Worried about flu and other illnesses like the coronavirus (COVID-19) spreading at your company? Think you should have a plan in place to encourage healthy habits and discourage the spread of the illness?
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention have some coronavirus preparedness tips for employers. Since COVID-19 is a new disease and there is more to learn about its spread, CDC officials are currently basing their tips on what is known about similar coronaviruses.
5 Coronavirus Preparedness Tips
1. Actively Encourage Sick Employees to Stay Home
CDC recommends employees who have symptoms of acute respiratory illness stay home. They should not come back to work until they are free of fever.
Ensure your sick leave policies are flexible and consistent with public health guidance.
2. Separate Sick Employees
CDC recommends employers separate or send home employees who appear to have symptoms (i.e. cough, shortness of breath).
Encourage sick employees to cover their noses and mouths with a tissue when coughing or sneezing. They can also cough or sneeze into an elbow or shoulder if no tissue is available.
3. Emphasize Staying Home When Sick, Respiratory Etiquette and Hand Hygiene
Place posters that encourage staying home when sick (English and Spanish versions of posters located here), cough and sneeze etiquette and hand hygiene at the entrance to your workplace and/or in other areas where they are likely to be seen.
Provide tissues and no-touch disposal receptacles.
Instruct employees to clean their hands often with an alcohol-based hand sanitizer that contains at least 60% to 95% alcohol, or wash their hands with soap and water for at least 20 seconds. Soap and water should be used preferentially if hands are visibly dirty.
Provide soap and water and alcohol-based hand rubs in the workplace. Ensure that adequate supplies are maintained. Place hand rubs in multiple locations or in conference rooms to encourage hand hygiene.
4. Perform Routine Environmental Cleaning
Routinely clean frequently touched surfaces in the workplace, such as workstations, countertops, and doorknobs.
No additional disinfection beyond routine cleaning is recommended at this time.
Provide disposable wipes so that commonly used surfaces (i.e. doorknobs, keyboards, desks) can be wiped down by employees before each use.
5. Advise Employees to Take Certain Steps Before Traveling
Check the CDC’s Traveler’s Health Notices for the latest guidance and recommendations for each country to which you will travel.
Advise employees to check themselves for symptoms of acute respiratory illness before starting travel and notify their supervisor and stay home if they are sick.
Ensure employees who become sick while traveling or on temporary assignment understand that they should notify their supervisor and should promptly call a healthcare provider for advice if needed.
EDITOR’S NOTE: Upcoming NALP events are all still proceeding as planned. NALP’s Government Relations VP will keep members updated on any impacts coronavirus may have on H-2B in the coming weeks.