The Covid-19 pandemic and the associated health and safety measures to contain its spread have forced businesses to make some sudden and challenging changes. Many of them had to quickly adjust their safety measures and internal policies to reflect new government mandates.
Companies that don't comply with these mandates risk being fined as high as $100,000 for individual directors, while corporations can be fined up to $650,000 and receive imprisonment of up to one year. To prevent or limit the spread of COVID-19 in your workplace, consider the following risk mitigation measures:
1. Discourage Personnel Who Are Ill From Coming to Workplace
- Require that all personnel with COVID-19 symptoms stay at home until criteria to end isolation is met;
- Adjust sick and personal leave policies to enable personnel to stay home when ill;
- Post signs to discourage anyone with symptoms from entering the workplace;
- Avoid meeting with clients who have symptoms.
2. Promote Personal Preventive Practices
- Inform your personnel about public health advice applicable to your workplace;
- Facilitate the use of personal practices such as frequent hand washing, avoiding touching the face, respiratory etiquette, and frequent cleaning and disinfecting of work surfaces;
- Post signs to remind personnel and clients to practice these measures;
- Provide easy access to hand hygiene facilities, such as placing as many hand sanitizer dispensers as possible, ensuring that personnel/clients with disabilities can access them too;
- Support and encourage your personnel to take care of their mental health.
3. Promote Physical Distancing
Since physical distancing is one of the most effective ways of reducing the spread of the virus, make sure to promote it with these steps:
- Reduce physical contact by enabling work from home;
- Develop a contactless business model;
- Establish two-meter separation between personnel;
- Use video conferencing;
- Reduce the number of people in indoor spaces;
- Use signs and floor markings to encourage two-meter distance;
- Reinforce general practices for physical distancing, like avoiding handshakes;
- Choose an area where personnel can be isolated if they develop symptoms and cannot leave the workplace.
4. Create Physical Barriers
Install physical barriers between personnel and/or clients, such as plexiglass windows or cubicles.
5. Increase Ventilation
- If weather permits, keep the windows open;
- If possible, move work outside.
6. Mitigate Risks from Exposure to Frequently Touched Surfaces
- Increase the frequency of workplace cleaning and disinfecting, especially of equipment or high-touch surfaces;
- Reduce the number of high-touch surfaces;
- Enforce cleaning and disinfecting of essential shared equipment before and after use;
- Provide contactless payment methods.
7. Reduce How Long Personnel and Clients are in Contact With Each Other
- If possible, modify service delivery, such as reducing the number of clients using your services at the same time;
- Restrict access or close non-essential common areas;
- Postpone non-essential travel.
8. Encourage Wearing of Safe Masks and PPE
- Wearing masks and cloth face coverings can help to prevent the spread of infectious droplets of an (unknowingly) infected employee from coming into contact with other personnel, if possible;
- If recommended, personnel should wear personal protective equipment.
The health and safety of your workers should be your top concern during (and after) the COVID-19 outbreak. If you want to make sure your business stays open and avoid fines, you can do that with your own inspection program using The Checker software and create custom checklists that guide sanitization specifically for your workplace.