With all the talk about the Coronavirus (COVID-19), we put together a list of strategies to help keep your office and employees safe.
Recommended COVID-19 strategies for employers:
Keep workplaces clean and hygienic:
• Routinely clean all frequently touched surfaces in the workplace, such as workstations, countertops, and doorknobs. Use the cleaning agents that are usually used in these areas and follow the directions on the label.
• Provide disposable wipes so that commonly used surfaces (for example, doorknobs, keyboards, remote controls, desks) can be wiped down by employees before each use.
Promote regular and thorough handwashing:
• Place posters that encourage hand hygiene, cough and sneeze etiquette, and staying home when sick, at the entrance to your workplace and in other workplace areas where they are likely to be seen.
• Provide tissues and no-touch disposal receptacles for use by employees.
• Instruct employees to clean their hands often with an alcohol-based hand sanitizer that contains at least 60-95% alcohol or wash their hands with soap and water for at least 20 seconds. Soap and water should be used preferentially if hands are visibly dirty.
• Provide soap and water and alcohol-based hand rubs in the workplace. Ensure that adequate supplies are maintained. Place hand rubs in multiple locations or in conference rooms to encourage hand hygiene.
Consult national travel advice before going on business travel:
• Check the CDC’s Traveler’s Health Notices for the latest guidance and recommendations for each country to which you will travel.
• Advise employees to check themselves for symptoms of acute respiratory illness before starting travel and notify their supervisor and stay home if they are sick.
• Ensure employees who become sick while traveling or on temporary assignment understand that they should notify their supervisor and should promptly call a healthcare provider for advice if needed.
Advise employees who are sick to stay home:
• Employees who have symptoms of acute respiratory illness are recommended to stay home and not come to work until they are free of fever.
• Employers should maintain flexible policies that permit employees to stay home to care for a sick family member. Employers should be aware that more employees may need to stay at home to care for sick children or other sick family members than is usual.
Separate sick employees:
• The CDC recommends that employees who appear to have acute respiratory illness symptoms (i.e. cough, shortness of breath) upon arrival to work or become sick during the day should be separated from other employees and be sent home immediately. Sick employees should cover their noses and mouths with a tissue when coughing or sneezing (or an elbow or shoulder if no tissue is available).
What is Coronavirus?
According to the CDC, Coronaviruses are a large family of viruses that are common in humans and many different species of animals, including camels, cattle, cats, and bats. Rarely, animal coronaviruses can infect people and then spread between people, such as with MERS-CoV and SARS-CoV. The virus that causes COVID-19 is spreading from person-to-person in China and some limited person-to-person transmission has been reported in countries outside China, including the United States. However, respiratory illnesses like seasonal influenza, are currently widespread in many US communities.