10 Steps your Company Can Take to Mitigate COVID-19 Exposure
- Communicate accurate and up-to-date information to your employees about the transmission and symptoms of the coronavirus. According to the CDC, the virus is thought to spread mainly from person-to-person who are in close contact with one another (within about 6 feet). The virus generally is contained in the respiratory droplets produced when an infected person coughs or sneezes. These droplets can land in the mouths or noses of people who are nearby or possibly be inhaled into the lungs.
It may be possible for a person to get COVID-19 by touching a surface or object that has the virus on it and then touching their own mouth, nose, or possibly their eyes, but the CDC has indicated that this is not thought to be the main way the virus spreads. Because new information is being discovered about the spread and incubation time of the disease, check regularly with the CDC for accurate and up-to-date information on its CDC’s coronavirus website.
Symptoms for the coronavirus can be similar to the flu and include fever, cough, and shortness of breath and can appear from two to 14 days after exposure to the virus. Currently, there is no drug treatment or vaccine for the coronavirus.
- Have a plan to address potential COVID-19 outbreaks in your company. Review your leave, paid time off, compensation, and attendance policies to determine how they will be implemented in the event of a major coronavirus outbreak. Also identify jobs that can be performed from employees’ homes and how your business will operate if short-staffed.
- Train employees on steps they can take to prevent the spread of infections. Emphasize the importance of limiting the spread of disease through proper hand washing, coughing into tissues, disposing of used tissues, and avoiding touching eyes, nose, and mouth.
NOTE: The CDC does not recommend that people who are well wear a facemask to protect themselves from respiratory illnesses, including COVID-19. Instead, the CDC recommends the use of a facemask only if a healthcare professional recommends it. A facemask should be used by people who have COVID-19 and are showing symptoms.
- Provide a work environment that promotes personal hygiene. For example, provide tissues, hand soap, hand sanitizer, disinfectants, and disposable disinfecting towels for workers to clean their work surfaces.
- Regularly clean work spaces and surfaces. Bathrooms and break areas are places that should be scrubbed, but do not forget to clean phones, computer keyboards, desk tops, and doorknobs. Encourage employees to wipe down their personal workplaces at the end of each day.
- Limit business travel and encourage employees to avoid personal travel until the outbreak is contained. The CDC provides information on travel to countries affected by COVID-19.
- Ask employees to stay home if they have coronavirus symptoms and send employees home who become ill at work, regardless of whether you think it is coronavirus, the flu, or simply a bad cold. Encourage them to seek medical treatment and self-quarantine if they think this is COVID-19.
- Keep medical information related to employees who have the coronavirus confidential. Remember, both the ADA and FMLA require you to keep medical information about employees confidential, including information about the coronavirus.
- Provide time off for employees with sick children or other family members they must care for who have, or are suspected of having COVID-19. As with their own illnesses, allow the use of paid leave if available and do not penalize employees who take the time off for this reason.
- Keep up-to-date with the latest information on the COVID-19 from the CDC and local health authorities. Monitor outbreaks in your community and check the CDC’s coronavirus website on a regular basis for new recommendations for responding to any outbreak.
You can access a list of effective cleaners/disinfectants to help limit the spread of the virus along with the Safety Data Sheet for each product on KHA’s COVID-19 Resources page.