Ways to Protect Yourself From COVID-19 at Workplace
Coronavirus cases have hit India and the numbers are increasing each day, employers and employees alike are concerned about how the virus may spread through the workplace, while most of the workplaces are shut, essential services like hospitals, medical shops, petrol pumps, and convenience shops are still open. Detrimental respiratory illnesses can normally spread through sneezing, touching objects with contaminated hands, and touching your face after touching contaminated objects, according to experts.
Keeping the workplace clean can stop the spread of the ‘COVID-19’ and other communicable disease. In addition to limiting exposure to the new strain COVID19, taking the following steps can help in preventing the spread of the flu and other viruses.
Keep your hands clean
Learn the hand washing steps endorsed by the WHO by heart, the importance of clean hands can never be overstated. Stress on hand-washing year-round and highlight it during flu season, keeping hands clean is one of the most important steps to avoid the spread of germs and other deadly diseases.
Experts recommend to wash hands with soap and water for at least 20 seconds. Employers can print and post WHO hand washing techniques, which remind employees when to wash their hands, including:
- After using the washroom
- Before, during and after preparing food
- Before eating
- After blowing their nose, coughing or sneezing
- After caring for someone who is sick
- After touching garbage
It is advised that people use an alcohol-based hand disinfectant, if soap and water are not available. Alcohol-based hand sanitizers should contain at least sixty percent to ninety percent alcohol, but washing with soap and water is preferable, particularly if hands are visibly dirty.
How can the employers help in current scenario?
Experts opine that employers provide soap and water and alcohol-based hand rubs in the workplace and ensure that adequate supplies are maintained. Aakash Healthcare Super Speciality Hospital has put multiple touch free hand rubs in different locations to encourage hand hygiene.
Sneezing and Coughing Etiquette should be strictly followed
Keeping in mind how similar viruses spread, people infected with the ‘COVID-19’ may be spreading the virus through aerosol, when they cough or sneeze. There is a lot to learn about the transmissibility and other features associated with the COVID-19 as the outbreak studies continue.
Now is the time to practice good hygiene etiquette is when you are sick, especially when coughing or sneezing. To help prevent the spread of germs, experts suggest –
Avoiding coughing or sneezing into your hands, dab instead
Put your used tissue in the dustbin
Sanitise Your Workstation
Employers should encourage employees and housekeeping staff to routinely clean all frequently touched surfaces in the workplace, Lift buttons, keyboards, remote controls, desks, countertops and doorknobs.
Do regular cleaning products kill the COVID-19?
Infection control experts suggest that Corona Virus is easiest to kill with the appropriate disinfectant product, they recommended using the cleaning agents that are usually used to clean work surfaces, doorknobs and countertops and to follow the directions on the label. Experts also suggest that employers should provide disposable wipes so that workers can easily wipe commonly used surfaces.
Actively Encourage Sick Employees to Stay Home
Health professionals and related organisations recommend that employees who have symptoms of acute respiratory illness, stay at home, self-isolate and not come to work until they are free of temperature or any signs of a fever and any other symptoms for at least twenty four hours, without the use of fever reducing medicines, such as paracetamol, etc.
Employers should ensure that their sick leave policies are flexible during these tough times and that employees are well aware of these policies.
Have an Open Dialogue with Employees
Employers need to understand how to best decrease the spread of acute respiratory illnesses, especially if you work in a hospital, which handles active cases, lower the impact of COVID19 in their workplace and share plans with their employees. Plans should clearly identify and communicate the objectives, which can have these; reducing transmission among staff and protecting people who are at higher risk.
Some key considerations when making decisions on appropriate response may include severity of the virus, its impact of on employees that at higher risk of infection and a possibility of increased employee absence.
The best practice is to avoid any contact with people who are sick. If you are ill, you should try to distance yourself from others so you do not spread the disease
Speak with Employees about Travel Plans
After the lockdown is over, strongly advise against international trip, it should either be postponed or cancelled. Employees should check themselves for symptoms of the COVID-19, if they urgently have to travel, as to not infect anyone. To learn more about coronavirus and how to protect yourself, keep an eye on this space.