Employers can minimize the spread of Covid-19 at workplaces

The Covid-19 pandemic has posed a massive impact on the global economy. Businesses are now implementing safety measures to protect their workforce during this period.

This can mean revamping your emergency plan and reserving cash as you prepare for a recession. However, to safeguard your workforce, it will be imperative to protect your employees and keep them informed about this pandemic.

So, what do you need to do? With a possible spread of panic in the workplace, you need to take precautionary measures, including social distancing and handwashing. Besides, you can utilize these tips to keep your business healthy during this Covid-19 outbreak.

Identify your risk group

The WHO advised that older people are more vulnerable to Covid-19 than younger people. Use the same analogy to classify your predisposed employees.

If possible, request your older employees, maybe 50 years and above, to work from home. You can, however, trickle down to subdivide them into low exposure risk and high exposure risk.

The latter can include employees who are often in contact with people who are susceptible to the Coronavirus. Other than those in health facilities, this group can consist of essential service providers who are always in touch with the general public. 

You can provide them with protective gears like face masks and gloves.

Besides, social distancing, hygiene measures, regular washing of hands, and sanitizing can be implemented to protect even the low exposure risk group.

It will, however, require discipline to make it sustainable. Bear in mind that some staff, in the course of their daily life, might experience non-occupational risk factors.

Have an internal response team

Organize and identify a response team in the workplace. The team can serve as a communication source that connects your company and health facility in case of an emergency.

Impose measures such as reviewing sitting arrangements and stockpile management plan. The team should also conduct basic medical screening like daily monitoring of employee’s temperatures before entering the workplace.

Have a feasible communication forum to address employees’ concerns. You can designate a room to isolate employees with suspected symptoms as they wait for intervention by the medical personnel. Consider giving the team protective equipment since they will become highly predisposed employees in the workplace. 

Have administrative measures

Have administrative controls by scheduling employees’ tasks in a manner that minimizes their exposure levels. You can decide to suspend unnecessary occupational travels, especially to areas that have high exposure.

Consider policies that encourage your staff to stay at home whenever they feel sick. Have work practices like teleconferencing, phone/text messaging, or emailing to minimize physical contact between coworkers. Discourage employees from sharing personal items like phones, desks, and other equipment.

If possible, consider flexible working schedules like shifts, half working hours, or work-from-home to reduce crowding in workplaces. Ask employees to observe etiquette like sneezing or coughing on their upper sleeve or disposable tissue, sanitize after sneezing, or regularly wash their hands.

Remember to have trash receptacles and frequently disinfect open surfaces like desks, computers, door handles, and office phones. Develop a policy that encourages home delivery of services and products to minimize the number of customers visiting your work promise.

Educate and train the staff

Train your employers on health precautions and basic workplace practices. 

Monitor public health communication on coronavirus pandemic and make them accessible to your employees.

Train them on preventive measures, risk factors, or personal behaviours like hygiene.

Employees can also collaborate with the internal response team to designate bulletin boards, websites, or any other means of communication to update them on important issues about Covid-19.

Also, encourage them to embrace a healthy lifestyle by eating balanced diets, exercising, or minimizing smoking.

It is also essential to check on their mental health. Encourage them to report whenever they feel anxious or depressed about the situation.  

Provide personal protective equipment (PPE)

Employees who frequently get in contact with the general public need to have PPE. Provide surgical masks, goggles, gloves, and decontaminate clothing, among others.

Stockpile personal hygiene resources like disinfectants, sanitizers, tissues, and hand soaps. Educate your employees on which protective equipment is appropriate for them as recommended by the MoH.

This can depend on their geographical location or occupational roles. Reconsider your engineering controls to ensure a working environment that minimizes work-related transmissions.

For instance, have drive-through windows for customer services or transparent sneeze guards. 

Overall, controlling infectious diseases like Covid-19 will depend on feasible work practices adopted by companies.

Before implementing workplace practices, employers should consider seeking employees’ suggestions. Sufficient protection of employees during the Covid-19 outbreak hinges on personal hygiene and discipline. 


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