Photo by Kelly Sikkema
The world is facing an invisible enemy that has claimed thousands of lives all over the world — the novel coronavirus-19 (COVID-19). Since this deadly virus can spread rapidly between people, it is important for employers to provide their employees with a safe and healthy workplace. With COVID-19 now an international public health emergency, make sure that the management is doing appropriate monitoring and remains responsive.
#1 Educate your staff and keep the lines of communication open.
Communicating with your staff openly keeps them educated and well-updated about COVID-19. This helps demonstrate that you are constantly monitoring the situation and keeps everyone safe and healthy during this time of health crisis. You can solicit input and suggestions, especially on hygiene issues, to effectively reduce the risk of transmission of the virus in your workplace.
#2 Monitor developments on a daily basis.
The World Health Organization (WHO) and the Center for Disease Control (CDC) frequently keep us posted of the latest updates on COVID-19 on their websites. As the outbreak continues to evolve, it is important for employers to frequently check these websites for updates and guidelines for employers and businesses on planning and responding to issues relating to COVID-19.
#3 Reinforce proper hygiene practices and safety precautions
The Centre for Occupational Health and Safety (COHS) enforces that all employers provide their workforce with a safe and healthy work environment that is free from hazards that could potentially cause serious physical harm or death. Employers must also comply with occupational safety and health standards and rules. In addition, they must remind their staff to reinforce proper hygiene practices and take basic preventive measures to minimize the risk of transmission within the workplace.
- Disinfect workstations (including their desks, keyboards, work phones, and mouses) before the start of each shift to kill harmful bacteria and viruses.
- Wash your hands thoroughly with soap and water for at least 20 seconds before and after eating, touching the door handles, or blowing your nose, or use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer containing 70 percent alcohol.
- Avoid physical contact, such as a handshake, kissing, and touching.
- Cover your mouth and nose with a tissue, handkerchief, sleeve, or elbow when sneezing or coughing to prevent transmission of the virus into the air.
- Stay home when you feel sick.
- Never get too close to people who are sick.
- Wear a mask for protection.
- Stay at home and get some rest when sick
- Clean frequently touched surfaces or objects with disinfectant
- Maintain social distancing at 1 meter apart from each other.
Enforcing good hygiene practices ensures workplace safety. It is also extremely important that employers should review cleaning operations to ensure routine disinfection of frequently touched surfaces.
#4 Appointment of cross-functional coronavirus emergency management team
Proper preparation allows your company to act quickly in case of a COVID-19 transmission in the workplace. Appointing a central point of contact and cross-functional emergency management team (EMT) is extremely crucial to help address potential outbreak in the workplace, as well as accident investigations and reporting.
#5 Discourage sick employees from working and send them home ASAP
Photo by Kelly Sikkema
Encouraging sick employees, especially those with fever and symptoms of acute respiratory illness, to remain home until they completely feel better helps control the transmission of the disease within the workplace. Providing your employees with flexible sick leave and attendance policy enables them to be more transparent about their health.