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Public Health and Coronavirus at work

March 2020

The Coronavirus outbreak may seem like a spectacle with all the toilet paper and soap being wiped from the shelves of supermarkets… Coronavirus’ human and economic impacts on businesses, along with public health have been severe and are continuing to get worse.

The coronavirus outbreak that originated in Wuhan, China has spread to at least 65 countries and has sickened more than 89,000 people, with more than 3,000 deaths. This epidemic should be an alarm for all companies across the globe, to carefully review the strategies, policies, and procedures they have in place to protect both their employees and customers.

How can you aid public health in the fight against Coronavirus?

  • Perform routine environmental cleaning

Public Health England state: the best way to prevent infection is to avoid being exposed to the virus.  This means adopting a clean and healthy work environment. All commonly used surfaces should be cleaned and disinfected regularly. A good idea would be to provide your employees with disposable antibacterial wipes, so they can routinely clean the surfaces they use. This way they can take an active part in aiding public health. 

  • Encourage regular handwashing 

The most effective defense,  is washing hands regularly. Employers must ensure that all handwashing stations are readily available for employees. They should be regularly restocked with soap, and ideally paper towels. There is evidence to suggest that using paper towels is more effective in reducing the spread of germs and viruses. If soap and water are not available in all areas of the workplace, alcohol based sanitizers should be distributed throughout the workplace. Prevention is important, especially in the population of your workplace. 

  • Actively encourage sick employees to stay at home 

If any of your employees are showing signs of the Coronavirus, do not hesitate to send them home. Likewise, if your employees are extremely vulnerable to the virus, you must ensure that they are segregated from other employees. To benefit public health, and prevent the spread of the virus, it is important to have flexible sick leave policies. Company policies should be flexible and consistent with public health guidance.

Industrious planning for global health emergencies, such as the Coronavirus, can help protect your employees, customers and the wider public. However, the plans and guidelines set are only as good as their execution. Why not use the current situation to put your plans into practice, and play a major role in the protection of public health? 

 

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