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A COVID-19 Free Workplace: Procedural Considerations for Employees

It’s time to think about procedural considerations in preventing the spread of COVID-19 in your workplace. When the stop-work order is lifted, employees will be anticipating going back to their previous work routines. However, the reality is, the potential spread of COVID-19 will likely remain on everyone’s mind. Employees will be dependent on you to provide a virus-free workplace.

According to OSHA, the most effective way to prevent the spread of COVID-19 is by avoiding contact with infected individuals. This is uniquely challenging as signs and symptoms may not appear for up to 14 days. Additionally, some people are considered contagious carriers of the virus and show no symptoms. Consequently, an ongoing effort must be demonstrated to maintain a sanitary workplace during the COVID-19 outbreak. 

Furthermore, the World Health Organization (WHO) revealed that common signs and symptoms of a person infected with COVID-19 include: cough, fever, tiredness, and difficulty breathing. At EDMC Safety & Health, we encourage you to be mindful during this time. If an employee or customer enters your workplace with the virus, it can easily be spread throughout your entire workplace. In an effort to maintain a COVID-19 free workplace, our team has established procedural considerations for employees:

Self-Monitor Daily

Request that employees take their temperature at home prior to coming to work. If their temperature is above 100.4 and they are experiencing a dry cough or trouble breathing, encourage them to call in sick and seek immediate medical attention. Additionally, if they are found COVID-19 positive, they will need to self-quarantine per the guidance of their healthcare provider.

Temporal Artery Thermometer Scans

Consider temporal artery thermometer scans upon initial daily entry to the workplace. Temporal artery thermometers use an inferred scanner to measure temperature on the temporal artery in the forehead. Moreover, they are an efficient and hands-free method of quick temperature checks. Temporal artery thermometers can be purchased online or at pharmacies. If one’s temperature exceeds 100.4 degrees, instruct them to go home and immediately consult their healthcare provider.

Sick Leave Policies

During this time, it’s important to ensure that sick leave policies are both flexible and consistent with public health guidance. Additionally, it is crucial that employees are made aware of these policies. Do not require a healthcare note from employees who report being sick in order to validate their illness. Healthcare facilities may not be able to provide proper documentation in a timely manner due to the influx of patient cases at this time.

NOTE: Increased employee absenteeism is highly likely due to personal sickness, caregiving for sick family members, caregiving for children if schools and daycare centers are closed, have at-risk people at home, or because they are afraid to come to work because of fear of possible exposure.

Workplace Sanitation

We recommend installing hands-free hand sanitizer pumps at every employee entrance. Consider minimizing employee entry locations to garage door entries only. This allows employees to enter the workplace hands-free and immediately sanitize.

Additionally, we advise you to encourage proper coughing and sneezing hygiene etiquette in the workplace. We recommend posting this etiquette poster in your workplace –– Coughing and Sneezing Hygiene Etiquette

Consider designating or hiring a cleaning person to disinfect highly touched surfaces throughout the day. Additionally, we recommend providing tissue paper for employees and hands-free trash receptacles in which to dispose of used tissue paper and cleaner wipes.

Flexible Hours

Consider staggering work-shifts, flexible worksites, and flexible work hours during this time. This allows for increased social distancing between employees while maintaining work operations.

Lastly, provide gloves and face masks for employees at no charge. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) is encouraging people to wear face masks when out in public as a proactive and preventative means of contracting or spreading COVID-19. While face masks continue to be in scarce supply, check out the Surgeon General demonstrating a technique on how to make homemade face coverings.

Remember: Proactive Safety Beats Reactive Safety

Is your business prepared to reopen when the COVID-19 work restrictions are lifted? If not, call EDMC Safety & Health to help assist in the implementation of an Infectious Disease Preparedness and Response Program for your facility.

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