Step-By-Step Guide to Maintain Infectious Disease Control in Your Workplace April 15, 2020 – Posted in: Blog
The entire world is currently battling a global pandemic, and while it is mostly down to the individual to protect himself by practicing social distancing and following quarantine procedures, we, as employers have a bigger responsibility in ensuring that our workspace remains safe amidst the crisis. Hence, in this article, we are going to share with you ways of preventing illness in the workplace, how to prevent infectious diseases, as well as other tips on proper infectious disease control.
What Is Infectious Disease Control?
Before we move on further in the article, it’s important to get a good grasp of the subject of discussion first. What is infectious disease control, anyway? According to the World Health Organization, infection prevention and control, also known as IPC, is a method of cleaning and minimizing the spread of contagious disease.
Two troubling examples of infectious diseases are influenza (that has caused the death of millions in the 1900s) and the novel coronavirus that’s ravaging the world right now.
You might be wondering, though, how is infection spread? In fact, there are different ways of how this can happen. That depends on the germs that are causing the infection. However, a very common way for a contagious disease to spread, especially one that’s caused by a virus, is by cross-contamination through expelled bodily fluids such as the respiratory droplets we release when we cough or sneeze.
Why Is Infection Control so Important in the Workplace?
You can see now how fast an infection can spread especially in crowded places like a busy office space. This is the reason why infection control is critical. It will keep your workspace a safe and healthy place to work in.
Aside from that, it can also cost you a lot in terms of lower productivity levels and job satisfaction of your employees. Just imagine what an all-out infection can do to your employees and how it can damage your ROI if everyone got sick?
Infection Prevention and Control
Fortunately for us, there are various infection control measures that can help get rid of the lurking germs in the workplace. Allow us to share with you our tips, neatly divided into three categories.
Infection Control Plan
With an infection already happening outside, here are some workplace infection control procedures:
- Plan Accordingly. The first thing that you should do is to come up with an infection control plan. Involve your management team since they’ll be the ones working more closely with your employees and enforce your established workplace policies and procedures for infection control.
- Remove Common-Use Items. In relation to the previous tip, an infection can also spread by touching items that have been contaminated by other people. Hence, remove common-use items such as magazines and pens from your common rooms.
- Encourage Basic Etiquette. Another way of preventing the spread of infection is to encourage your employees to practice the basic etiquette of covering their mouths when they cough or sneeze by providing boxes of tissues and disinfectant wipes especially in common rooms where they interact with more people. At the same time, discourage them from sharing personal items like cups, glasses, and cutleries where they can easily transfer their respiratory droplets to other people.
- Basic Sanitation. The best way to prevent the spread of infection is to provide ways for your employees to rid themselves of germs by putting up clean handwashing facilities and sanitation stations equipped with alcohol or alcohol-based hand sanitizers.
- Basic Health Checks. Everyone must have their temperature checked before entering your facility. Anyone who is not feeling well, or doesn’t look well should be immediately sent home or to a health care facility depending on his state. Plus points if you can provide your employees with vitamin supplements as well in order to strengthen their immune system.
- Work Remotely. But, in the end, the most effective way to control the spread of infectious disease is to still let them all go home and simply let them work from there. If you really must require the attendance of a skeletal workforce to continue operations, then at least provide them with a mode of transportation instead of forcing them to take public transit where they’ll be exposed to other people that might be infected already.
Facility Cleaning and Disinfection
Now that your employees are working from home, this gives you the opportunity to clean your work facility and disinfect it so that it’s clean and ready to receive your employees once regular operations resume. There are two ways to go about this:
- Handle it yourself. First, you can let your existing maintenance staff perform the virus cleaning given that you’ll provide them with the necessary personal protective equipment and tools. You should focus on cleaning surfaces that have been the most exposed to contamination such as doorknobs, stair railings, elevator buttons, and the like.
- Seek professional help. Or second, you can seek the help of professional cleaning services equipped with handling infectious disease control instead. This is honestly what we recommend, especially for workplaces like hospitals and health care facilities that are significantly more exposed to diseases, contagious or not.
Effective Ventilation System and Air Quality
Finally, remember that some germs are airborne and they can survive being suspended in your facility for an extended time if you have poor indoor air quality and improper ventilation.
This is the perfect time to check if your ventilation systems work properly, as well as install equipment like air movers and air scrubbers to rid your indoor air from contaminants. Better yet, schedule your ventilation checks and indoor air cleaning procedures regularly not just during a pandemic or epidemic, but as part of your regular maintenance routine. In this way, you can prevent other indoor air pollutants from causing your employees other health problems as well.
By keeping the tips we have shared with you in mind, we are confident that you will be able to keep your employees safe from the novel coronavirus and other infectious diseases that we may encounter in the future. Stay healthy and keep safe!