GETTING YOUR WORKPLACE READY FOR COVID-19

Now is the time to prepare for COVID-19. Simple precautions and planning can make a big difference. Action now will help protect your employees and your business.

Simple ways to prevent the spread of COVID-19 in your workplace

  • 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 regularly
  • 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. Make sure that staff, contractors, and customers have access to places where they can wash their hands with soap and water
  • Promote good respiratory hygiene in the workplace Display posters promoting respiratory hygiene. Combine this with other communication measures such as guidance from occupational health and safety officers, briefing at meetings, and information on the intranet, etc. Also ensure that face masks or paper tissues are available at your workplaces
  • 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. Display posters with this message in your workplaces. Combine this with other communication channels commonly used in your organization or business

 

How to manage COVID-19 risk when organizing meetings and events?

BEFORE the meeting or eventOrganizers of meetings and events need to think about the potential risk from COVID-19 because:

  • Check the advice from the authorities in the community where you plan to hold the meeting or event. Follow their advice
  • Develop and agree a preparedness plan to prevent infection at your meeting or event. Consider whether a face-to-face meeting or event is needed. Could it be replaced by a teleconference or online event?
    Verify information and communication channels in advance with key partners such as public health and health care authorities. Pre-order sufficient supplies and materials, including tissues and hand sanitizer for all participants. Have surgical masks available to offer anyone who develops respiratory symptoms
  • Develop and agree a response plan in case someone at the meeting becomes ill with symptoms of COVID-19 (dry cough, fever, malaise). This plan should include at least: Identify a room or area where someone who is feeling unwell or has symptoms can be safely isolated. Know what to do if a meeting participant, staff member, or service provider tests positive for COVID-19 during or just after the meeting. Agree the plan in advance with your partner health care provider or health department.

    DURING the meeting or event

  • Provide information or a briefing, preferably both orally and in writing, on COVID-19 and the measures that organizers are taking to make this event safe for participants
  • Display dispensers of alcohol-based hand rub prominently around the venue
  • If there is space, arrange seats so that participants are at least 1 meter apart.
  • Open windows and doors whenever possible to make sure the venue is well ventilated.
  • If anyone who starts to feel unwell, follow your preparedness plan or call your hotline. Depending on the situation in your area, or recent travel of the participant, place the person in the isolation room. Offer the person a mask so they can get home safely, if appropriate, or to a designated assessment facility.

    AFTER the meeting

  • Retain the names and contact details of all participants for at least one month. This will help public health authorities trace people who may have been exposed to COVID-19 if one or more participants become ill shortly after the event.
  • If someone at the meeting or event was isolated as a suspected COVID-19 case, the organizer should inform participants. They should be advised to monitor themselves for symptoms for 14 days and take their temperature twice a day.
  • If they develop even a mild cough or low-grade fever (i.e. a temperature of 37.3 C or more) they should stay at home and self-isolate. This means avoiding close contact (less than 1 meter) with other people, including family members. They should also call their health care provider or the local public health department, giving them details of their recent travel and symptoms.

 

Things to consider when you and your employees travel

  • Develop a plan for what to do if someone becomes ill with suspected COVID-19 at one of your workplaces. The plan should cover putting the ill person in a room or area where they are isolated from others in the workplace, limiting the number of people who have contact with the sick person, and contacting the local health authorities. Consider how to identify persons who may be at risk, and support them, without inviting stigma and discrimination. This could include persons who have recently travelled to an area reporting cases, or other personnel who have conditions that put them at higher risk of serious illness (e.g. diabetes, heart and lung disease, older age).
  • Promote regular teleworking across your organization. If there is an outbreak of COVID-19 in your community the health authorities may advise people to avoid public transport and crowded places. Teleworking will help your business keep operating while your employees stay safe.
  • Develop a contingency and business continuity plan for an outbreak in the communities where your business operates
  • For small and medium-sized businesses without in-house staff health and welfare support, develop partnerships and plans with your local health and social service providers in advance of any emergency

Source ©World Health Organization

To know more about the Coronavirus, please visit the World Health Organization

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