Business owners and managers have a responsibility to help protect their employees from contracting infectious diseases. In 2020, that unfortunately includes the COVID-19 virus. But even if you’ve done everything right, there’s still a chance an employee could bring the virus into your workplace.

So how can you get your team back to work as quickly and safely as possible when a COVID-19 outbreak occurs? The CDC has laid out several guidelines to help us navigate these murky waters.

Encourage Sick Employees to Stay Home

Anyone showing symptoms of COVID-19 should avoid going anywhere, let alone work. It is important for infected persons to rest and recuperate, but also to avoid spreading the illness. If the outbreak is severe and proper social distancing is not possible, it may be necessary to temporarily halt operations. We encourage you to consult your workers’ compensation specialist to determine the right course of action.

Before allowing the employee to return to work, they will need to follow the CDC’s recommended steps. To make the Return to Work process simpler, sure to download Advanced Urgent Care & Occupational Medicine’s COVID-19 Return to Work Checklist.

Perform Daily Health Checks

It may sound like a lot of work, but daily health checks are one of the most effective means of protecting your workplace from a COVID-19 outbreak. Either virtually or in-person, health checks can be as simple as temperature screenings and asking employees to evaluate how they are feeling. Perform health checks in a way that maintains social distancing, and be sure to keep screenings as private as possible to avoid stigmas in the workplace.

Educate Your Employees

Make sure your employees are aware of your policies regarding COVID-19. Your guidelines should include the following:

  • Wash hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds. Use hand sanitizer if you are unable to wash hands. Employees should wash their hands before and after a shift, after coughing or sneezing, or after touching ones face.
  • Cover your mouth when you cough or sneeze, and dispose of any tissue used immediately. Be sure to wash your hands afterward as well.
  • Avoid sharing equipment, especially PPE. All surfaces, spaces and equipment that are shared should be disinfected thoroughly before another employee uses them.
  • Practice social distancing by avoiding large gatherings and maintaining 6 feet of distance from others when possible

Take Action Immediately if an Employee Becomes Sick

A sick employee should immediately exit the workplace to avoid infecting other employees. Keep a close eye on other employees to ensure they have not been infected as well. In most cases, shutting down your facility is not necessary, but you should close off any areas used for prolonged periods by the infected person.

Wait 24 hours before cleaning and disinfecting to minimize the risk of other employees being exposed to the virus. Follow the CDC’s cleaning and disinfecting guidelines.

Get Guidance with Workplace Coronavirus Prevention

If you still have questions, be sure to contact your workers’ compensation provider to better understand COVID-19 in the workplace. 2020’s coronavirus pandemic has unfortunately had a severe impact on many businesses, but Advanced Urgent Care & Occupational Medicine is committed to helping employers navigate the challenges related to COVID-19.