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An Employers Guide to A COVID-19 Safe Workplace   

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An Employers Guide to A COVID-19 Safe Workplace  

 

Early this year the World Health Organization or WHO announced the outbreak of the 2019 novel coronavirus or COVID-19. This has affected almost every country in the world and today we have come accord to the virus by practicing precautionary measures as a part of our daily lives. Businesses have been greatly affected as they have been forced to implement new work set up to prioritize the safety of their employees.  

Now that the world has slowly adapted to the new normal, slowly some businesses depending on the nature of their operations and level of exposure that their employees will have are now beginning to return to work onsite. Industries such as healthcare, food and beverage, construction, and the likes have been continued to operate following the standard precautions released by WHO. As you get ready to have your employees return to work, you as an employer must be ready to prepare your workplace COVID safe and prepare some guidelines that your employees must follow.   

In this blog post, we will be sharing a simple guide for employers on how to ready your workplace by following the basic standard precautions and implementing new guidelines.   

  

WHO Guidelines for Getting Your Workplace Ready for COVID-19  

The World Health Organization has released an official guideline for employers and employees to follow. As we all know that COVID-19 is spread through cough exhales or droplet fluid from the infected person, it is important to take note of things you need to do before welcoming back your employees inside your office.  

  

SANITIZE YOUR ENTIRE OFFICE  

The first thing you need to do before having your employees return to work is to sanitize your entire office. Make sure that everything inside your office has been disinfected with cleaning chemicals that can kill coronavirus. COVID-19 can easily spread through contaminated items such as droplets fluids can land on items such as desk, keyboards, tables, cups, and everything that we almost touch. Regular disinfecting and sanitizing will be a part of your office guidelines as your employees will most likely travel and touch numerous things on the way.   

 > implement a clean desk policy. Get rid of items that can be a cause of contamination, the lesser items they have on their tables, the lower the risk of spreading the virus.   

  

FACE MASK POLICY  

 To further prevent the possible spread of the virus, WHO has advised to implement to always wear a face mask even inside the office. Studies have shown that surgical/medical grade face mask prevents the spread of any type of virus, most especially COVID-19. It is highly advised to use a surgical/medical grade face mask as the sole purpose of this mask is to prevent the spread of droplets which can carry the virus and can be transferred from one person to another.   

> give your employees free surgical/medical grade face mask that they can easily get in the office. Remember that these masks are single-use, so they must not be used again the next day. Have them thrown separately in a biohazard trash bin.   

  

TEMPERATURE CHECKS  

One of the common symptoms of contracting the virus is having mild to high-grade fever. As part of the safety precautions, employees, and customers that will be entering your office will be subjected to temperature checks. If one of your employees or a customer has a temperature of 37.3 C or more, as per WHO, they should be sent home immediately. Those who are displaying symptoms of mild cough also needs to stay at home. One of the best alternatives is, if the employee is still able to work, you can have them work from home and do the standard 14-day home quarantine.   

> The standard 14-day quarantine determines if the person has contracted the virus as this is the length of incubation.  

  

PROMOTE FREQUENT HAND HYGIENE  

One of the simplest ways to avoid contracting COVID-19 is by frequently washing your hands with soap and water or an alcohol-based sanitizer. Since the virus can spread fast through frequent touching of common items, it is important to remind your employees and customers to practice hand hygiene. By placing alcohol-based sanitizers on their desk, your door entrance, and corners of your office where they can easily access these hand sanitizers, you can prevent the spread of the virus. However, washing with soap and water is the best way to get rid of germs and viruses.  

> the key to promoting and making hand hygiene a habit is to remind them through visuals and by including this to your daily agenda. Have posters, computer screen savers, and a reminder for them not to forget washing their hands.   

  

  

SOCIAL DISTANCING ON MEETINGS AND EVENTS  

Meetings and events are normal in a company, however, due to the nature of COVID-19 being spread so easily, social distancing must be practiced at all times. Plan meetings ahead of time and if you have a meeting room, limit the people who can attend the meeting. Video conferences are also effective as this minimizes contact within your employees. Practice greetings that avoid touching or being too close, and arrange seats to be at least one meter apart for each participant. Sounds like a lot of work but these precautionary measures prevent not just COVID-19 but common illnesses that might spread inside your office.   

 

> it is important to minimize contact. If you have customers coming in and out, have them enter by batch. For example, only 10 customers at a time, to avoid overcrowding.  

  

IDENTIFY IMMUNOCOMPROMISED EMPLOYEES  

 WHO has discovered thru data of studies that people who contracted the virus are mostly immunocompromised. When a person is immunocompromised, this means that person with a weak or poor immune system is most likely to be infected by the virus. Those who are identified as immunocompromised are pregnant women, kids under the age of 10, young adults under the ages of 21 years old, and senior citizens. Also, people who have comorbidities or underlying illnesses such as heart disease, hypertension, diabetes, and lung disease can easily have the virus. Employees who belong to these categories may work at home as a safety precaution.   

 

> generally, anyone can contract COVID-19, but prioritizing those who have higher risk getting the virus is important to keep everyone inside your office safe.   

COVID-19 READY WORKPLACE  

Being ready at all times, with or without a health crisis is the responsibility of every employer and business owner. One of the traits of the best companies to work for is prioritizing the health of their employees whether they are inside or even outside the office. COVID-19 has shifted our way of living and operating businesses, make sure that you follow the simple ways to keep your office COVID free, and keep your employees healthy.   

Written by Ariane Negishi

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