by Chrissy Roshak
April 15, 2020
The coronavirus pandemic has affected the way nearly all of us work. Many people are out of work, some are working from home, and others are out on the front lines working essential jobs to keep our communities going. We thank those of you out there performing essential work. (For those of you currently out of work, hang in there. We’ll be here to help you get back to work as soon as it is safe to do so).
To help you out, we have put together a few practical safety tips to help you stay healthy on the job.
Sanitize your work area
The CDC recommends cleaning and disinfecting high touch areas daily to kill germs. Your workplace likely already has a cleaning and sanitizing policy and schedule in place. But you should check with your supervisor if you are unsure. You can also set aside some time at the beginning of your workday to wipe down your own area. Focus on the items you touch and use the most and any items you share with other workers. Don’t forget about doorknobs, telephones, and light switches.
Cover your mouth and nose
The CDC now recommends wearing a mask or face covering when you leave home. You should plan to wear one to work. They warn against using masks intended for medical professionals since those are already in short supply. Masks for general use are also nearly impossible to find if you don’t already them. Fortunately, the CDC has also included instructions for DIY face coverings that can be made from materials you probably already have at home.
Try not to touch your eyes, nose, or mouth when removing your face covering, and wash your hands after handling it. The CDC recommends washing your reusable cloth face covering with your laundry.
Maintain Social Distancing
Masks do not replace social distancing. You should still limit your interactions with other people to prevent the spread of coronavirus. Try to maintain at least 6 feet of space between you and your co-workers. When possible try to accomplish tasks by phone, text, or e-mail instead of in person interactions with supervisors and other workers. Check with your supervisor to see if meetings can be done over a video chat app instead of in person.
Wash Your Hands
Handwashing is still the best way to protect your health. Wash frequently with soap for at least 20 seconds. Think about your routine at work and come up with times that would make sense to take a quick break to wash your hands. The CDC has put together some handwashing tips along with a list of key times to wash your hands. Use their list to help you come up with a plan. For spaces where getting to a sink won’t be possible, plan to use hand sanitizer.
Stay home if you feel sick
If you feel sick, stay home. It is important to prevent the spread of coronavirus and protect people at high risk for complications. Also keep in mind that your co-workers may be living with people who are high risk. Exposing your co-workers to your illness also exposes everyone they live with.
Contact your employer if you need to stay home. Your employer will be able to assist you with any available sick leave options. The government has expanded sick pay to encourage you to take time off if you need it to protect public health.
If your symptoms match coronavirus, contact a healthcare provider for advice.