5 Measures to Consider for a Safe Return to Work

masterflex peristaltic pump in the lab

By Ayisha Malik, Marketing Content Specialist, EMEA

Implement strategies to ensure everyone is protected.

The COVID-19 pandemic dictated a rapid wave of changes that had affected every aspect of our lives. After several long weeks of lockdown, working from home, social distancing and other precautionary measures, are you looking forward to returning to your old norms? Many of us seem somewhat divided on finer details; while some of us cannot wait to get out of our claustrophobic confines of our living quarters, others are reluctant to leave the safety of our sanctuary just yet, with a deadly virus still running rampant and no official treatment or vaccine in hand.

What we can all agree on is that whenever we are ready to return to our old way of life, stringent and persistent measures will need to be implemented to ensure public safety. If you are going back into a common area of work, it will be of paramount importance that a comprehensive policy is established to monitor and protect everyone’s health and well-being.

It has been established that the virus particle spreads from one person to another via droplet transmission – this could happen directly or by means of touching common surfaces. Research (Kampf et al., 2020) suggests that some materials can harbour virus particles for hours or even days; if these happen to be in communal areas or high-touch zones, they could contribute significantly to the spread of infections.

1. Hand hygiene

proper hand washingProper hand washing has been known to help prevent and control the spread of many illnesses. So, it is no surprise that better hand hygiene was the first port of call in the fight against COVID-19. Frequent hand washing and sanitisation means less chance of spreading the virus from one surface to another.

To ensure employees can practice good hand hygiene habits, equip your workplace with hand washing facilities, soap and alcohol-based hand sanitisers; along with clear communication on the best practices and effective hand sanitation techniques.

2. Cleaning and disinfecting

cleaning the office
As infectious agents are likely to spread through common surfaces, it is important to properly clean and disinfect workstations, communal areas, and high touch surfaces like door handles and light switches. Viruses tend to be more resistant to disinfectants, bleach and specially-formulated cleaning products have been known to eradicate germs from most surfaces.

3. Monitor surface contamination

Monitoring surfaces for COVID-19 contamination can help measure the effectiveness of cleaning routines as well as highlight the potential hotbeds for germs that require extra attention during the cleaning and disinfection processes.

With today’s technology, it is possible for you to analyse surface samples with a high degree of precision. PCR-based tests can not only provide quick and accurate results but also quantifiable data that provides deeper insight into potential contamination hotspots. Simply swab different areas of the site and determine the presence of COVID-19 particles using specially designed pathogen detection kits and a fast cycling qPCR unit.

4. Monitoring staff’s symptoms

Early COVID-19 symptoms are like that of the common cold, with fever being a primary marker. To ensure the safety of your staff, it is important to monitor these cold-like symptoms in everyone entering the building or certain areas on site. Using a remote IR thermometer to routinely monitor body temperature of every visitor and member of staff will not only help identify potential infections early but also allow those involved in recording these figures to do it safely from a distance.

5. PPE

Just like safetysafety gloves PPR gear is non-negotiable for many industries and hazardous tasks, personal protection equipment (PPE) will also have to become a staple when working in an environment with others. When we return to work, proper use of gloves, masks and other PPE can help minimise the spread of viral particles when we must work in a common area or in close proximity to others.

As the figures of the COVID-19 slowly start to decline, and we look forward to returning to our normal way of life, we must note that until a vaccine or another effective form of treatment against the pathogen is readily available, we are in danger of relapse. So, it is important for you to design and implement the right strategies and furnish your staff with the right tools to ensure everyone’s health and safety is protected until this pandemic has truly and completely passed.

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