Reducing risk of COVID-19 Employers should start doing these things now

March 31, 2020

Employers should start doing these things now, even if COVID-19 has not arrived in the communities
where they operate. They can already reduce working days lost due to illness and stop or slow the spread
of COVID-19 if it arrives at one of your workplaces.
• Make sure your workplaces are clean and hygienic

o Surfaces (e.g. desks and tables) and objects (e.g. telephones, keyboards) need to be wiped
with disinfectant regularly
o Why? Because contamination on surfaces touched by employees and customers is one of
the main ways that COVID-19 spreads
• Promote regular and thorough hand-washing by employees, contractors and customers
o Put sanitizing hand rub dispensers in prominent places around the workplace. Make sure
these dispensers are regularly refilled
o Display posters promoting hand-washing – ask your local public health authority for these
or look on www.WHO.int.
o Combine this with other communication measures such as offering guidance from
occupational health and safety officers, briefings at meetings and information on the
intranet to promote hand-washing
o Make sure that staff, contractors and customers have access to places where they can
wash their hands with soap and water
o Why? Because washing kills the virus on your hands and prevents the spread of COVID19
• Promote good respiratory hygiene in the workplace
o Display posters promoting respiratory hygiene. Combine this with other communication
measures such as offering guidance from occupational health and safety officers, briefing
at meetings and information on the intranet etc.
o Ensure that face masks1 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
o Why? Because good respiratory hygiene prevents the spread of COVID-19
• Advise employees and contractors to consult national travel advice before going on business trips.
• Brief your employees, contractors and customers that if COVID-19 starts spreading in your
community anyone with even a mild cough or low-grade fever (37.3 C or more) needs to stay at
home. They should also stay home (or work from home) if they have had to take simple

1 Ordinary surgical face masks rather than N95 face masks
3
medications, such as paracetamol/acetaminophen, ibuprofen or aspirin, which may mask
symptoms of infection
o Keep communicating and promoting the message that people need to stay at home even
if they have just mild symptoms of COVID-19.
o Display posters with this message in your workplaces. Combine this with other
communication channels commonly used in your organization or business.
o Your occupational health services, local public health authority or other partners may
have developed campaign materials to promote this message
o Make clear to employees that they will be able to count this time off as sick leave.

 

Source: World Health OrganizationWHO