Millions of businesses throughout the country and around the world have been closed to help reduce the risk of spreading the COVID-19 virus. Millions of others, however, are considered essential and have to stay open during this time. Business owners and managers in companies that are still open need to be extraordinarily cautious during this time to reduce the transmission of this virus between employees, or between employees and customers.
How to Reduce the Risk of COVID-19 Transmission
For companies that are able to stay open during this time there are a number of actions that can be taken to help reduce the risk of transmitting the virus. OSHA recommended COVID-19 precautions should always be followed, and employers need to make sure they are staying up to date with the latest CDC recommendations. On a practical level, the following are some actions that employers should implement immediately to protect their employees and customers:
- Work from Home – When possible, employees should be allowed (or required) to work from home. This is the most effective way to eliminate the risk of the transmission of COVID-19 between employees.
- Spread Out Workspaces – When employees must come into the workplace, their workstations should be spread out as much as possible (6 feet apart at a minimum). Relocating desks, implementing social distancing rules, and other policies to keep employees apart is critical.
- Install Hand Sanitizing Stations – Installing hand sanitizing stations throughout the workplace, and keeping them full of anti-viral hand wash, is important. Encourage employees to sanitize their hands frequently throughout the day, and especially after they cough, sneeze, or touch something that may be infected.
- Frequent Disinfecting of Common Touch Points – Disinfecting common touch points like doorknobs, light switches, keyboards, and more will be very helpful.
- Encourage Appropriate Use of Sick Time – Make sure employees know that if they show any signs of COVID-19, they are required to stay home and self-isolate. No doctor’s note should be required. Where possible, a more generous sick time policy is appropriate.
- Staggering Shifts – Staggering shifts so fewer people are working in an area at any given time is often a good option.
- How can employers best protect employees from exposure in the workplace?
- What are social distancing requirements?
- What are some basic protective measures against the new coronavirus?
- What can I tell my employees about reducing the spread of COVID-19 at work?
- Aside from cleaning, what can workplaces do to slow the spread of COVID-19?
- How can social distancing be practiced for small businesses?
- When should employees or visitors be excluded from the workplace?
- What policies can employers implement to enforce social distancing?