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Safe and healthy practices at work places to help you combat COVID-19

Returning to work after months of safely working out of the comfort of your home can prove to be a stressful ordeal. Here are a few helpful measures that can help keep workplaces safe in the fight against COVID-19.

Lockdowns have lifted and daily-life is gradually setting in. Although freedom is at your doorstep, it now comes at a cost - underlined with guidelines and measures to be strictly followed; and what is increasingly being known as the new norm. With a vaccine still to be discovered, it is a known fact that man will have to walk shoulder-to-shoulder with COVID-19. The risk of exposure can occur anywhere, beginning from travelling to and from work, at the workplace or even during work-related travel. Having said that, you can reduce the chances of being infected by taking simple precautions:

For Personal Care:

  • Frequently wash your hands or disinfect with an alcohol-based hand sanitizer.
  • Ensure you do not touch any potential contaminated surfaces or objects with bare hands. To stay protected, wear gloves or immediately sanitize upon close contact.
  • Maintain respiratory hygiene by covering coughs. Ensure you have a mask on at all times, especially when in close proximity with people.
  • Maintain a safe distance of a minimum of 1 metre or more.
  • Avoid any kind of physical contact with people.

For Managers:

  • Carry out regular and rapid risk assessments to determine the possibility of exposures – low, medium or high that employees would need to engage in.
  • Ensure you have the necessary resources like personal protective equipment and take preventive measures.
  • Safety measures may vary for different work settings, and hence it is essential these be analysed along with every task undertaken or assigned.
  • Essential public services such as security, retail, public transport, deliveries, water and sanitation and other frontline workers may be at an increased risk of exposure due to occupational hazards. Ensure you have in place the necessary precautions.
  • Special consideration needs to be provided for employees/workers who may be at higher risk of developing severe COVID-19 illness because of age or pre-existing medical conditions.

For Business:

  • Regular cleaning and disinfection is advised atleast two times a day, this includes all shared rooms, surfaces, floors, bathrooms, changing rooms and even air-condition vents.
  • Regular temperature checks clubbed with complete sanitizations for employees arriving and leaving the workplace could help minimise the risk of cross infections.
  • Installing sanitizers in common areas and adopting measures that reduce social mixing such as changing the use of common spaces, splitting teams, etc. are other helpful measures advised.
  • Increasing ventilation, ensuring clean and fresh air and having employees wear appropriate face masks, gloves and PPE suitable to their work profile are good practices for increased number of people in a room.
  • Ensure clear policies and messages, training and education for staff and managers are in place, to increase awareness of COVID-19.
  • Have a hands-on management team to handle any medical emergencies and a policy of staying home if unwell.

Although main concerns remain contracting the virus, the pandemic has also widely impacted the mental well-being of people. Fear of falling ill and dying, of being socially excluded, placed in quarantine or losing a livelihood can easily lead to anxiety and depression. In this case, it’s also vital to extend psychosocial support.

Bear in mind that it is impossible to prevent COVID-19 by merely following one measure, so make sure you adhere to all the guidelines set by the governing authorities and make effective use of personal protective equipment clubbed with a healthy lifestyle.

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