Keep COVID Out of Your Workplace
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recently posted guidelines on their website as states are slowly starting to reopen. Restaurants, beaches, shops, and parks are opening in different phases. However, white-collar office employees are mostly continuing to work from home. The main question a lot of people are asking is, what can I do to stay safe and protect myself from the COVID-19 while at work?
How to Plan, Prepare and Respond to COVID-19 in the Workplace
- Upon arriving at work, employees should get a temperature and symptom check.
- Desks should be six feet apart inside the office. If that’s not possible, then consider implementing plastic shields around the desks.
- Seating should be removed in all common areas.
- Face masks/coverings should be worn at ALL times.
- Replace high-touch communal items, such as coffee pots, water coolers, and snack machines, with alternatives such as prepackaged, single-serve items.
- Limit use and occupancy of elevators to maintain social distancing of at least 6 feet.
- Ventilation: open windows are most recommended.
- Constant cleaning of surfaces.
- Regular hand washing of at least 20 seconds.
- No fist-bumps, handshaking, or face touching.
- Commute to work alone, avoiding carpooling, and mass transportation.
- Multiple sanitation stations with wipes throughout the workplace.
Some companies are thinking it is easier to keep their employees at home rather than trying to figure out how to implement these guidelines into their workplace. All of the CDC recommendations are absolutely necessary in order to maintain workplace safety. However, this will only work if employees are dedicated to following these guidelines. It’s going to take some time to get used to the new normal in all different types of settings. All companies are different, especially the layout of workplaces. These guidelines are going to have to be implemented in different ways in order to work for specific companies. Some people are even implementing their own ideas on how to maintain workplace safety. One company put arrows on the floor so people will go to the restroom one direction and come out the other.
Even with the guidelines, employees still may not be comfortable returning to the workplace. It will take time to really adjust to the new standard being set for employees to remain safe coming in to work. By following these recommendations and putting more safe practices in place, companies can begin to open and resume business in the workplace setting. If you have any concerns about reopening, or you would like assistance forming a plan, do not hesitate to contact the FIRRMup™ Doctors.
The FIRRIMup™ Doctors, Dr. Angeli Akey and Dr. Kathleen O’Neil-Smith, are hosting Workplace Safety Webinars to “Keep COVID-19 Out of Your Workplace.” The webinars will cover infectivity/serology testing, mitigation strategies, and infection control. If you are interested in joining the webinars, email FIRRIMupDoctors@gmail.com for more information.
Center for Disease Control https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/community/organizations/businesses-employers.html
Occupational Safety and Health Administration