The COVID-19 pandemic has transformed the world of work and has created several challenges for businesses trying to reopen. Although both employers and employees may feel the urgency to get their work and business back to normal as soon as possible, ensuring the health and safety of every employee is a top concern during the outbreak.
We know that every workplace is unique which makes it so important that every function carried out by their workforce to ensure they take action to protect against the hazards presented by exposure to COVID-19. Here are the low-cost measures suggested by the World Health Organization (WHO) that can help prevent the spread of infections and exposure of COVID-19 in the workplace.
Implement basic hygiene measures
- Make sure your workplaces are clean and hygienic Surfaces (e.g. desks and tables) and objects (e.g. telephones, keyboards) need to be wiped with disinfectant regular.
Why? Because contamination on surfaces touched by employees and customers is one of the main ways that COVID-19 spreads
Promote regular and thorough hand-washing by employees, contractors, and customers
- Put sanitizing hand rub dispensers in prominent places around the workplace. Make sure these dispensers are regularly refilled
- Display posters promoting hand-washing – ask your local public health authority for these or look at www.WHO.int.
- Combine this with other communication measures such as offering guidance from occupational health and safety officers, briefings at meetings and information on the intranet to promote hand-washing
- Make sure that staff, contractors and customers have access to places where they can wash their hands with soap and water
Why? Because washing kills the virus on your hands and prevents the spread of COVID – 19
Promote good respiratory hygiene in the workplace
- Display posters promoting respiratory hygiene. Combine this with other communication measures such as offering guidance from occupational health and safety officers, briefing at meetings and information on the intranet, etc.
- Ensure that face masks 1 and / or paper tissues are available at your workplaces, for those who develop a runny nose or cough at work, along with closed bins for hygienically disposing of them
Why? Because good respiratory hygiene prevents the spread of COVID-19
Take care of your employees
- Brief your employees, contractors, and customers that if COVID-19 starts spreading in your community anyone with even a mild cough or low-grade fever (37.3 C or more) needs to stay at home. They should also stay home (or work from home) if they have had to take simple medications, such as paracetamol/acetaminophen, ibuprofen or aspirin, which may mask symptoms of infection
- Keep communicating and promoting the message that people need to stay at home even if they have just mild symptoms of COVID-19.
- Display posters with this message in your workplaces. Combine this with other communication channels commonly used in your organization or business.
- Make clear to employees that they will be able to count this time off as sick leave.
- Focus on the emotional impact on employees during and after COVID-19
Stay well informed
The amount of information related to COVID-19 can be overwhelming so make sure to always check that the source of the information is an established and qualified provider. Official sources of information on COVID-19 include:
- World Health Organization
- Ministry of Health & Population Nepal