COVID-19 infection can spread rapidly among employees, and visitors in offices and other workplaces with shared spaces such as corridors, elevators, stairs, parking places, cafeteria, meeting rooms and, conference halls. Thus, to reduce the spread of infection, it is essential to avoid infection in workplace settings and to react quickly and effectively if a suspect case of COVID-19 is detected in these settings.
BASIC PREVENTIVE MEASURES
Simple preventive measures that should be followed by everyone to minimize the risk of infection with COVID-19 include:
- At all times, a physical distance of at least one meter must be maintained.
- Utilization of face covers/masks to be mandatory.
- Even if your hands aren't dirty, wash them often (for at least 40-60 seconds) or use alcohol-based hand sanitizers (for at least 20 seconds).
- Self-checking of wellbeing by all and reporting any ailment at the earliest.
- Respiratory etiquette must be practiced by everyone. This entails using a tissue, handkerchief, or flexed elbow to cover one's mouth and nose when coughing or sneezing, and properly discarding used tissues.
SPECIFIC COVID SAFE MEASURES TO BE FOLLOWED AT WORKPLACE
- Hand hygiene (sanitizer dispenser) and thermal screening should be placed at the entrance.
- Only asymptomatic employees and visitors should be permitted entry into the premises.
- Any employee living in a containment zone should notify the supervisory officer and refrain from reporting to work until the containment zone has been denotified. Such employees should be allowed to work from home.
- Employees who are at greater risk, such as the elderly, pregnant women, and others with existing medical problems, should be advised to take extra precautions. They should ideally avoid any front-line work that requires direct communication with the public.
- Both employees and visitors should be allowed in only if they wear face covers or masks. Inside the workplace, the face cover/mask must be worn at all times.
- Meetings should be held through video conferencing whenever possible.
- Stores, stalls, cafeterias/canteens, and other establishments inside the workplace must adhere to physical distancing guidelines at all times.
- Specific markings of adequate distance should be rendered to control the queue and maintain physical separation in the premises.
- Cleaning and sanitization of the workplace, especially of the frequently touched surfaces, must be ensured regularly (at least twice a day).
- Ensure that hand sanitizer, soap, and running water is always available in the restrooms.
- Face covers, masks, and gloves left behind by guests and/or staff must be properly disposed of in sealed bins.
- Large-scale physical gatherings should be forbidden.
ACTIONS TO BE TAKEN ON OCCURENCE OF CASES(S)
Despite the above precautions, it is impossible to rule out the possibility of cases among employees. When one or a few employees share a room/close office space are found to be suffering from symptoms indicative of COVID-19, the following actions should be taken:
- Request the sick employee to be seated in a room or area away from the rest of the office. Provide a mask or face cover before he or she is examined by a physician.
- Notify the closest medical facility (hospital/clinic) as soon as possible, and help the employee get access to a medical facility.
- Disinfect the workspace and surroundings of the employee.