COVID READY WORKPLACES
Restarting the Economy
As Lockdown Levels change, many businesses may be going back to work, which comes with increased risk of the highly contagious Covid-19 infection spreading exponentially, but safety is needed while recovering from disruptions to your business when lockdown will be lifted. Ensuring the safety of their staff will be top-of-mind for all employers. Decontamination services will play a major role in making sure an environment is safe, along with stringent Covid protocols including the use of:
- Personal Protective Equipment (PPE),
- Regular cleaning of high touch points,
- Hand sanitation
- Social distancing.
Curbing the coronavirus spread must be a collective effort as we gradually lift the lockdown to restart the economy. As a key partner offering high compliance cleaning and disinfection solutions and products, we have established a specialized decontamination taskforces to help ensure workspaces are safe. We are also able to offer workplace readiness assessments to help businesses align with best practices and follow the correct protocols.
Back-To-Work Business Checklist
1. Have you decontaminated your environment?
Covid-19 is transmitted via droplet spread. This means surfaces can be contaminated quickly. A decontamination protocol is the best way to ensure a workplace is coronavirus free. It involves the microbial fogging of all surfaces, production lines, workstations, walls, floors and ceilings using specialized chemicals, after which the area is air dried. The decontamination team is specially trained and attired in the necessary PPE. All disposable PPE is immediately placed in a biohazard bag and treated as Health Care Risk Waste. Decontamination protocols should be imperative following a positive Covid-19 incident.
2. Have you done a risk analysis?
If a decontamination is done before a team returns to work then a risk analysis is done afterwards. Otherwise, a risk analysis should already be in place. This critical assessment determines high touch points (most touched surfaces) and the cleaning regimen required to maintain the necessary hygiene standards. It’s vital daily cleaning happens (at minimum) with special care paid to the mapped touch points.
3. Have you got the right products?
The correct chemicals need to be used in daily cleaning practices. High-alcohol solutions work well for hard surface sanitizing of small areas and sensitive equipment. Solutions containing sodium hypochlorite such as bleach should be used on walls and floors and numerous professional bodies have recommended the following chemicals be used:
- 70 percent IsoPropanol based hand sanitizer, Neat (Alcohol based hand sanitizer)
- Sodium Hypochlorite 0,1 – 0,5 percent (Chlorine based sanitizer)
- Hydrogen Peroxide >0,5 percent (Available as a blend of Hydrogen Peroxide and Peracetic acid-based sanitizer)
- Benzalkonium Chloride 0,05 percent (QAC sanitizer)
4. Have you trained your team?
Ultimately, a lot depends on every employee complying with the rules. It’s essential to train a team on best personal hygiene practices like frequent hand washing and hand sanitizing. Entrenching these behaviours relies on discipline. People will slip up, so have Covid-19 hygiene reminders everywhere, in the form of posters, frequent check-ins, morning mailers… even ‘messaging mats’ on the floor.Thus we also know Better Workplace and Classroom Hygiene can be safe. Covid-19 risk assessments will be lower when products and resources that help you keep your facility safe and in compliance.
5. Have you got the right PPE?
Masks and gloves remain highly sought after. Businesses will need to source these and have an abundance of products like hand sanitizer available as well. Make sure there are strict protocols regarding the donning and doffing of PPE and its disposal. Have a biohazard waste disposal mechanism for single-use items. And ensure fabric masks are washed, ironed and rotated consistently.
6. Have you got social distancing measures in place?
Before a team returns, use reflective tape to designate well-spaced-out ‘work zones’ to comply with social distancing. Use tape to outline how people should queue for the bathroom. Draw up kitchen and lunch ‘shifts’. All communal spaces like meeting rooms should ideally not be in use, or severely restricted. Have clear policies for how team members should interact with each other and other stakeholders like customers, if applicable.
7. Have you got equipment for daily temperature testing?
Daily temperature testing should ideally be enforced, using infrared thermometers. Additionally, ask questions regarding whether someone is experiencing a fever, cough, difficulty breathing, sneezing, runny nose or general feeling of being unwell. Use a daily log for results.
8. Have you got drills for scenario testing?
It’s important to conduct drills so you know how to handle a positive Covid-19 case, a security incident, breach of hygiene protocol, etc. Practicing these with a team will take time but will enforce the seriousness of the situation and help everyone feel more prepared.
9. Have you got support systems in place?
Individuals will feel a huge amount of uncertainty and stress so employers should consider offering free counselling services during this time. Empathetic leadership is key – people appreciate honesty, constant communication, caring one-on-one check-ins, flexibility and recognition. A decontamination protocol is the safest way to ensure an environment is coronavirus-free, enabling business continuity. This is a powerful defence when accompanied by the right protocols, PPE, social distancing and behaviour-entrenching tools. Ecowize applies best practice to ensure we meet world-standard protocols. We are committed to being your partner in this journey.
Are You Covid-19 Ready
- Compile risk assessments to facilitate the identification, assessment and on-going monitoring of the material risks caused by Covid-19 and whether appropriate control measures at work also have been implemented at its workplace – these assessments should include an assessment of the level of risk (high, medium or low) posed by Covid-19 to each employee based on their vulnerability (age, pre-and existing medical conditions) and possible exposure to Covid-19;
- Develop a workplace plan consistent with the framework included as Annexure E to the Level 4 lockdown regulations on 29 April 2020. The workplace plan would need to include details on:
- The date the business will open and hours of opening
- A timetable setting out the phased return to work of employees;
- The steps taken to get the workplace Covid-19 ready;
- A list of those employees who will be required to work from home or stay at home due to them being 60 years or older or having comorbidities;
- Applicable Covid-19 health and safety protocols that will apply to its workplace – including engineering controls (such as screening facilities, wearing of face masks/shields) that may need to be put in place and administrative controls (such as minimising of contact, safe handwashing and sanitisation protocols and safe physical social distancing protocols) that will require action by each employee;
- Details of the designated Covid-19 compliance officer.
- Properly inform all employees and other persons present at its workplace of its workplace plan, in particular the applicable health and safety preventative measures included in such plan;
- To the extent possible, continue to allow employees to work from home, thus minimising the number of employees physically present at its workplace;
- Ensure that its workplace is clean and hygienic and, to the extent required, disinfected prior to re-opening;
- Provide each employee who may come into direct contact with members of the public as part of their duties, with a cloth face mask;
- Provide hand sanitiser at all entrances to its workplace;
- Designate a Covid-19 compliance officer to oversee the implementation of all Covid-19 health and safety protocols - in particular regulations and guidelines for social distancing, sanitation and hygiene should be strictly observed;
- Actively promote notification by employees of any possible exposure to Covid-19; and
- Prepare an appropriate response to a positive case of Covid-19 being identified at its workplace.
- Aside from the legal consequences of non-compliance with safety the regulations, businesses that fail to implement the required steps to ensure Covid-19 readiness run an increased risk of exposure to the Covid-19 virus which may inadvertently lead to forced temporary closures in the future.