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Simple Steps to Improve Workplace Safety During the Coronavirus Pandemic

The world is in the midst of the coronavirus or COVID-19 pandemic. It is marked as one of the fastest-spreading viruses in recent years, disrupting day-to-day life in all corners of the globe. If you are like so many other Americans right now, you are probably wondering if it is even safe to go to work.

The World Health Organization (WHO) has taken great strides to combat COVID-19 on all fronts, including researching vaccines at a record-pace and offering trustworthy, fact-based information about the virus to slow the spread of panic and misinformation. Recently, WHO teamed up with Google to put a list of five must-do safety tips to help prevent the spread of the virus at home and work.

WHO’s “Do the Five” coronavirus safety tips are:

  • Hands – Wash them often: When you are at work and among others, there is an inherent increase in your risk of transmitted the virus from one person to another. COVID-19 may last days on a surface after it has appeared there due to an infected person sneezing or coughing nearby. You should wash your hands more often than you usually do. As a basic rule of safety, consider washing your hands whenever you walk by a sink in your workplace. Wash them with soap and hot water for at least 20 seconds to scrub away traces of the virus.
  • Elbow – Cough into it: The coronavirus is not the only reason why people are coughing these days. The country is still dealing with the typical flu season. Some people have seasonal allergies. Others still might have the common cold. That is to say, the odds of you needing to cough at some point while at work are very high. When you feel a cough coming on, distance yourself from other people before coughing into the crook of your elbow.
  • Face – Don’t touch it: Your eyes, nose, and mouth are vulnerable to virus transmissions. Touching these parts of your face while traces of COVID-19 are on your hands may increase your chances of contracting the virus. Not only should you wash your hands more often while at work, but you should also make deliberate attempts to not touch your face. Talk to your employer or supervisor about sending emails to employees to remind them to also stop touching their own faces. This tip is the hardest for most people to follow, so taking additional steps to adhere to it is incredibly helpful.
  • Feet – Stay more than 3 feet apart: WHO has advised that people stay 3 or more feet apart whenever possible. The idea is that coughing or sneezing unprotected – as in not into the crook of the elbow as described in the second hint – can throw contaminated microscopic particles into the air, but usually not as far as 3 feet. For many workplaces, enforces the 3-feet rule may be impossible due to cramped work environments. On-hand staff may need to be reduced to make more elbow room.
  • Feel – Stay home if you feel sick: Last but certainly not least, do not go to work at all if you feel sick. COVID-19 has proved difficult to contain because it often causes only mild, cold-like symptoms in the young and relatively healthy. People continue to go to work thinking that they feel relatively fine, not realizing they might be putting others with health concerns at a greater risk. Talk to your employer about call-out options, as well as the possibility to work from home for an extended period of time. Some employers and insurance companies are also allowing people to collect short-term disability pay for being unable to work due to the COVID-19 risk. See if this possibility is available to you, too.

(For more information from WHO about how to protect yourself from COVID-19, please click here to visit the organization’s official website.)

From all of us at the Law Offices of Gary Rodich in Woodland Hills, we wish you and your loved ones safety and comfort during the coronavirus pandemic. By exercising caution and care, we can all do our part in slowing the virus’s spread. With patience, calm, and focus, we can all look forward to life feeling closer to normal sooner than later.

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