Recently, Petra Coach presented a webinar, “Now What?!: How to Mitigate Risk in the Workplace Should Someone Test Positive for COVID-19” featuring Paul Binsfeld and his team at Company Nurse.
The content is invaluable to leaders during this unprecedented time.
You can find the full recording here.
To augment the recording, we noted takeaways and tips from the presentation.
Now, more than ever, the world is examining how companies treat their employees in times of crisis. By providing your employees with a process and plan to address COVID-19 and possible exposures, you’re caring for both your organization and your workforce.
In this webinar, Company Nurse’s Clinical Nurse Manager Cherri Lindquist, Chief Technology Officer Henry Svendblad, and President Paul Binsfeld discuss how to protect your workplace during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Symptoms might differ from general cold symptoms. Influenza A is also going around right now and just because they have these symptoms does not mean they have COIVD-19.
Use the CDC as a resource for what to look for, what to do, and who to call.
The news is creating fear and anxiety for your employees around their health and finances. If a person is emotionally stressed, they are more likely to get sick. Make sure you are providing for your employees in this area as well. Resources like access to a mental health counselor and information about financial assistance are things your team may not think about.
You don’t know what you are walking into. Keep a safe distance until this is over and follow CDC rules. If it’s a job that can’t wait, wear gloves, don’t touch your face, and wash your face often. If the customer is sick, don’t be there if possible. Do the best that you can in extenuating circumstances. When you leave that home, take off your clothes and put them directly in the washer before you do or touch anything.
Encourage employees to make time for themselves. Work/life balance can be more unbalanced now. They should set “on” and “off” hours, and encourage them to find balance and go outside. That message coming from the CEO or leader is important.
The CDC page is updated almost daily. Save this page as a favorite and choose one team member to be the person who checks it often. Be prepared for questions your employees might have and have a plan for if/when you have a positive case in your business.
Testing is determined by medical providers only. If they are exposed to a positive confirmed person, and are now experiencing mild fevers, they may not be able to get a test. They are testing severe symptoms only. Still separate them, though, if they are sick whatsoever. If they go home, clean and sanitize their workspace.
If employees test positive, you do need to notify those who were in contact with them. Depending on your work environment, you may need to close specifically and decontaminate it. OSHA has specific details on how to. In a manufacturing environment, get everyone out of that space and disinfect the entire area. Identify anyone who had DIRECT contact or prolonged contact and quickly notify. Self-quarantine for 14 days. 30 minutes is a prolonged amount of time. Monitor symptoms twice per day and make a record of it. Eliminate all unnecessary travel.
Educate Employees ahead of time and know how to respond. Provide support to all staff – the will be fearful – educate and minimize. We don’t know when we’re sick. If you know you are positive and you’ve come in contact with that person, notify them as soon as possible so they are aware they may be spreading it.
Make the assumption that someone will be infected. Have a plan now and be prepared so you aren’t reacting to it in the moment.
Mental health is important. If you have isolated team members, make sure they are taken care of. If they can’t get out to get groceries or lunch, assign someone who can help. If you aren’t mentally well, it’s hard to
CEOS should be communicating at least once per day to calm the fears of employees. They more you can communicate, the better it is for your team. Be as proactive as possible.
Q: If an employee tests positive, how do we notify customers or vendors?
A: It depends on the business – if you are 1-on-1 sales business, notify the customer. That is harder to do if you own a grocery store. How to communicate if someone has contracted the virus to your team is important. Reach out to your HR manager ahead of time to develop how you will communicate this. Addressing that we will not be placing blame and that you’re a team and family facing this together. Get guidance from an employment attorney on how to best notify people as well. With communicable diseases, you need to be able to share with your team and HIPPA is making specific legislation now about COIVD-19. Stay up-to-date on FMLA as well. Legislation is changing daily at both the state and federal levels.
Q: What about boxes and deliveries?
A: When you open packages and you want to wear gloves, you can. Take items out and then take the box to the trash or recycle immediately. Wipe down contents and wash your hands immediately afterward. If you are washing items from the grocery story, make sure they are completely dry before you put them away.
Q: What does disinfecting actually mean?
A: Check for labels that say ‘kills 99.9% of viruses’ for bleach sprays. If you are DIYing, simple bleach/water mix will work. Check Google for a recipe and don’t make it too strong.
Remote work is very important to all of us right now. Optimizing your technology for remote work will lower your ongoing IT support costs and boost productivity. You can actually simplify your IT environment and architecture. To simplify your environment, even if just partially for administrative or operations staff, consider the following: