Sign Up for the Newsletter

Do you have a Covid Plan?

The number of confirmed or suspected cases of Covid-19 has been on the rise and the total number of deaths attributed to the virus has surpassed 200,000 in the United States. This could be from any number of factors, but it is important to ensure employees understand the risks of infection and how the virus can be transmitted in the workplace. Employees should be trained to recognize the signs and symptoms of infection and should know what to do if they are ill. According to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), “People with COVID-19 have had a wide range of symptoms reported – ranging from mild symptoms to severe illness. Symptoms may appear 2-14 days after exposure to the virus.” Symptoms include:

Fever or ChillsHeadache
CoughNew loss of taste or smell
Shortness of BreathSore throat
Difficulty BreathingCongestion or runny nose
FatigueNausea or vomiting
Muscle or body achesDiarrhea

Information from the CDC suggests, “person-to-person transmission occurs during close (within 6 feet) contact with a person with COVID-19, primarily from respiratory droplets produced when an infected person coughs or sneezes. These droplets, particularly when aerosolized, can be deposited in the mouth, nose, or eyes of nearby people or be inhaled into the lungs. Airborne transmission from person-to-person over long distances (including as a result of evaporating droplets that leave behind infectious particles known as droplet nuclei) is believed to be unlikely.” For many people, this is not new information, but it is important to stress protective measures with employees. To date, most experts agree the best way to prevent transmission is to promote physical distancing (6 feet or more) and to wear masks or face coverings. Not all masks are created equally, however, and some may create more hazards then they prevent. Keep in mind, if your workplace requires employees to wear masks, you must provide access to them. Consider the following when selecting masks for your employees:

Wear masks with two or more layers to stop the spread of COVID-19
Wear the mask over your nose and mouth and secure it under your chin (yes, you can wear one wrong)
CDC does not recommend the use of gaiters or face shields. Evaluations of these face covers is on-going, but effectiveness is unknown at this time.
Masks with exhalation valves or vents should NOT be worn to help prevent the person wearing the mask from spreading COVID-19 to others (source control)

Does your company have a Covid-19 prevention plan? What actions do your employees need to take if they or someone they live with tests positive? Did you know OSHA can cite you under the general duty clause for not taking measures to protect your workers from the Coronavirus? OSHA in some states has issued serious fines of up to $13,494 per instance for failure to  protect workers from exposure ( Kentucky and Indiana OSHA have investigated many workplaces for Covid-19 related deficiencies.