On the Job: Safety During the Coronavirus

March 14, 2020 in Safety and Inspections

On the Job: Safety During the Coronavirus

Everyone is talking about Coronavirus.

It’s inescapable on the news. 

The NBA, NHL, MLB, and March Madness are all postponed or canceled. 

The virus does not discriminate who can become infected. 

We hear more and more about elbow bumping, social distancing, self-quarantining, and washing our hands to combat the spread. 

Many companies are shifting to a work from home model to prevent the spread amongst their staff. Unfortunately, that model doesn’t work for operations that require ‘hands-on’ work to happen. We need our unsung heroes to keep the world around us operating so that our healthcare workers can do their best work. We need the lights to turn on, clean water to flow, and supply chains to continue moving to give our society the best chance to pull through. 

In this blog, we want to provide and breakdown best practices for staying healthy at work from official sources. MaintainX is here to help teams reduce the number of people who need to be physically on-site by providing exceptional communication and coordination tools to operational teams.

Reminder! Practicing good workplace hygiene is a good habit to build or reinforce with or without a worldwide outbreak happening.

This information comes directly from the two federal government agencies leading the charge – Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA). 

OSHA’s Guidance on Preparing Workplaces for COVID-19 contains many useful definitions and guidelines for workspaces. The CDC is updating a running list of recommendations as well. Your state and local governments will have pertinent information about where you live and work.

Both the CDC and OSHA recommend three practices to help keep yourself virus-free. 

1. Wash your hands often, for 30 seconds. Check out the CDC guidelines for handwashing.  

Washing hands

2. Avoid close contact with other people (the CDC defines “close contact” as within approximately 6 feet of another person). Another term, similar to avoid close contact, is “social distancing,” which means creating physical distance from others during social interactions—the reason why schools are closing, and sports events and concerts have been canceled. OSHA recommends social distancing as a means to reduce the “frequency, proximity, and duration of contact” between people (both employees and customers) to reduce the chances of spreading the virus.

3. Routinely clean and disinfect all objects and surfaces, including workstations, machine controls, countertops, and doorknobs. Check out the CDC Environmental Cleaning and Disinfection Recommendations. Also, refer to this list from the American Chemistry Council’s (ACC) Center for Biocide Chemistries (CBC) of products pre-approved for use against COVID-19. 

Disinfecting with cleaning agents

Additional infection control practices include:

  • Providing employees, customers, and the public with easily accessible tissues and trash receptacles.
  • Avoiding using other workers’ phones, desks, offices, and other work tools and equipment. Remember here that gloves can carry the virus also.
  • Maintaining regular housekeeping practices, including cleaning and disinfecting surfaces and objects. 
  • Providing face masks, if available, to co-workers who present with symptoms, or to help them practice “respiratory hygiene” when coughing or sneezing. Plan for contingency plans so you can send sick workers home. 
  • Restricting the number of workers in close contact with customers or co-workers.

Also, it’s vital that if co-workers are sick, but at work, or if you have customers who are ill, but in your workspace, you need to take precautions. After any contact or being in proximity to someone who is sick, sneezing, coughing, wash your hands and clean and disinfect surfaces.

Information and guidelines about COVID-19 are changing hourly. If you haven’t already, check out The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and OSHA for the most up-to-date information available.

Please stay safe out there and be kind to one another.

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