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The spread of COVID-19 has been emotionally and physically challenging for several people in society. It has changed the daily lives of people across the globe in unpredictable ways. Every section of society, including employees and employers, have an important role to play in the midst of this pandemic. Each one has to protect not only themselves, but also others around them, in order to control the spread of this deadly disease.
Slowly, workplaces, including small offices and bigger corporations, are opening up to welcome back employees after a long haul. 'Work from home' became the new normal for many professionals around the world since the time the pandemic became a serious danger. Employers have been taking several comprehensive measures under the guidance of CDC (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention) to ensure that the workplace is completely safe for the employees to work in.
Before we delve into other general precautions and safety measures for the prevention of spread of COVID-19 workplaces, let’s talk about something very basic, yet essential-using a face mask. This is something that needs to be strictly followed by employees, employers, staff members and guests visiting the workplace.
A face mask is one of the key measures for suppressing the virus's transmission and saving lives. The use of a mask minimizes the potential risk of exposure from any infected individual, whether or not they showcase symptoms. It is very simple- those who wear masks stay protected and help protect others if infected.
At workplaces, masks need to be part of the comprehensive COVID-19 prevention strategy, besides the following:
There are different categories of masks recommended for different groups of workers. Those employed in the health industry, such as hospitals and clinics, must wear medical masks and use other critical protective equipment. Additionally, medical masks should also be worn by those who feel unwell and may show mild symptoms like slight cough, fatigue, muscle ache, or sore throat. People over the age of 60 years are also recommended to wear medical masks.
As for other workplaces, depending on the organisation's safety measures, workers and staff may use fabric or other non-medical masks.
Although administrative and engineering measures are more effective for minimizing the risk of infection spread, PPE kits can also play an important role in exposure prevention. PPE includes face masks, goggles, face shields, and gloves, among other things. When there is an outbreak like COVID-19, there might be a change in the recommendations for protective equipment at different workplaces basis risk assessment, geographic location and other such factors.
Face masks need to be selected based on the hazard faced by the worker at the workplace. They need to be properly fitted as well as periodically refitted.
Here are some measures that employers/administrative staff need to take concerning wearing masks at a workplace:
One of the best ways to organise a meeting at the workplace is to provide a briefing or information, both in writing and orally on COVID-19. Organizers also need to inform attendees about the measures being taken to make the meeting/event safe for them.
Here are a few varieties of masks that can be considered for wearing at the workplace:
This is one of the most commonly used face masks and comes with a nose clip and ear loops. It has three layers of protection and is hypoallergenic. The filtration efficiency of this mask is 95 percent and it is highly effective by virtue of being dustproof and anti-bacterial. These are single-use masks and need to be disposed off and not reused.
This mask is known to provide reliable and comfortable respiratory protection. It is ideal for hot and dusty workplaces where employees need to wear a mask for a longer duration of time. The 3M N95 mask has the 3M Cool Flow Exhalation Valve, which is designed to minimize heat build-up. The mask offers up to 95 percent filtration and has a two-strap design along with the dual-point attachment.
As the name suggests, this is a medical-grade protection mask made with soft, elasticated ear loops. It is made using 3-ply fabric and is ISO certified. The mask is disposable.
Procedural Mask Fasks with Earloops
Lumin UV Sterilizer Sanitizing Machine
HR Hand Sanitizer 3 gm Portable Packets
Nice'n Clean Baby Wipes (Unscented)
Berrcom Non-Contact Infrared Thermometer