagious while not having symptoms. Others may have high temperatures not related to coronavirus. But, there is no other way.
High temperature with respiratory problems is the major symptom of coronavirus. If an employee was in medium or high-risk places, you should ban him from coming to the workplace for 14 days. Such situations could include traveling to a high-risk region.
Should meetings or conferences get canceled to keep employees safe against coronavirus?
Definitely Yes. Social distancing can delay the coronavirus epidemic and lead to saving lives. So, you must try to convert conferences and meetings from in-person to virtual. Some states and cities have canceled meetings of over 250 people. Postpone the meeting as far as you can. Limit the number of attendees. Encourage those who are older or have a chronic disease to attend online. Provide enough room for attendees to stand or sit at least six feet away from others. Ban handshaking. Supply hand sanitizers or proper handwashing facilities.
Traveling advice for employees safety against coronavirus
- Before traveling, check the CDC traveler’s guide for high-risk areas. Avoid such areas as much as possible.
- If coronavirus epidemy escalates, the pressure on health and transportation systems intensifies. It causes trouble for you in a foreign country.
If you have traveled from
- South Korea
- Wuhan of Hubei Province or any high-level risk area
in the last two weeks, you should immediately:
- Stay home and skip contacting others.
- Inform the local healthcare center of your recent travel to the area.
- Even if you don’t have the symptoms, follow the advice.
Avoid group lunch or drinks
The risk level in your area might still be below, but are you sure the laughing in your face is not infected? It is not clear that coronavirus is contagious even when the person doesn’t have the symptoms. For some, the symptoms may appear after 14 days. It’s good to avoid such gatherings between colleagues for employees’ safety against coronavirus. If coronavirus has not become an epidemy in your area, take common-sense precautions:
- Don’t serve popcorn, chips, or any other food that requires your fingers dipping into a bowl.
- Don’t use/talk over a communal plate of food.
- Rinse any piece of fruit that is in its skin (e.g., banana or orange).
- Avoid sipping from anyone else’s glass.
Public Transportation and employees safety against coronavirus
If you rely on public transportation to get around, be cautious. Avoid it if you live in an area with an epidemy or if you are sick. Public transport of any kind could increase the risk of exposure to coronavirus. Dr. Robyn Gershon is a professor of epidemiology. He works at New York University’s School of Public Health. Dr. Greshon gives some recommendations. Professor advises to: When you ride the subway or bus, cough or sneeze into your elbow. while you are riding, avoid touching your face. While you’re commuting, use hand sanitizer if you have it. Wash your hands a lot during, before, and after your trip.
What can the food industry do for employees’ safety against coronavirus?
Over the epidemy of coronavirus, some businesses have reduced their activity. Some staff have switched to working from home, and some companies have shut down. But even if the whole country shuts down, some businesses must not close for a long time. What would people do to supply their daily shopping? But, these areas are public places that are susceptible to coronavirus spread. Taking the precautionary steps for people and employees is a must.
- Supermarkets and large grocery shops need to practice self-hygiene more than others.
- Make employees wash their hands and carry hand sanitizers all the time.
- Use Laser Infrared Thermometers to measure the employee’s or customers’ fever. It would be better not to let in people with fever.
- Employees should wear a mask and protective glasses. They need to avoid sneezing or cough droplets reaching their face.
- Wash and disinfect touched surfaces such as doorknobs, countertops, and workstations a lot.
- Accept only debit/credit cards. Don’t accept cash.
- During this crisis, ban receiving cash tips.
- If possible, don’t let customers enter the store. Hire some safe workers. Gather peoples’ shopping list and deliver at the entrance.
- Place hand sanitizers at the entrance of the Store for shoppers to use.
- Employers must keep more than 6 feet distance with customers.
- Provide good air conditioning for your shop and let the air change often.
- Provide hot drinks for employees or even people.
- Make staff wash their nose with hot water every so often.
Careful planning can lead to protecting the employees’ safety against coronavirus. The situation is getting worse. It is a good opportunity for companies to optimize their emergency strategies.
Decisive and immediate actions by employers can lead to employees’ safety against coronavirus. Many other benefits could even lead to coronavirus treatment.
You ask how?
There is much pressure on labs and hospitals. We must remove it to let them work on coronavirus vaccination and treatment.
In this article, the SNOHC covered strategies for better employees’ safety against coronavirus. SNOHC has been performing occupational health services for +15 years in Las Vegas. For more information, please visit www.snohc.com. Don’t forget to let us know what you think about this blog in the comment section below.