Six Measures to Mitigate Infection Risks
With a Shelter-in-place issued for the entire state of CA, most businesses have temporarily shut down. Only essential businesses are allowed to continue running during the next three weeks.
Many workers at these essential businesses are experiencing a myriad of emotions, ranging from fear for their well-being to uncertainty of the future. What’s most important to any businesses running at this time is how they can continue running business as usual without compromising the health and safety of their team. Here are six measures that managers of essential businesses should consider implementing during this critical time to help mitigate infection risks to their employees and customers.
1. Minimize risk. Enforce a WFH (work from home) policy on all jobs that can be done remotely. All meetings should be virtual. Redesign all roles to maintain a safe distance of at least six feet away from each other. All personnel should avoid direct contact with each other through means such as early exit and early arrivals. Ensure that any role critical to operations has a safe, isolated space to work in.
2. Avoid direct person-to-person contact. Even if your business is customer facing centric, you should still take action to enable social distancing. Consider automated processes and electronic alternatives. By taking the time to convert physical forms to pdfs that can be filled out at home or through a tablet that can be wiped down, you reduce chances of infection. Make sure your employees are wearing N-95 masks and gloves when directly interacting with customers.
3. Be detail-oriented. Make sure every nook and cranny has been sprayed down and wiped with the proper disinfectants. Be especially mindful of high-traffic areas. Double clean if you have to. After an area has been disinfected, all employees must remove their gloves inside-out, properly dispose of them, and wash their hands.
4. Incorporate OSHA bloodborne pathogens standard into your cleaning plan. The Occupational Safety and Health Administration has guidelines on how to best protect your workers against occupational exposure to infectious diseases.
5. Follow a checklist. Some tasks may seem tedious and repetitive with new guidelines, but they are vital in helping maintain a safe work environment. Make sure your best cleaning practices are reiterated and reinforced.
6. Draw up a contingency plan. Your employees can follow every cleaning guideline and adhere to every rule, but there will always be external factors. In the event where there is an infection amongst your staff, be sure to properly clean down any areas they’ve been in contact with and alert anyone who has had possible contact with them. Make sure you have protocols on what to do if you’re overwhelmed and understaffed. Prepare for the worst, but hope for the best.
Given how the situation changes day to day, we all need to do our part. By taking the steps to help protect your team and customers, you can help flatten out the curve.