Preventing the Spread of COVID-19 in Workplaces
Many businesses and individuals are returning to in-person settings after over a year of navigating the COVID-19 pandemic. Organizations across the country have a continued responsibility to keep their employees and customers as safe as possible.
This includes adapting or updating policies and procedures based on federal, state and local public health regulations and recommendations.
Here’s a brief summary of ways that businesses can help prevent and reduce the spread of COVID-19 in workplaces.
Prevent and Reduce Transmission
COVID-19 preparedness, response and control plans should be specific to the workplace and include controls that eliminate or reduce potential exposures.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) provides guidance to help prevent workplace exposure. This includes:
- Actively encouraging sick employees to stay home. Organizations should implement supportive policies and practices that address different scenarios, including cases where the employee is showing symptoms, has tested positive (regardless of whether they might be asymptomatic or pre-symptomatic) or has a sick household member.
- Conducting daily in-person or virtual health checks. This might include symptom and temperature screenings before employees enter the building or having workers self-screen prior to arrival.
- Incorporating testing for COVID-19 into workplace preparedness, response and control plans. This might include testing employees before they enter the building, periodic testing of workers or targeted testing (e.g. new workers or those returning from a prolonged absence).
- Identifying where and how workers might be exposed to individuals with COVID-19 at work. Employers should conduct a hazard assessment and determine what types of controls or Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) is needed for each job duty.
- Separating sick employees. Employers should have procedures in place to immediately separate any employee who has symptoms or becomes sick during the day.
- Taking action if an employee is suspected or confirmed to have COVID-19. If it has been less than seven days since the sick employee has been on-site, take steps to close off any areas used for prolonged periods of time by the sick person. Follow CDC cleaning and disinfection recommendations after a 24-hour waiting period to minimize exposure for other employees.
- Educating employees about steps they can take to protect themselves at work and at home. This includes staying at home when sick, wearing a mask when out in public, washing hands often and practicing social distancing.
- Offering additional support to employees who use public transportation or ride sharing to commute to work. This might include offering incentives to use other forms of transportation or allowing employees to shift their hours to commute during less crowded times. Employees should follow CDC guidance when using transportation.
In addition to these recommendations, all workers should continue to wear a mask and social distance when possible.
The CDC regularly updates its guidance for businesses and employers. These recommendations are presented in detail, allowing businesses to better adapt specific actions to help prevent the spread of COVID-19. Additionally, Training Centers and CPR Instructors should review HSI’s Emergency Care COVID-19 Resource Documents for guidance on in-person training.
Virtual CPR Training
HSI’s Remote Skills Verification (RSV) can help keep your employees safe whether you’re business is going back to an office environment or your team remains working from home.
RSV allows students to get full certification in emergency care training from anywhere using our proprietary online portal. Instructors and students meet virtually for live, online hands-on skills assessment after the student completes blended, online training.