How to Make Your Workplace COVID Safe?

On 11th March 2020, World Health Organisation (WHO) declared the novel coronavirus COVID-19 outbreak as a pandemic, plaguing millions of lives from all industries across the globe. Since its emergence, COVID-19 has drastically changed the way we live and work. As the virus spreads, it poses serious threats to everyone’s health and safety, thus putting great pressure on business owners looking to reopen in providing a COVID safe workplace.
While many companies are operating remotely at home, some businesses are left with limited options but to create workarounds during these trying times. Restaurants, grocery stores, and other essential businesses continue to operate and provide services to champion convenience and better our lives while we follow government-mandated measures.
Ensuring a COVID safe workplace is not only the responsibility of the employers’, but workers as well. With the impact of COVID-19, many people face the new challenge of keeping themselves and their workplace safe.

Employers: what can I do?

Keeping everyone safe from COVID-19 is a priority for business owners. More and more companies believe that the best way to combat the spread of coronavirus is to ensure the workplace remains sanitized and clean at all time.
The major role of the employer is to take reasonable steps to ensure compliance with obligations to keep their employees safe from the spread of the virus.
As an employer, you can keep your workplace safe by:

Developing a contingency and business continuity plan.

You should begin by identifying the risks that could affect your worker’s safety. You should create a plan devised to prevent workers and customers from contracting or coming into contact with COVID-19. This plan can help you prepare for and address a range of concerns that your employees and customers will have. Work-from-home arrangements may be possible to minimise the people in your office. If this isn’t an option, maintain a safe distance of at least 1.5m at all times.

Improving health and safety practices

Stopping the spread of the virus is achieved through physical distancing, routine cleaning and hand washing. You need to set guidelines on physical distancing. Maintain at least 1.5m distance between people, workers, customers or members of the public. Make sure your workplaces are clean and hygienic. Common areas, high-touch surfaces, and objects must be wiped with disinfectant regularly. When social distancing is coupled with excellent workplace hygiene, the spread of the virus can be slowed.

Ensuring adequate social protection

This is definitely a hard time for most businesses. SMEs are closing as a result of the economic impact of the pandemic. One way of keeping you and your workers COVID safe is to reassure them that they will have a job waiting for them if they take time off as a result of flu-like symptoms.
Everyone in the workplace needs to understand that even the mildest symptoms, like a scratchy throat or slight fever means “stay at home and get tested”. This message needs to be stressed as strongly as possible. If not, your workers will most likely continue to report back to the workplace and will likely spread the virus.
Uncertain times can cause fear and panic in a lot of people. That is why, as an employer, you need to consider the mental and emotional health of your workers. Allow them to socialise without being physically close to one another.

Implementing personnel policies and keeping records

Keep records of people going in and out of the workplace. Everyone needs to stay alert and be vigilant with their colleagues’ health status.

Workers: Your Responsibility

COVID-19 pandemic makes job security a major concern among employees worldwide. During this pandemic, a great number of workers have and are likely going to lose their jobs.
Your responsibility as a worker doesn’t end when you leave the workplace during this global crisis. Be accountable and practice these things to keep yourself, your family, friends and workplace COVID safe:

Practice personal hygiene

You’ve heard this a million times already, but it bears repeating. Frequent and thorough handwashing is important to fight against contagious diseases and viruses.
A minimum of 20 seconds with plenty of soap or detergent and water is necessary to get rid of the droplets that may contain the virus.
If washing your hand with soap and water is not possible, use alcohol-based hand sanitizers to disinfect your hands. Avoid touching your face, nose, eyes or mouth – the surfaces that COVID-19 infects.
Promote good respiratory hygiene. When you sneeze or cough, use a tissue to fully cover your mouth or nose and then place it in the bin and wash your hands.

What does good infection control look like in the workplace?

It is important to stay updated with the current policies and guidelines to have a COVID safe workplace. Well-planned contingency and infection control in the workplace should highlight:

  • Flexible working arrangements for employees;
  • Clear and strict physical distancing measures;
  • Availability of handwashing stations and hand sanitizers;
  • Vigilance and alertness of symptoms (fever, cough, sore throat and shortness of breath);
  • Regularly cleaned and disinfected workspaces and;
  • Presence of signs and posters to remind workers about COVID-19 precautionary measures.

You can confidently help your staff navigate the challenges of this global public health emergency by using these guidelines. Consider gaining ISO 45001:2015 certification and put the safety of your employees and others first with the help of ISO Brisbane, the leading ISO certification consultants in Queensland. We help you manage your workplace risks.
Should you have any questions or concerns about your workplace’s safety, talk to us today at 0428 660 383.