Keeping Your Employees Safe During the Coronavirus Pandemic
As we continue to do business during the coronavirus pandemic, protecting the health and safety of our employees is essential. Keeping a workplace safe benefits your company and your employees and their families. Here are 8 ways you can provide a safe working environment.
- Actively encourage sick employees to stay home. The Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends that sick employees who have not been tested for the coronavirus stay home until they are fever free for at least 72 hours, without the use of medicine, and their other symptoms have improved. However, if an employee has been tested, the CDC recommends they not only stay home for 72 hours, but also wait until the test has returned negative. Those who test positive should follow their doctor’s and the CDC’s guidelines for returning to work.
- Require employees who travel to impacted areas to self-quarantine for 14 days. The coronavirus incubation period is 14 days and not all those infected show symptoms. To ensure an employee hasn’t contracted the virus a 14-day self-quarantine is recommended after travel.
- Limit the number of people in your building. Consider allowing or requiring staff to work from home if their job allows it. Limit or eliminate the number of customers you allow into your business at one time or try curbside pick or delivery. The fewer people you have in your business the lower the potential of spreading the virus within your building.
- Continue social distancing. As businesses in our communities start to open. maintaining social distancing will be essential to slow the spread of the virus. Stay 6 feet apart, do contactless delivery of services, use virtual meeting options, and cancel/postpone large gatherings.
- Switch to virtual meetings. If you have regular staff meetings or meet with customers in person, see if there is a way to do this virtually. If a meeting is unavoidable make sure to conduct social distancing when you do meet; stick to larger conference rooms and sit apart from each other.
- Encourage and support good hygiene. Good hygiene includes hand washing, using hand sanitizer, eliminating handshaking, and covering your mouth and nose when you cough or sneeze. Make sure you are providing the necessary items so employees can maintain good hygiene practices. Never touch your face with your hands.
- Make sure you have a clean work environment. Have a plan to ensure your business is cleaned regularly. You should be cleaning frequently touched surfaces and items several times a day. This may include phones, light switches, doorknobs, handrails, coffee pots, fridge handles, copy machines, to name a few. Use an EPA-registered household disinfectant. (https://www.epa.gov/pesticide-registration/list-n-disinfectants-use-against-sars-cov-2).
- Temperature Testing. Consider daily temperature testing for every person entering your buildings. If you do, make sure to clearly communicate this is going to happen, determine guidelines for administering, follow any rules outlined by OSHA, and, most importantly, be consistent with application.
In this unprecedented time, we all need to remain diligent, ensuring our employees have a safe and healthy work environment. For more details and guidance check out the CDC’s website at https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/index.html.
Stay safe and healthy!