Covid-19 has had an impact on industries across the board, from the negative effects of retail to the positive impact to online dating. As America emerges from a Covid-19 induced lockdown, employees are tentatively returning to work. Undoubtedly, there are concerns.
The novel coronavirus has already claimed the lives of 128,000 US citizens – more than any other country in the world. Given office environments are breeding grounds for viruses, it is understandable that some workers are reluctant to return to work.
Employers can alleviate fears by creating a Covid-19 secure workplace. Guidelines issued by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) provide employers with the latest strategies and recommendations to ensure the safety of your workforce.
Employers throughout the US will be expected to help reinforce the government’s Covid-19 messaging. By educating your staff, customers and visitors, we can help prevent another outbreak of coronavirus.
History shows that viruses like SARS-CoV-2 do not “magically disappear”. They have to be contained. Until a vaccine is developed, the lives of vulnerable individuals with weak immune systems are at risk.
The best way to keep Covid-19 contained is to put precautionary measures in place that prevent the spread. Employers have an obligation to minimize hazardous risks.
Covid-19 Secure Workplace Policies
People are accustomed to social distancing. Adhering to these rules should not present too many problems in an office environment. However, keeping two metres apart does become more difficult in hives. Limit the number of people in the office at any one time.
If your employees can work from home, businesses are recommended to introduce telecommuting policies. Maybe you were considering remote working as an option before the pandemic anyway. Telecommuting does offer a number of benefits to both employers and employees.
Flexible working hours such as shift work is also an option. Employees that do attend the office can be protected with a variety of personal protection equipment (PPE) such as masks, sneeze screens, hand gel sanitizer with at least a 60% alcohol content and disinfectant wipes for desks, keyboards and other shared office equipment.
Eliminating physical contact wherever possible is highly recommended. Discourage handshakes, back-slapping and phone sharing. Where possible install hands-free technologies such as automatic doors, movement sensors, thermal cameras and foot-pedalled dispensers.
Scientific data reveals coronavirus lingers for up to 72-hours on surfaces such as wood, plastic and metal. However, it has been found the virus does not last longer than 24-hours on cardboard. Desk partitions and 3-way desk screens are recommended.
Covid-19 Work Policies
Coronavirus prevention will need to be added to your company’s health and safety protocols. Employees should be immediately report viral symptoms to an appointed Covid-19 representative.
Where possible employees that notice signs of illness should be encouraged to stay at home. If they report the illness which in the office, potential contagious individuals should be confined to a secure area dedicated to suspected Covid cases until they can safely return home.
Periodic screen testing should also be conducted on employees several times a day. Non-contact IR thermometers enable Covid-19 representatives to take the temperatures of your workforce from a safe distance.
The health and safety of your employees, customers and visitors is a priority in a post-pandemic world. If businesses do everything possible to prevent a further outbreak, we will save lives – and perhaps even the economy.