If you’re a business considered “necessary,” you may be having to leave the doors open and have employees on premises while the world strives to cope with the global pandemic of the SARS-CoV-2 virus, which globally has led to hundreds of thousands of people ill with COVID-19. But how do you protect your employees and your customers, as well as the general public, during these trying times and going forward?

The Occupational Safety and Health Act recently published some guidelines to help businesses prepare their workplaces for an outbreak and protect the health and safety of workers. To reduce the impact of COVID-19 outbreak conditions on businesses, workers, customers, and the public, it’s important for all employers to plan now for COVID-19. OSHA recommends the following:

Develop a plan. If one does not already exist, develop an infectious disease preparedness and response plan that can help guide protective actions against COVID-19. Evaluate how vulnerable your organization is by establishing the age and health of your workers and how much contact they have with the public.

Keep it clean. OSHA recommends that companies promote frequent and thorough hand washing, including by providing workers, customers, and worksite visitors with a place to wash their hands. If soap and running water are not immediately available, provide alcohol-based hand rubs containing at least 60 percent alcohol. Also ensure employees understand how important it is to cover coughs and sneezes.

Stay home if sick. Make it easy for workers to stay home when they’re sick by offering them some financial hardship solutions such as paid sick time. Encourage employees to monitor their temperatures daily. A low-grade fever can be a first sign of COVID-19. Ensure employees know to report any symptoms of illness they or family members may be having.

Change work habits. Employers should explore whether they can establish policies and practices, such as flexible worksites (e.g., telecommuting) and flexible work hours (e.g., staggered shifts), to increase the physical distance among employees and between employees and others if state and local health authorities recommend the use of social distancing strategies.

Deep clean the office. Ensure all workspaces are getting regular cleaning and disinfecting of surfaces, equipment, and other elements of the work environment.

Consult with a Professional

A professional workplace health and safety organization can help you ensure your employees and others are prepared for emergencies such as a global pandemic. In addition to providing first aid supplies and protective equipment, SoCal First Aid/Respond Systems also offers on-site safety training, disaster preparedness training, and other services to businesses and other organizations.

We will work with you to train your employees on health and safety best practices and establish a preparedness plan. Contact us at 800-480-5855 or visit our Web site for more information.