Coronavirus: You and Your Employees
UPDATE: New and updated information added on March 25, 2020
As a public service, MaxIT now provides FREE Coronavirus and Pandemic Planning training We’ve also added new courses on working remotely and managing remote workers. Click here to access these free courses.
There are now continual updates about the coronavirus.
if you search for it on Google, you’re prompted with an SOS Alert link and Yahoo has a dedicated link for information about Coronavirus. The World Health Organization (WHO) has specific about it as does the Center for Disease Control (CDC).
Communicating coronavirus precautions to the employees in your organization can help manage fears and help them take sensible preventive actions to be safe, giving them peace of mind.
This isn’t the first time the Coronavirus has been around. There are different types that can present with various respiratory or gastrointestinal symptoms. This particular strain of Coronavirus, COVID-19, is the infectious disease currently in the daily news. It is caused by the most recently discovered coronavirus when the outbreak began in Wuhan, China, in December 2019. In just three months it has spread with deaths reported in several countries including the US.
One of the jobs of an employer is to keep employees safe. This includes keeping employees safe when working with forklifts, using ladders and in the prevention of illnesses
Be Realistic About the Threat
While it’s true that there have been reported cases, as of this writing, the CDC is reporting more than 4,200 total cases across all 50 states, District of Columbia, Puerto Rico, Guam, and US Virgin Islands. (Note: the CDC provides daily updates.)
Also as of the writing, the WHO has declared this a pandemic (global spread of a new disease) but has warned countries to prepare for a coronavirus pandemic.
While not to minimize the threat of the Coronavirus, fatalities by age range appear to be very similar to that of the flu. According to World Meter the hardest hit will be those over 70 years old.
According to the CDC, people 65 years and older had, by far significantly higher fatalities related to influenza (the flu).
Coronavirus: How to Protect Yourself and Your Employees
According to John Hopkins Medicine,
Here are some steps that you can take to help protect you and others from the Coronavirus as well as the flu.
Wash your hands. Wet your hands with clean, running water. Apply soap. Lather your hands, including the backs, between your fingers, and under your nails. Scrub for at least 20 seconds. Rinse.
Maintain social distancing. Maintain at least 3 feet distance between yourself and anyone who is coughing or sneezing. When someone coughs or sneezes they spray small liquid droplets from their nose or mouth which may contain virus. If you are too close, you can breathe in the droplets, including the COVID-19 virus if the person coughing has the disease.
Avoid touching eyes, nose and mouth. Your hands touch many surfaces and could pick up viruses. Once contaminated, hands can transfer the virus to your eyes, nose or mouth. From there, the virus can enter your body and can make you sick.
Practice respiratory hygiene. This means covering your mouth and nose with your bent elbow or tissue when you cough or sneeze. Then dispose of the used tissue immediately and wash your hands or use hand sanitizer gel. Do not cover your mouth with your hands. If you do, wash your hands immediately.
Seek early medical help by phone. if you have a fever, cough or difficulty breathing, contact medical help by phone and share your travel history with healthcare providers.
Traveling from infected areas. If you have returned from an affected area in China, Iran, South Korea or Italy in the last two weeks, stay indoors and avoid contact with other people for 14 days. This means not going to work, school or public areas.
Take Precautions for Prevention
In addition to the above, it’s also a good idea to provide employees with additional training on illness prevention. As the Coronavirus presents similar conditions to the flu and precautions are generally the same for the flu and other workplace illnesses. We have training videos in our health and wellness topic which explain its symptoms, ways it’s spread, and prevention tips. There are a number of common sense actions that should be part of everyone’s daily habits.
We will also have a training specific to the Coronavirus shortly. Please call us at (800) 868-8039 for updated information about this course.
Working from Home
The CDC recommends you stay home when you are sick. If the work allows, offer your employees more flexibility to work from home if they feel they are sick and contagious with a cold, flu, or other illness. This helps to limit the circulation of the common cold, flu, and coronavirus and can be reinforced by managers.
You may also want to create an emergency plan to work remotely that can apply to situations beyond the virus like natural disasters and dangerous weather.
We also offer a course on working remotely that may be helpful for employees new to this environment. We offer tips on creating an ergonomic workplace in your home, for managing interruptions, and general tips on communication and productivity.
Crisis Management Training
Now may also be a good time to create or review other emergency plans such as a crisis management plan and training. Part of this should be to ensure that all of your employees are aware of your plans and processes. What is the process if one of your employees leading a major project is affected by a quarantine? Or one of your plants in another country is shut down due to the virus in the community?
While our mission is for you and your employees to become a top performer in your industry we also want to ensure that you and your company are safe. We encourage your feedback, so please send us an email or call us at (800) 868-8039.
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