With COVID-19 spreading across the globe, some companies have been changing their working situations to allow their employees to work from home, but some companies are unable to do that and their employees still need to go into the office. This blog will give you some tips for whether you are either working from home or if you are back working in the office.
Tips while working from home
It’s very important to be diligent about practicing good hygiene practices at home as well as in the work environment as many of us have families and friends that we would like to protect from viral infection
Disinfection of home office and common areas
Ensure to disinfect all highly touched surfaces frequently. These surfaces include doorknobs, handrails, toilet handles, keypads, light switches, cabinet handles, faucet handles, tables, countertops, computer keyboards/mouse, electronics, etc.
Working alone process
The intent of the working alone practice is to promote workers awareness and facilitate worker safety when they are working alone. The Supervisor will ensure that there are safety plans in place for those that work alone and that these plans adhere to the OHS Legislation and the company policy.
Considerations when working alone:
- How long are workers alone?
- Is there a means of communication available such as a Cell Phone, 2-way Radio, Text Messaging and/or Email?
- Will the communication system work in all circumstances or areas that the worker maybe?
- Will a call-in be adequate?
- What will be done if there is no response?
- Would a buddy system work in your work environment where lone employees could call each other?
- Do the workers know the workplace or is it unfamiliar?
- How experienced are your workers? Are the workers competent to work alone?
- How well trained are they to handle an emergency?
The procedure for checking a worker's well-being must include the time interval between checks and the procedure to follow in case the worker cannot be contacted, including provisions for emergency rescue.
In addition to checks at regular intervals, a check at the end of the work shift must be done. The procedure for checking a worker's well-being, including time intervals between the checks, must be developed in consultation with the Joint Health and Safety Committee or the worker health and safety representative, as applicable and with the worker assigned to or who do work alone or in isolation.
Tips while working from the office
It is very important to control the spread of viral infections in an office setting as there are many people that come and go from these types of locations. If good preventative measures are taken regularly to prevent the spread of viruses, it contributes to a healthy and safe workplace for all employees. Ensure to wear disposable gloves, mask and safety glasses to clean and disinfect.
Disinfection of Personal and Common Areas
Surfaces frequently touched with hands are the most likely to be contaminated with the COVID-19 virus, these areas will need to be disinfected regularly. These surfaces include:
- toilet handles,
- elevator buttons,
- light switches,
- cabinet handles,
- faucet handles,
- computer keyboards/mouse,
- electronics, etc.
Sanitize your work area daily using alcohol-based cleansing wipes or a bleach and water mix.
- If surfaces are dirty, they should be cleaned using a detergent or soap and water prior to disinfection.
Social distancing in the office
Ensure that that a Pandemic Influenza and the Pandemic COVID-19 Emergency Response Plan has been developed and all employees are familiar and have reviewed it. Ensure that employees that are showing symptoms of illness are sent home. Maintain the recommended distance of 6 feet between yourself and other employees.
Masks in the Office
As of August 1, 2020, wearing a mask has become mandatory in all indoor public places and public vehicles in Edmonton. Masks will be required for all customers/visitors/non-employees coming into businesses. The offices that are not accessible to the public will not require masks unless a client/customer/non-employee will be coming into the area (i.e. – meetings, repair persons etc.). If customers and clients are coming into the office, employees have the right to refuse service to customers that do not comply with the mask bylaw. The employees that are not behind a barrier and are in the same area as the public, will be required to wear a mask. Employees that are behind a barrier do not need to wear face masks. The employees that are not able to physical distance from each other should wear a mask.
Limiting Meetings and Other in-person functions
It is important during this time to limit the amount of in person meetings and other functions (ex. Training) to avoid the potential spread of the virus. This can be done by conducting meetings via conference call or video call whenever possible. Meetings can also be held outdoors to be able to keep 2 meters (6.5 feet) apart and reducing the amount of people involved in the in-person meetings and functions.
For assistance in developing a Viral Pandemic Preparedness Program, Pandemic Novel Coronavirus (COVID-19) Emergency Response Plan or if you have any further questions, please call our office at 780-473-4772!