Simple ways to prevent the spread of COVID-19 in your workplace

By Vincent Kejitan | Thursday, Feb 27th 2020 at 08:42
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On Wednesday, the Ministry of Health reported that there have been 80239 confirmed cases of COVID-19 and 2700 deaths had been reported.

The Ministry, however, assured Kenyans that despite concerns after China Southern Airlines resumed its flights to Nairobi, all the 239 passengers were screened onboard.

In connection to the same, the World Health Organisation listed down simple ways to prevent the spread of COVID-19 at the workplace:

Make sure your workplaces are clean and hygienic

Surfaces (e.g. desks and tables) and objects (e.g. telephones, keyboards) need to be wiped with disinfectant regularlyPromote regular and thorough hand-washing by employees, contractors and customersPut sanitizing hand rub dispensers in prominent places around the workplace. Make sure these dispensers are regularly refilledCombine this with other communication measures such as offering guidance from occupational health and safety officers, briefings at meetings and information on the intranet to promote hand-washing Make sure that staff, contractors and customers have access to places where they can wash their hands with soap and water

Promote good respiratory hygiene in the workplace Display posters promoting respiratory hygiene. Combine this with other communication measures such as offering guidance from occupational health and safety officers, briefing at meetings and information on the intranet etc.Ensure that face masks and / or paper tissues are available at your workplaces, for those who develop a runny nose or cough at work, along with closed bins for hygienically disposing of themAdvise employees and contractors to consult national travel advice before going on business trips.

Things to consider when you and your employees travel

Before traveling Make sure your organization and its employees have the latest information on areas where COVID-19 is spreading. Based on the latest information, your organization should assess the benefits and risks related to upcoming travel plans.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.Make sure all persons travelling to locations reporting COVID-19 are briefed by aqualified professional (e.g. staff health services, health care provider or local public health partner)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 Encourage employees to wash their hands regularly and stay at least one meter away from people who are coughing or sneezingEnsure employees know what to do and who to contact if they feel ill while traveling.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

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.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 (1meter 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.

Getting your business 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 workplacesThe 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.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).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.

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