The outbreak of the novel coronavirus COVID-19 has created some unparalleled impacts across the globe. No one ever wondered that the streets of New York, Paris, and Berlin would run empty for weeks and months. With more than 200 countries affected, almost all big cities are now in lockdown.
On 31st December 2019, the outbreak of coronavirus was first reported in Wuhan, China. Since then more than 2 million people are now infected with over one thousand deaths across all continents.
The United States is the worst-hit country so far as the death toll raises nearly 50 thousand and the total infection is approaching the one million landmark. The Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) is now banning gatherings of 50 or more people in the U.S.
In this horrific era of lockdown, some companies are now temporarily closed and some were pushed for home office options. Besides, there are still some workplaces like banks, hospitals, grocery stores, pharmacies, and emergency services that have no options other than running at full or increased capacity.
To ensure employees’ safety, businesses, and organizations are now taking extraordinary measures to combat the virus. Let’s find more about office safety during this pandemic outbreak.
1. Screen For Temperatures
The most common symptom of COVID-19 is high body temperature. The average human body temperature should be around 37°C or 98.6°F. So anyone with a higher temperature than normal can be suspected to be battling an infection. Make sure you separate that person from others and send him to nearby healthcare unit
How do you measure everyone’s temperature? In general, you have to use a hand thermometer or thermal scanner with an audio alarm to detect potential suspects. Other than that, offices can use a temperature camera system.
This is the new technology where the camera can detect the body temperature of 16 persons per second simultaneously. With its high-resolution camera you can detect the suspect from a 16-foot distance without any contact.
This system also has an 8TB huge video storage capacity that can help you to store all suspected videos. The response time is quick. Only 30ms is what it takes to segregate all suspects from normal. Installing such an efficient system can be a major step to help prevent your workplace from corona’s snatch.
2. Use First layer Safety
It is no surprise that first layer safety is mandatory to fight the invisible enemy. Make sure you are giving N95 masks to all employees where possible. If possible, it is better to use gloves for added safety.
The virus can get into the body when you touch your face -mostly eyes and mouth with hands. So, hand hygiene and sanitization is important to assure safety. Most hand sanitizers can kill germs up to 99.99%. You can also use soap or liquid hand wash for 20 seconds to kill all potential viruses.
The virus spreads through droplets of infected persons coughing and sneezing. That is why most doctors suggest maintaining at least 6 feet distance from each other. It minimizes the risk of getting infected.
Other than that, you must stop all physical contact like hugs or handshakes. That is the best possible route of virus transmission – through droplets on the person’s hands transferring to another person. One infected person can infect 3 more people. If social distancing is avoided then this number increases many folds.
3. Cleaning is Must
As the coronavirus vaccine research is still in progress, it may take 18 to 24 months to produce a vaccine for this virus. Therefore social distancing, hand hygiene, and disinfection of surfaces are the only measures to stop the spread If you can clean according to the guideline of CDC then it is possible to reduce the virus count to a minimum.
CDC states that EPA-approved disinfectants are highly effective against SARS- COV-2 viruses. This virus has more similarity with the COVID-19 coronavirus. These disinfectants can potentially wipe out all viruses with proper cleaning.
Some of the best EPA (Environmental Protection Agency) approved disinfectants are-
- Tulmult (Sodium hypochlorite)
- Valhallah (Quaternary ammonium)
- Cleancide(Citric acid)
- D7 part 2 (Hydrogen Peroxide)
- Oxine (chlorine dioxide)
You will find 100 more EPA-approved disinfectants in your local pharmacy or supermarkets. Other than that, you can also use household bleach and water as per the CDC recommendation.
All you need is 5 tablespoon of bleach in one gallon of water and use this solution to wipe every corner of your office. Wipe properly with foam sponge so that it remains wet for at least four minutes. Make sure you run cleaning at least twice a day.
Mark the high touch areas of the office like keypads, chairs, light switches, phone receivers, etc. Here you can use spray disinfectants and wipe down. As these areas are hotspots for the virus to spread, clean them every 2 to 3 hours.
4. Smart Communication
In the days of the pandemic, you have to use smart communication to contain virus spread. Focus more on digital platforms like Zoom, Skype for office meetings. Try to use online communication apps like slack to avoid physical contact.
You must physically distance employees by rearranging their workstationst. Try to use virtual communication where possible. Besides, use social media to give the latest update and stick posters to all corners of the office for virus awareness.
5. Use PPE in Extreme Needs
For health care staff like doctors, nurses, pharmacists, PPE(personal protective equipment) is mandatory. Other frontlines like the police and army can also need PPE for personal safety. As the number of coronavirus infections rises, PPE becomes less available and more in demand across the globe.
If your office is vulnerable to coronavirus infection and if some of your employees already got infected by the virus then you may need to consider PPE. You have to arrange medical protective equipment like gowns, goggles, hand covers, shoe covers, and N95 masks for employee health safety.
6. Hotline Support and Telemedicine
You should stick all hotline numbers in every corner of the office for emergency support. This can be health care hospital numbers, emergency police support numbers and ambulance service numbers.
Other than hotline support, you should include information about telemedicine for employees’ health care safety. In telemedicine, a doctor connects to his patient online and prescribes all medicines and suggestions without physical contact.
COVID-19 is the largest pandemic of the 21st century. We were not prepared to face a war with this invisible enemy. It’s threatening our existence and threatening the global economy.
To help prevent an economic meltdown, some companies have no other option other than to continue doing business. The only way an office can function in this environment is by ensuring health safety in the workplace. Time to make hard choices to fight the worst-case scenario is now.