How employers can prevent COVID-19 in the workplace
Illnesses like COVID-19 and influenza are showing no signs of letting up for the upcoming holidays. While it’s recommended to keep celebrations within your household, some increased travel and time indoors with others may be expected, ultimately increasing the risk of spreading COVID-19. We’re sharing steps employers can take before and after holiday breaks to keep your workforce safe.
Prepare for disruptions
Busy season or not, absenteeism typically increases during the winter months. Employers should identify essential employees and business functions, and other critical inputs including supplies, subcontractor services and logistics required to maintain business operations.
Review new policies
Nearly every business has been forced to make changes to their operations or workplace due to the pandemic. Now with several months of experience under your belt and a better understanding of the virus, it’s time to review what’s working for your team and what’s not.
Ensure sick workers are not at work
Whether it’s symptoms of the flu, common cold or COVID-19, employers should monitor employees for signs of illness and require sick workers to stay home. If employees suspect they were exposed to COVID-19 during time away from work, they should get tested at their nearest Indigo Urgent Care. A medical provider may recommend that the employee stay home for at least 10 days and monitor symptoms.
Limit in-person contact with “worker pods”
Employers are encouraged to accommodate alternative shift schedules. This may mean employees coming in outside the typical 9-5 workday or that they complete work tasks with a designated group of 3-6 people. This could result in fewer people in a space at a given time and limit exposure to the coronavirus and other illnesses.
Promptly identify and isolate anyone who develops symptoms during work
It’s critical to take swift action when an employee starts to feel ill on the job. Encourage employees to report concerns or symptoms right away, so that they can be isolated from others.
Fight the fatigue
We can’t quit now! Employers and employees play an important role in preventing the spread of COVID-19 in Washington. We recognize that business is anything but usual these days, but the MultiCare Occupational Medicine team is dedicated to helping employers navigate employee health during this unprecedented time.
Don’t hesitate to reach out to our experienced providers with any questions related to COVID-19, workers’ compensation or pre-employment exams.
Puget Sound: 888-280-5513
Inland Northwest: 833-602-8027
About The Author
MultiCare is a not-for-profit health care organization with more than 18,000 team members, including employees, providers and volunteers. Learn more. More stories by this author