Coronavirus Outbreak: Workplace Safety Tips
The beginning of the year 2020 has brought the danger of deadly viral infection caused by the coronavirus, originated from Hubei, China and infecting the mass rapidly across the globe. The virus has affected whopping 60,000 people in China yet. According to the latest news, 2000 people have already died due to this viral infection. The world health organization (WHO) has officially named the virus as COVID-19 and declared this virus outbreak a global emergency.
There is global anxiety in the world due to the outbreak of Coronavirus originated from China. The cases of the infection have been rapidly growing across the other neighbouring countries since the outbreak.
According to international news agencies, the disease first came from the animals in the seafood market and then rapidly infected through in-person contact. The disease infects one’s respiratory parts of the body such as lungs and nose which can further be transmitted to the people who come in contact with the infected person.
India also shares borderlines with China so the health ministries of India is actively taking appropriate measures to control the disease from spreading across the country.
The workplace is very vulnerable to spread infections amongst people as the workforce of the company belongs to different parts of the globe. So every workplace must adopt the safety measures to avoid any infection in these viral days.
How to Prevent the Spread of Coronavirus in the Workplace
We spend most of the time in the workplace and the things in the workplace are not always as perfect for our health as our homes. We have very less control over the workplace surroundings so HR persons and company owners have a responsibility to keep the surroundings well to control the viral infection from spreading amongst people.
The US. Centres for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) have given a detailed guide that describes the strategies for preventing infections in the workplace. Here are some of the recommendations from the guide:
Extend Sick Leaves for the Employees with Viral Symptoms
Extend the sick leaves of your employees who are suffering from respiratory infections until they do not reproduce the symptoms for at least 24 hours. This will reduce the risks of further spreading the infection in the workplace.
The infection caused by Covin-19 have symptoms similar to other viral diseases such as fever, cough, difficulty in breathing and sneezing. If any employee is found producing such symptoms in the workplace, the HR must separate such employees from the rest of the team so they don’t infect other employees. They must be sent back to home and advised to stay at home until they have fully recovered.
Promote Measures for Hand Cleanliness
Employers must start promoting handwashing to avoid infections amongst employees as the viruses of COVIN-19 are generally transmitted through close contact with the infected people.
You can place posters around the workplace giving messages about handwashing tips or how to keep your hands away from infections by using alcohol-based hand sanitizers or soap and water handwashes.
Ask your employees to follow healthy sneezing or coughing etiquettes in the workplace. The etiquettes include using tissue papers while sneezing or coughing to cover the mouth to avoid any contagiousness.
Provide your employees with tissue papers, alcohol-based hand sanitizers in the various zones of the workplace. This will minimize the risk for employees to come in direct contact with the infection.
Regular Cleaning of the Workplace
Regularly use disinfectants to clean the objects that are frequently touched and so becomes vulnerable to infect people such as doorknobs, desks, chairs and windows.
You can provide your workforce with disposable wipes so they can wipe out the previously touched surfaces before touching.
Start Screening for Covid-19
You can start symptomatic screening of employees on a regular basis. The screening will include measuring the body temperature of every employee as the primary symptom of coronavirus is fever with respiratory problems. Additionally, you can ask your employees to stay at home if they are facing other viral symptoms such as running nose, sore throat or cough. Don’t forget to include cleaners, sweepers and other admin staff as a part of the screening as these people are most prone to spread infections.
Communicate Safe Travelling Guide with your Workforce
- Update your employees about the CDC’s shared guidelines for each country they are about to travel. The CDC has already released a travel warning for the people located in China “Avoid travelling if there is no serious need”.
- Do not allow older employees and pregnant women of your company to travel as they have weaker immunity and are likely to get infections.
- People who have just returned internationally, must not be allowed in the workplace for at least two weeks. Thorough home quarantine process must be followed with them as per the guidelines given by the health ministry of India
- Employees who have been travelling already and somehow if they fall ill must immediately ask their managers to connect them with a local doctor there.
Employers must always get aligned with CDC’s official recommendations regarding this dangerous outbreak to ensure the safety of the employees in the workplace.
Read more about Coronavirus symptoms, myths and guidelines to lower the health risks.