Your employees are the life and blood of your business. It is your responsibility as their employer to ensure that they are safe in your workplace. When your workers believe that they have a safe and healthy workplace, they will have peace of mind and will be more productive.
You must employ control measures to ensure the safety of everyone and the continuity of your business. Here’s how to keep your workplace safe:
Install Hand Sanitizer Dispensers
Handwashing is one of the best defenses against viruses. When handwashing is not possible, the next best thing is hand sanitizers with 70% alcohol content. Place hand sanitizer dispensers in strategic and high traffic areas to encourage your employees always to clean their hands.
Hand sanitizer dispensers should be visible and easily accessible. Place them near high touch surfaces and communal areas, such as the following:
- Entrance and Exits
- Cafeterias and Pantry Rooms
- Meeting Rooms
- Printer/Copier Stations
Use Appropriate PPE
Require your employees to wear face masks when they enter the office premises. Face masks can curb the rate of infection and reduce the risk of viral transmission within your workplace. To encourage your employees to wear a face mask at work, you can provide for their PPE. Make sure to check with the CDC’s guidelines on what PPE is appropriate for your line of business.
Once the policy for the required PPE is in place, make sure that disposable PPE’s are disposed of correctly and that the reusable ones are cleaned and laundered.
Practice Safe Physical Distancing
Enforcing safe physical distancing between your workforce can help reduce risks of contamination and transmission. Safe physical distancing means maintaining at least 6 feet of distance between your employees. Rearrange the office desks and the seatings in the break areas if needed. Install plexiglass as boundaries of workstations.
If there are workers who are sick, encourage them to stay at home. Establish flexible work hours, staggered work shifts, or alternate workdays if possible. If meetings can be done online, have them online. Limit physical interactions as much as possible.
The virus can live on surfaces for days. Ensure the safety of your workplace by cleaning and disinfecting surfaces regularly. When you clean with soap or detergent and water, you remove dirt, grime, and germs. When you disinfect the surfaces that were cleaned, you kill the germs on the surface, further lowering the risk of infection.
Use only EPA-approved disinfectants and be sure to follow cleaning instructions. If EPA- approved disinfectants are out of stock, you can follow CDC’s suggested alternative cleaning mixture of 1/3 cup of bleach and 1 gallon of water. Just remember never to mix bleach with other cleaning agents.
Disinfect high touch surfaces which include but are not limited to the following:
- Tables and desks
- Light switches
- Faucets and sinks
- Touch screens
For soft surfaces such as rugs, carpets, and drapes, launder them at least once a week.
Keep Indoor Air Quality Clean
Poor indoor air quality can contribute to the development of respiratory diseases. Bacteria and viruses can be transmitted through the air that you breathe. When someone coughs or sneezes, expelled droplets can travel through the air. These droplets can end up on surfaces. Inhaling infected droplets can also spread coughs, colds, influenza, or worse, COVID-19.
Poor air circulation can promote the spread of viruses and bacteria. Ensuring proper ventilation can help reduce bacteria and viruses in the indoor air that you breathe. If your business is in Omaha, you can hire a professional duct cleaning service to ensure good air quality. Good air quality also reduces risks of allergies by eliminating molds and dust mites.
Close Off Areas Used By A Sick Employee
If one of your employees becomes sick and is suspected of being infected, seal off his workstation and other areas he might have used. Open the doors and windows to allow air to circulate. You do not need to suspend your operations. After at least a day of sealing off the area, clean and disinfect every surface the infected person might have touched. This includes his desk, shared electronics, and common areas like the restroom and the pantry. Workers who did not have any close contact with the sick employee can return to work immediately.
Your business does not need to stop operating because of the pandemic. However, ensure that proper safety and health measures are in place to protect your workforce. As an employer, you will play a key role in protecting your employees. Proper planning can help you to protect the health of your employees and to lessen the impact on your business.