The coronavirus continues to make headline news. And, for the foreseeable future, this has become the world’s new normal. According to the Public Health Agency of Canada, our nation is getting close to 600 confirmed cases of coronavirus. Needless to say, this virus is spreading. And sadly, it appears as if things are only going to get worse before they get better.
While you may have already been inundated with information about how to prevent the spread of COVID-19, we feel it imperative to do our part and pass along some very important suggestions for how to keep your workplace a safe environment.
Here are four new hygiene policies you should implement at work:
1. Wash your hands following the 20-second rule.
Truthfully, no one should require instructions for how to wash their hands. However, it’s vital that we all practice the same hand washing routines while we battle the coronavirus pandemic. By washing your hands with warm water and soap for a minimum of 20 seconds, you will maximize cleanliness, helping to prevent the passing along of any infection.
Place signs throughout your office and in your washrooms detailing these facts and instructions. Washing your hands is especially important before and after eating and after using the washroom. “Make sure that staff, contractors and customers have access to places where they can wash their hands with soap and water,” instructs the World Health Organization, “Because washing kills the virus on your hands and prevents the spread of COVID-19.”
2. Use hand sanitizer before and after touching any surfaces.
Place hand sanitizer dispensers throughout your office. One should appear at your front entrance, just like in hospitals. Don’t shy away from mounting a sign that requests all employees and visitors to sanitize their hands upon entry into your place of work.
“Provide access to handwashing areas and place hand sanitizing dispensers in prominent locations throughout the workplace, if possible,” advises the Government of Canada on Canada.ca.
3. Insist that all coughs and sneezes are properly covered.
While this should be common sense, you can’t just assume that everyone knows to cover their mouths and noses when they cough and sneeze. As well, you can’t just cover up with your hands. The spray of droplets will coat your inner hand and contaminate any surfaces touched thereafter. Use your inner elbow and/or your sleeve to block the spray of your cough or sneeze.
Taking things one step further, the World Health Organization recommends you “ensure that face mask and/or paper tissues are available at your workplaces, for those who develop a runny nose or cough at work, along with closed bins for hygienically disposing of them.” If any of your employees do develop symptoms including fever and persistent cough, immediately send them home.
4. Disinfect all surfaces.
There are likely countless surfaces that your employees come into contact with on any given day. It’s time to invest in some Lysol wipes to disinfect them all. Be sure to wipe them down at the beginning and end of every work shift.
Canada.ca reminds us to ensure frequent cleaning, with particular attention to high-touch surfaces, such as bars, desks, phones, kitchens, computers, cash registers, elevator buttons, restaurant tables and menus.