As West Virginia moves forward with reopening plans, it is critical for businesses of all types to prepare their workplaces and employees for controlling and reducing the risk of transmission of the COVID-19 virus in the workplace. West Virginia University Extension Service Safety and Health Extension Professor Mark Fullen provides some general workplace safety guidelines for businesses as the state continues the reopening process. Recommendations and guidelines are being revised often, so it is important to check resources frequently as new information is learned.
“Businesses should encourage or consider requiring sick employees to stay home. If an employee shows symptoms of the COVID-19 virus, they should immediately notify the employer or designated safety officer and stay home. Having employers be supportive and encouraging by having employees report symptoms and stay home are both critical to reducing the spread of the virus.”
“To reduce virus transmission, employers need to establish and implement safe work practices. When possible, allow employees to work from home. If that is not feasible, employers should consider modifying work schedules to stagger work to reduce the total number of workers on a job site at any given time. Confined and enclosed areas should be identified and access restricted to essential personnel only. Employees should maintain 6 feet of social distancing at all times.”
“All employers should ensure their workers are following proper workplace hygiene and using personal protective equipment. Educate workers on proper workplace hygiene practices. While on the worksite, appropriate gloves, eye protection and face coverings (if necessary) should always be worn. Employees should avoid sharing any type of PPE.”
“Employers must remember to educate workers on the importance of proper hand-washing and decontamination. Provide employees with access to soap, clean running water and materials for drying their hands. For instances when hand-washing is not possible, provide alcohol-based hand sanitizer stations in multiple locations for use by workers and customers to encourage proper hand hygiene. In addition to proper workplace hygiene, each job site should develop cleaning and decontamination procedures to be done at least once a day or more often, if possible.” – Mark Fullen, Extension Professor, WVU Extension Service Safety and Health Extension
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