Creating a Safe Work Environment with the Risk of COVID-19

Creating a Safe Work Environment with the Risk of COVID-19

The U.S. has now surpassed every nation in the world in its total number of COVID-19 cases and, as we enter the cold winter months, infectious disease experts are predicting a continued surge in cases.

 

Fortunately, the medical community has reduced the COVID-19 death rate from earlier this year. Still, those who do become infected can potentially spend from 2 to 6 weeks recovering. And those who do recover may suffer from severe side effects that linger for many months after testing negative.

 

COVID-19 and the Workplace in Q4 2020

 

Even when infections are best-case-scenario, COVID-19 has and will continue to wreak havoc at home and at work. The only way to reduce its potential for disruption is with prevention. Workplaces that can function with a remote workforce need to continue on that plan, but those that can’t need to reup efforts. A new push for health screenings and safety protocols will reinvigorate preventative behavior among employees that have become less careful over time.

 

The following screening practices are allowed by the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) and can help workplaces remain COVID-19-free as long as possible.

 

  • Daily symptom questionnaires

Before allowing entry into the workplace, have each team member respond appropriately to a questionnaire about symptoms and recent activities (like travel, illnesses in their household, etc.). Be sure to work with your human resources team and local health department to ensure your questions remain within the EEOC and Department of Labor guidelines.

  • Temperature checks

Though not foolproof, as many active COVID-19 infections are asymptomatic, a coworker with a fever (100.4°F or higher, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention) may have a contagious infection (of COVID-19 or otherwise) and should be at home resting for recovery.

  • COVID-19 testing

Molecular or Antigen diagnostic tests are the only tests that can determine if someone has an active COVID-19 infection.

 

In addition to screenings, ongoing safety protocols for cleaning, personal hygiene, social distancing, and personal protective gear—like face masks—do a lot of heavy lifting when people are required to share space. To help leaders to stay on message about these protocols and encourage team members to stay on task applying them, it may be a good idea to revisit all of the steps toward workplace safety amid COVID-19 with the Resuming Business Toolkit by the CDC.

 

COVID-19 has affected workplaces around the world with organizational and procedural changes that have added new stressors to an already difficult time. Teams that have been reduced or that are in the midst of being rebuilt under new structures may benefit from outside help in recruiting, hiring, and security. Start a conversation with ClearStar about the workplace support we can provide to any industry.

 

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