The World Health Organization (WHO) is encouraging businesses to do their part in controlling the spread of the Coronavirus disease, also known as COVID-19. To help businesses protect their employees from the spread of the disease in the workplace and while traveling, the WHO released some simple and low-cost strategies to implement.
The downloadable document is below.
At the time of writing, I think most people are now aware of the Coronavirus. But as a recap, in January of 2020, the outbreak of Coronavirus was declared by the WHO. The new disease spread from its origin in Hubei Province, China, and has become an international concern with more than 90k cases across the globe.
COVID-19 spreads in a similar way to the flu. Workers are at risk of catching the virus when they touch contaminated surfaces or objects – and then touch their eyes, nose or mouth. Workers standing within one meter of a person with COVID-19 can also catch it by breathing in droplets coughed out or exhaled by them.
In a five-page guide, the WHO has released the following strategies to reduce the spread of COVID-19.
The low-cost measures below will help prevent the spread of infections in your workplace, such as colds, flu, and stomach bugs, and protect your customers, contractors and employees.
Surfaces (e.g. desks and tables) and objects (e.g. telephones, keyboards) need to be wiped with disinfectant regularly. Contamination on surfaces touched by employees and customers is one of the main ways that COVID-19 spreads.
Put sanitizing hand rub dispensers in prominent places around the workplace and brief your workers as to the importance of using them. Make sure these dispensers are regularly refilled. Display posters promoting hand-washing – ask your local public health authority for these or look at the WHO website.
Washing and sanitizing kills the virus on your hands and prevents the spread of COVID19.
Good respiratory hygiene prevents the spread of COVID-19. Ensure that face masks and/or paper tissues are available at your workplaces, for those who develop a runny nose or cough at work, along with closed bins for hygienically disposing of them.
Businesses are also being encouraged to send workers home if any symptoms develop and to telecall where possible.
“Brief your employees, contractors, and customers that if COVID-19 starts spreading in your community anyone with even a mild cough or low-grade fever (37.3 C or more) needs to stay at home,” the report states.
“They should also stay home (or work from home) if they have had to take simple medications, such as paracetamol/acetaminophen, ibuprofen or aspirin, which may mask symptoms of infection.”
The WHO also goes on to encourage businesses to develop a contingency and business continuity plan for an outbreak in the communities where the business operates.
“Employers should start doing these things now, even if COVID-19 has not arrived in the communities where they operate. They can already reduce working days lost due to illness and stop or slow the spread of COVID-19 if it arrives at one of your workplaces.”