Staying Healthy at Work During the Coronavirus Outbreak

With the recent global outbreak of Coronavirus or COVID-19, it is vitally important that precautionary steps are taken by all when working on the job site. While spread of the virus is most likely for those that have symptoms, mystery still surrounds the ease at which this virus can spread between individuals. As a result, there have been widespread cancellations of many mass gatherings across Europe including trade shows, sporting fixtures and other events. While such cancellations have caused disruption for many businesses, it is essential that both employers and employees take preventative measures against the further spread of this virus.

Coronavirus Symptoms

Firstly, it is important to break down the main symptoms of coronavirus. These symptoms are:

  • A cough
  • Shortness of breath
  • Breathing difficulties
  • Fever (high temperature)

    While it can take up to 14 days for any of these symptoms to appear, if you begin to develop even mild symptoms, and have recently been to a place where there is a spread of coronavirus, it is highly recommended that you stay at home and contact a healthcare professional to avoid the possible spread of COVID-19 or other viruses.

    Precautionary Steps

    In order to avoid potential spread of COVID-19 there are a number of measures that both employers and employees can take.

    For Employers:

    • Keep all employees updated on actions being taken to reduce risks of exposure in the workplace
    • Ensure all managers know how to spot the symptoms of coronavirus and are clear on relevant processes and procedures in the event that someone in the workplace were to develop the virus
    • Ensure there are clean areas to wash hands with hot water and soap, and encourage everyone to wash their hands regularly
    • Provide hand sanitiser and tissues for staff, and encourage them to use them
    • Consider if planned travel to affected areas is essential

       For Employees:

      • Wash your hands regularly with hot water and soap for at least 20 seconds, particularly after going to the bathroom; before eating; and after blowing your nose, coughing or sneezing
      • Frequently clean and disinfect all regularly touched objects or surfaces
      • Avoid touching your eyes, nose or mouth and cover your cough or sneeze with a tissue
      • Stay home when you are sick and avoid close contact with people who are sick
      • Follow all safety procedures put in place by employers

        Stay Informed

        The World Health Organisation’s (WHO) Director-General has stated that “We’re all responsible for reducing our own risk of infection, and if we’re infected, for reducing our risk of infecting others.” For this reason, it is highly recommended that the preventative measures listed above are applied in the workplace in an effort to curb further spread of COVID-19.

        During this time of significant uncertainty, it is important to stay informed on the latest developments of COVID-19. Follow advice given by your healthcare provider, your national and local public health authority or your employer on how to protect yourself and others.

        If you are planning on holding a mass gathering or large community event, the WHO has developed recommended actions for preventing the spread of COVID-19. For more information on these strategies click here.

        Stay home if you feel unwell, and if you have a fever, cough or difficulty breathing, seek medical attention immediately.