‘Getting your workplace ready for COVID-19’ - II

Contd from previous issue
3. Things to consider when you and your employees travel
• Before traveling
o Make sure your organization and its employees have the latest information on areas where COVID-19 is spreading. You can find this at https://www.who.int/emergencies/diseases/novel-coronavirus-2019/situation-reports/
o Based on the latest information, your organization should assess the benefits and risks related to upcoming travel plans.
o Avoid sending employees who may be at higher risk of serious illness (e.g. older employees and those with medical conditions such as diabetes, heart and lung disease) to areas where COVID-19 is spreading.
o Make sure all persons travelling to locations reporting COVID-19 are briefed by a qualified professional (e.g. staff health services, health care provider or local public health partner)
o Consider issuing employees who are about to travel with small bottles (under 100 CL) of alcohol-based hand rub. This can facilitate regular hand-washing.
• While traveling:
o Encourage employees to wash their hands regularly and stay at least one meter away from people who are coughing or sneezing
o Ensure employees know what to do and who to contact if they feel ill while traveling.
o Ensure that your employees comply with instructions from local authorities where they are traveling. If, for example, they are told by local authorities not to go somewhere they should comply with this. Your employees should comply with any local restrictions on travel, movement or large gatherings.
• When you or your employees return from traveling:
o Employees who have returned from an area where COVID-19 is spreading should monitor themselves for symptoms for 14 days and take their temperature twice a day.
o If they develop even a mild cough or low grade fever (i.e. a temperature of 37.3 C or more) they should stay at home and self-isolate. This means avoiding close contact (one meter or nearer) with other people, including family members. They should also telephone their healthcare provider or the local public health department, giving them details of their recent travel and symptoms.
4. Getting your workplace ready in case COVID-19 arrives in your community
• Develop a plan of what to do if someone becomes ill with suspected COVID-19 at one of your
o The plan should cover putting the ill person in a room or area where they are isolated
from others in the workplace, limiting the number of people who have contact with the
sick person and contacting the local health authorities.
o Consider how to identify persons who may be at risk, and support them, without inviting
stigma and discrimination into your workplace. This could include persons who have
recently travelled to an area reporting cases, or other personnel who have conditions that
put them at higher risk of serious illness (e.g. diabetes, heart and lung disease, older age).
o Tell your local public health authority you are developing the plan and seek their input.
• Promote regular teleworking across your organization. If there is an outbreak of COVID-19 in your
community the health authorities may advise people to avoid public transport and crowded
places. Teleworking will help your business keep operating while your employees stay safe.
• Develop a contingency and business continuity plan for an outbreak in the communities where
your business operates
o The plan will help prepare your organization for the possibility of an outbreak of COVID19 in its workplaces or community. It may also be valid for other health emergencies
o The plan should address how to keep your business running even if a significant number of employees, contractors and suppliers cannot come to your place of business - either due to local restrictions on travel or because they are ill.
o Communicate to your employees and contractors about the plan and make sure they are aware of what they need to do – or not do – under the plan. Emphasize key points such as the importance of staying away from work even if they have only mild symptoms or have had to take simple medications (e.g. paracetamol, ibuprofen) which may mask the symptoms
o Be sure your plan addresses the mental health and social consequences of a case of COVID-19 in the workplace or in the community and offer information and support.
o For small and medium-sized businesses without in-house staff health and welfare support, develop partnerships and plans with your local health and social service providers in advance of any emergency.
o Your local or national public health authority may be able to offer support and guidance in developing your plan.
Now is the time to prepare for COVID-19. Simple precautions and planning can make a big difference.
Action now will help protect your employees and your business.
How to stay informed:
Find the latest information from WHO on where COVID-19 is spreading:
https://www.who.int/emergencies/diseases/novel-coronavirus-2019/situation-reports/ Advice and guidance from WHO on COVID-19