Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, going to work and reopening businesses are the new challenges that we are facing. We have listed some safety guidelines to be followed in the workplace.
The SARS-CoV-2 virus caused the respiratory disease COVID-19 (coronavirus disease) globally. It affected the normal life of common people as the pandemic resulted in an increased death rate throughout the world. The normal routine life was affected, including:
Food (most essential).
Thinking of the routes of transmission, sources of exposure, and exposure risks of COVID-19, a proper safety plan is needed to reduce the impact on the public, business, customers, employers, and workers. Employers should prepare their workers regarding the safety protocols in the workplace to avoid further worsening outbreak conditions. OSHA (Occupational Safety and Health Administration) developed COVID-19 safety guidelines in the workplace, which is used for planning purposes similar to the influenza pandemic guidelines to reduce the spread of the virus. To identify appropriate control measures and the risks in the workplace, the workers should follow the OSHA planning guidance. Whenever there is new information regarding the virus transmission and risks, additional updates will be provided along with the existing guidelines. Thus the safety protocols of OSHA help to reopen the offices and new businesses.
The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) has divided job tasks into four risk exposure levels. They are-
1) Very High Exposure Risk Jobs:
a. Very high exposure risk jobs are healthcare workers or those working with COVID-19 patients.
b. Laboratory healthcare personnel collect the samples of suspected or known COVID-19 patients for culturing procedures.
c. Morgue workers perform autopsies on the known and suspected people to have COVID-19 at the time of their death. Healthcare workers with very high exposure risk include the following-
Emergency medical technicians.
2) High Exposure Risk Jobs:
a. Healthcare delivery and support staff such as doctors, nurses, and other hospital staff are at high exposure risk because they have to enter patient's rooms, exposing themselves to known or suspected COVID-19 cases.
b. Medical transport workers are ambulance vehicle operators who will move known or suspected COVID-19 patients in closed vehicles.
c. Mortuary workers are involved in preparing the burial or cremation of the known or suspected bodies of COVID-19 patients.
3) Medium Exposure Risk Jobs:
They require frequent or close contact (within six feet) with virus-infected people, but they do not know they are suspected COVID-19 cases. Employees of this group have frequent contact with travelers who return from international locations. Employees may have contact with the general public such as,
High-population-density work environments.
High-volume retail settings.
4) Lower Exposure Risk Jobs:
They do not require contact with people who are known or suspected of COVID-19, and they also do not get close contact within 6 feet with the general public. Workers under this category have minimal contact with the public and with other coworkers.
1) Skipping of Work:
Employers and employees can have frequent skipping of work because of the fear of possible exposure for the following reasons.
The employers, workers, and employees can be absent due to any illness.
They will not be present in the workplace if their family members are sick.
If the schools or daycare centers are closed, the caregivers of some children will not go to the workplace. Caregivers are health professionals, family members, friends, and social workers.
Having high-risked family members at home, such as immunocompromised individuals, will not appear to work.
2) Change in Business Patterns:
The customer during the COVID-19 outbreak will highly demand only the items of infection control, such as sanitizers, masks, face shields, so the interest in buying other goods will decline. There will be a change in the shopping pattern due to the COVID-19 pandemic to reduce the risk of exposure. To reduce the person-to-person contact, customers will start to purchase,
On the off-peak hours.
Increased interest in-home delivery services.
3) Shipment From Various Places:
Delivering the customer's order has been delayed due to the pandemic situation, or some items are currently interrupted from different geographic areas. COVID-19 has affected the shipments, which may be delayed or canceled with or without prior information.
COVID-19 is controlled by putting more distance between people. Following social distancing is the new change, and it should be practiced in the office by having:
Larger spaces between each cabin.
Fewer people in the meetings.
Six feet distance.
Social distancing policies at the workplace are:
1. Flexible work shifts are appreciated, and also plan for remote work and telework. Meetings and workstations should have the best technology for remote collaboration. Only allow,
Very few people are in the office.
Reduce on-site meetings.
Do not allow visitors unless absolutely needed.
2. Scheduling works to have a minimal number of employers in a space at one time. We can execute daily shifts or segregate staff to work remotely for one week and come to the office the next week. Make sure all the areas are disinfected between shifts.
3. Also, the workspace should be set up with more distance between employees. Plastic dividers, physical barriers, floor decals, and six-foot-spaced desks guide the workers to walk and maintain physical distance. Do not share any types of equipment in the workplace.
4. Have a lower capacity entrance for common areas. We can also automate these processes by occupancy management systems, which help count the number of entities present and notify us when the number falls.
5. Offering remote or digital services minimizes the physical contact when compared to take-out- the service at doorsteps.
1) Ensure that the workplaces are clean and hygienic. For example, surfaces like desks and tables, objects like telephones and keyboards should be disinfected on a daily basis.
2) Employees, employers, and customers should follow regular hand-washing.
3) Place the sanitizing hand rub dispensers in important places around the workplace, and they are to be refilled regularly.
4) Encourage proper respiratory hygiene in the workplace.
5) Make sure surgical masks and tissue papers are available in the workplace for people with runny nose and cough and ensure that they are disposed of hygienically.
6) Do not have unnecessary travels both locally and internationally.
7) In the event of unavoidable travel to locations reporting COVID-19, follow the below:
Check whether the organization and its employees have information on COVID-19 reporting cases.
Always ensure the travel instructions and share them with the employees.
All the traveling persons should ensure a health care professional or staff health services when you feel ill while traveling.
Older employees, diabetic persons, heart and lung diseased individuals are at higher risk of the disease, and they should avoid long travels.
Regularly wash hands and stay at a one-meter distance from people who are coughing and sneezing.
The employees should make sure of the instructions where they are traveling from the local authorities.
Once returned, the employees should quarantine themselves for 14 days and check the temperature twice a day.
If diagnosed with a mild cough or low-grade fever of 37.3 degrees Celsius, they should self-isolate, report to the nearest health care center and inform the workplace. Also, avoid close contact of one meter to other people and family members.
Considering the major role of safety guidelines, we should follow COVID-19 protocols such as social distance of one meter, maintaining six feet distance at the workplace, having a double mask, frequent washing of hands, and avoiding frequent contact with eyes and face. Having the information that the novel coronavirus can stay back viable for hours and days, we should follow these above workplace strategies to reopen the businesses.
Last reviewed at:
02 Jun 2021 - 5 min read
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