Guidelines to prevent coronavirus in your workplace
The workplace is one of the places where we spend the most time a day and where we most come into contact with people, be they colleagues or clients. For this reason, and due to the rise of new coronavirus infections in countries around the world, including Spain, the World Health Organization (WHO) and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) have wanted to give Know some simple guidelines for action to avoid possible SARS-CoV-2 contagions in the workplace , in order to help prevent its spread among employees, customers, contractors or visitors.
The first thing to consider is how the virus spreads, and its way of spreading is through the small drops of the nose or mouth exhaled by infected people, especially by the saliva expelled in sneezing and attacks of cough, and although the coronavirus does not seem to have the capacity to endure very long on surfaces, special attention must be paid to hygiene, both of the workers and of the center or the workplace itself .
Workers must maintain good hand hygiene and the tools they use, in addition to avoiding trips to affected areas and encouraging videoconference meetings
When the first cases of coronavirus occurred, the WHO insisted that the best measure to prevent its spread was a good hand washing , something that is now reiterated. Regarding the use of surgical masks , they emphasize that they do not protect from infection and that they should not be worn by healthy people, but by those affected to prevent their fluids from reaching nearby objects and individuals. Still, the new guide to good practice in the workplace published by the Spanish Ministry of Health indicates that it is advisable for them to be taken by people who come to work by public transport. On the other hand, they recommend masks with filtering systems – such as PPF or N95 – for healthcare personnel who may be in contact with patients with COVID-19 , especially when performing certain techniques, such as intubation.
Steps to avoid contagion of coronavirus at work
If you are one of those workers who carry out their work in what are considered essential activities, and you must continue to go to your company despite the isolation and the restriction measures on travel, you will ask yourself, what can we do then as employees or entrepreneurs to avoid the spread of the coronavirus in our workplaces ? The WHO is clear, the key is to insist on good hygiene. These are some guidelines of labor performance to achieve it:
Surfaces such as tables, doorknobs, chairs, or light faucets should be kept clean and disinfected, as these are areas that are touched on a massive scale and can harbor the virus for hours. In addition, they recommend ventilating the rooms every day for a minimum of five minutes.
Phones, tablets, keyboards , mice … All these working tools can be shared, which increases the risk of contagion between people. Make sure your material is disinfected before coming into contact with it. To do this, it is helpful to provide disposable wipes so that employees can routinely clean commonly used surfaces.
Promote hand washing
As we have already said, washing your hands thoroughly for at least 20 seconds is the best way to avoid coronavirus, therefore, they recommend repeating this simple measure when they are visibly dirty or it is considered necessary. Making sure there is soap in company bathrooms or placing alcohol-based disinfectant gel dispensers (60% -95% alcohol) in visible areas are some measures that can improve hand sanitation for employees.
Companies must ensure that workers have access to tissue paper at their workplaces, as in the event of a cough or sneeze attack they will be able to follow the WHO’s instructions to place them as a barrier between their mouths and hands. Of course, it will be discarded right after use without coming in contact with any other object.
Information to employees
Providing guidelines for action to workers can help reduce the risk of contagion significantly. The company must send detailed information through the computer systems of the SARS-CoV-2 prevention councils, the symptoms that alert them to their presence and the protocol to follow if they have any of them. It is also convenient to hang posters by the facilities of the hygiene recommendations.
If you have a fever better stay home
Workers who have more than 37.8ºC of body temperature should stay at home and not go to their posts, as it is one of the symptoms of COVID-19 . If this is your case, you should not be alarmed, call the emergency telephone service if you get worse, you have other symptoms compatible with COVID-19, such as dry cough or dyspnea (sensation of shortness of breath) or if you have traveled to any of the areas with more cases (Italy, Spain, Singapore, Japan, Iran, China or South Korea) or you have been in contact with someone affected by coronavirus, and they will indicate the steps to take to carry out the necessary tests to confirm or rule out the disease.
Two meters away
Avoid approaching with people who are coughing or sneezing, as they can expel saliva or propelled nasal secretions, the WHO recommends keeping at least two meters apart. Efforts must be made to ensure that there are no crowds at the entrances and exits of companies, guaranteeing that these two meters of interpersonal distance between employees can be met.
Special care in travel
If your job requires you to travel and travel – and they are still allowed in your area of residence – you should pay special attention to all the hygiene recommendations and, in addition, inform yourself of the health situation in the area you are going to. to travel, since many borders are closed to foreigners or require sanitary isolation as a precaution
Temperature monitoring after a trip
If you have traveled to areas where there have been cases of coronavirus, it is best that in the following 14 days you keep a regular control of your body temperature and before a rise or the manifestation of symptoms call 061 or 112.
Encourage video calls
If you can do without the trips, the best thing is that you carry out the meeting by videoconference or video call, in this way there will be no risk of contagion. In some cases or companies that consider it appropriate, it may be useful to bet on telework .
In a case, isolation is best
If someone starts to show symptoms at work, the WHO recommends isolating the person in a room that is separated from the collective work area and minimizing the contact of the affected person with anyone. Subsequently, the health services will be notified so that they can carry out the pertinent diagnostic tests.
The Ministry of Labor has also published a guide with information so that companies and workers can face different situations in the face of the coronavirus , which includes the possibility of stopping production if there are health risks and other possible measures to be adopted by the company. In addition, the last guide indicates that the most vulnerable people should not resume work “by age, because they are pregnant or have medical conditions that, if necessary, can contact their doctor to prove their need for isolation and that, If this were the case, a situation assimilated to an accident at work for the economic benefit of temporary disability will be considered for labor purposes. ”
On the other hand, if you are in forced preventive isolation for having been in contact with an infected person or you have a positive diagnosis of coronavirus, resolve in this link all your doubts about who will bear the cost of your sick leave .