health and safety at work amidst a covid-19 pandemic

In a very short period of time, the emergence of the new COVID-19 disease has created an unprecedented impact on the way we live and work. As the virus continues to spread, and even though its crisis has shown that working from home works just as well, the majority of companies prefer to return to the physical work environment. To ensure a smooth return of workers to offices and stores, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends ongoing cleaning and disinfection of the space.

While the virus is spreading, good cleaning and disinfection techniques for surfaces and objects can significantly reduce the risk of Coronavirus transmission.

So according to guidance from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, there are a few points to look out for when returning to work:

Cleaning surfaces and objects

Cleaning and decontamination should be carried out using disposable gloves, safety glasses, single-use clothing, and surgical masks. Basic cleaning should be carried out first to remove most of the particles to reduce the viral load on the surface and then start decontamination.

Clean and disinfect high-risk surfaces (those that most people touch) such as tables, chairs, knobs, switches, telephones, keyboards, remote controls, touch screens, desks, toilets, sinks, lift buttons, etc.

Air quality and ventilation systems

The Coronavirus pandemic helped us understand how important indoor air quality is, as it can greatly reduce the spread of germs and disease in an enclosed space.

Workplaces are home to many sources of air pollution, from volatile organic compounds, bacteria, mold, and viruses. Poor ventilation exacerbates the presence of these pollutants. To maintain the environment at a safe level, facilities must focus on systems capable of filtering out pathogens. Airocide air sterilization and sanitization systems are a world-renowned NASA technology that effectively reduces microbes, viruses, bacteria, fungi, etc. from the air.

Recommended measures and markings for COVID-19 protective measures in the workplace

-Provide clear, concise, and well-worded information and signage related to protective measures (hygiene, cleaning, spacing and frequent checking for symptoms, use of a contactless thermometer for direct measurement of body temperature).
-Continue to clean all areas in the office, common or not, and encourage everyone to clean their desks and equipment with surface disinfectants.
-Provide hand disinfection and single-use clothing throughout the building and make sure everyone knows where to find them.
-Consult with staff frequently to know what works and where extra support is needed.
-Increase the availability of surface disinfectants and hand disinfection and make sure everyone knows how to use them effectively.
-Continue cleaning and disinfection procedures in the office to reduce the occurrence of germs and bacteria in the workplace.
-Place in all rooms and areas, sufficient quantities of hand sanitizer and sanitizing wipes (hygienic hand rub with pumps, wall-mounted automatic antiseptic stands, wall-mounted manual dispensers, floor-mounted antiseptic stands, etc.) in entrances, exits, offices, restrooms, etc.

Sources: RobinPowered, Hellenic Institute for Occupational Health and Safety, PURELL, Centre for Disease Control and Prevention, Gep Group, National Organisation of Public Health (EODY)

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