COVID-19 workplace safety is straightforward and easy to achieve… when it’s warm outside. Because much of COVID-19 workplace safety involves taking tasks outdoors or leaving windows open for airflow, the temperature dropping kind of puts a wrench in things. So, how do we prepare for workplace safety when it’s cold or snowing out?
HEPA Air Purifiers
The first step is considering the installation of HEPA air purifiers. HEPA filters can filter out airborne viruses. While this won’t remove the risk of catching COVID-19 entirely, it can make a significant drop in chances for spread.
Installing HEPA air purifiers in any workplace is a great idea right now, but especially in work environments with other air pollutants. Do you own a factory, construction shop, or any other manufacturing facility where particles are in the air? If so, your employees can only benefit from an air purifier. They’ll be useful even after COVID-19 is no longer a threat.
Isolated Work Areas
Next up, consider isolated work areas. While these are good year round, they’re extra necessary without the ability to leave windows open all day. Using tents to cordon off indoor work spaces is a great way to cut down on spread risk. If an employee is unknowingly infected, they’re unlikely to spread COVID-19 to peers if they’re all working in separate areas, separated by barriers. Infected particulates breathed into the air will have nowhere to go.
Consistent Mask Usage
Even easier than putting up barriers – enforce employee mask usage. Consistent and effective mask usage means:
- Wearing a mask at all times when indoors.
- Not touching your mask throughout the day.
- Keeping your mask over both mouth and nose. They’re ineffective if left below the nose.
- Keeping your mouth off your mask. While chewing or biting the seam of a mask is more common in children and teens, it’s important for anyone, regardless of age, to refrain from fidgeting with it with their mouth. Any infected particulates that were filtered out through the mask can enter your body through your mouth, completely negating the use of the mask.
- Using masks that filter air. If you can blow out a candle through whatever is covering your face, it is not filtering air effectively. If you want to ensure employees are using appropriate masks, make a list of guidelines they must follow or offer cheap surgical masks for them to put on when arriving at work.
Regular Hand Washing
It’s easy to become more lax about hand washing after over a year of dealing with COVID-19. The immediate urgency of hand hygiene has long-since left most of us. However, continuing to wash your hands is more important than ever. Not only do we need to do so to prevent the spread of COVID-19 between work areas, our immune systems are also less effective at holding off common colds than before the coronavirus. Prevent the spread of germs by washing your hands before and after you eat, before and after starting work, and every time you use the restroom.
Sanitizing Work Areas
Finally, ensure work areas are sanitized with 70% isopropyl alcohol at least twice a day, at the beginning and end of the work day. Ideally, areas should be sanitized throughout the work day as well. This is especially necessary if working anywhere with the public, such as customer service jobs.