Amidst news of the coronavirus (COVID-19), employers across the globe are taking precautions to protect their workforce from the potential impacts of this disease. Since the media seems to have varying opinions about the virus, our team at Optimum wants to encourage you and your organization to view information from reputable sources such as the World Health Organization (WHO) and the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).
In this time, there are many simple, precautionary steps your organization can take to protect the workforce. The CDC has developed the following interim guidance that may help prevent workplace exposures to acute respiratory illnesses, including COVID-19, in non-healthcare settings:
Actively encourage sick employees to stay home: Employees who have symptoms of acute respiratory illness are recommended to stay home until they are free of fever or signs of a fever and any other symptoms for at least 24 hours without the use of fever-reducing or other symptom-altering medicines, like cough suppressants.
Separate sick employees: Employees who have acute respiratory illness symptoms like a cough or shortness of breath upon arrival at work, or become sick during the day, should be separated from other employees and sent home immediately.
Emphasize staying home when sick, respiratory etiquette and hand hygiene by all employees: Use posters emphasizing these items at entrances and other key locations. Provide tissues and non-touch receptacles. Instruct employees to clean their hands often with alcohol-based hand sanitizer or wash their hands with soap and warm water for at least 20 seconds when visibly dirty. Provide hand wipes in the workplace in multiple locations to encourage hand hygiene.
Perform routine environmental cleaning: Routinely clean all frequently touched surfaces in the workplace, such as, workstations, counter-tops, doorknobs, remote controls, control panels, desks, etc. Provide disposal wipes so that commonly used surfaces can be wiped down before use.
Advise employees before traveling to take certain steps: Employees should check the CDC Traveler’s Health Notices for latest information. Advise employees to check themselves for symptoms of acute respiratory illness and stay home if they are sick.
Should you have questions about the impacts of this disease on your workplace, please reach out to our team.