If you are an employee returning to your workplace in the face of the Covid-19 entering its peak, your anxiety around how to protect yourself from infection will understandably increase
Depending on the context and place you work in, it may be difficult for employers to continually monitor the government-imposed safety measures they’ve put in place for their staff, such as providing hand sanitiser, testing your temperature on arrival and regularly wiping down surfaces with disinfectant.
Here is what you can do to go the extra mile and boost your personal safety at work:
- Wash your hands after you get to work and before you leave, after you eat, and wash for 20 to 30 seconds each time.
- If the bathroom has no hand dryer, take your own hand towel to work and swap it for a clean one daily.
- If close contact is unavoidable, try and keep it to less than 15 minutes.
- If you can, wait a few seconds before going into the bathroom after someone else.
- If the toilet has a lid, close it before flushing, as a toilet flush generates aerosols that can float around for up to 30 minutes, research has found.
- If it’s warm enough, open doors and windows in the office to increase ventilation.
- If your desks face one another, try moving them to different angles so that respiratory droplets and aerosols are directed into walls or open aisles instead of directly at each other.
- Don’t use anyone else’s phone, desk or office tools.
- The elevator is a potential risk of coronavirus spread, so don’t crowd into it, and if you can, rather take the stairs.
- Elevator buttons should be sanitised regularly, so use your initiative and use a hand sanitiser or wipe them down occasionally yourself.
- Remember to cough or sneeze into your elbow and discard a used tissue right away.
- Above all, stay at home if you are feeling sick.
The Department of Employment and Labour has set out regulations to be followed by your employer. Essentially, they state the following:
- You should be screened for symptoms (fever or coughing) on arrival at work.
- You should be supplied with two free cloth masks and should wear a mask while at work or commuting to and from work.
- Hand sanitiser with at least 70% alcohol content be provided free of charge.
- There should be minimal contact between you and your colleagues.
- Desks should be at least 1.5m apart, and if not practical, physical barriers should be placed between you.
- Break times be staggered and queues for the toilets or canteen be regulated.
- If you’re interacting with customers, you should be supplied with hand sanitiser at the workstation.
- Surfaces that staff and members of the public encounter should be routinely cleaned and disinfected. – Health-e News