The following tips include external advice from the World Health Organisation, National Governments in each of our markets and medical provider International SOS.
COVID-19 has now officially been declared a pandemic as the number of infections has escalated around the world. At present, many workplaces are still open for business as usual, so as a precaution, here is some guidance on how to approach concerns surrounding coronavirus at work.
External people attending your workplace
A considerable number of interviews, meetings and gatherings in the workplace have already been postponed as precaution, but as some may still be taking place, follow the below tips to stay safe:
- Meeting organisers should confirm with external attendees prior to the meeting that they have not visited any of the current restricted areas within the last 14 days.
- Have hand sanitiser / hand washing facilities available for all external visitors.
- Avoid handshakes at all costs.
Travelling on company business
In general, insurance companies and airlines act on advice released by The Foreign Office (FCO), along with other governing bodies. Once advice is made public by officials and released into the public domain for people to follow, it is both yours and your employer’s responsibility to act accordingly. If you or your company go against advice released to the public, especially in the case of a global pandemic, you risk invalidating your insurance policy in both financial and health circumstances.
Currently, The Foreign Office (FCO) is advising UK nationals against all but essential international travel, due to an increase in the number of border closures and other travel restrictions globally. This advice, took immediate effect from March 2020, for an initial period of 30 days, with possible more updates to arise.
Employees returning from travel
Any employee returning from mainland China, South Korea, Italy or other countries labelled as high risk, should self-contaminate even if they don’t have symptoms for a minimum of 14 days.
- Employee should advise their manager at the earliest opportunity in line with normal absence procedures.
- Employee should self-isolate and absent from work for the 14-day monitoring period.
- Employee should follow the medical guidance provided and keep in regular contact with their manager and agency in line with normal absence procedures.
Keeping safe in the workplace
It is important that employees follow the basic hygiene standards and avoid close contact with anyone with a fever or cough to reduce the likelihood of spreading any airborne virus.
Recommended basic ways to stay safe in the workplace:
- Stop handshaking – use other noncontact methods of greeting.
- Clean hands at all arrivals and exits, and schedule regular handwashing reminders.
- Create habits and reminders to STOP touching your face (eyes, mouth, nose).
- Disinfect surfaces regularly with disinfectants and sanitiser containing over 60% alcohol.
- Increase fresh air ventilation by opening windows and turning off air conditioning.
- Limit sharing of personal items including mobile phones, stationery and food.
- Use videoconferencing when possible.
- Use online transactions when possible.
When to know if you or your colleague should self-isolate:
- If you are experiencing symptoms.
- If you have been exposed to someone who is self-isolating or has been officially diagnosed.
- If you, or someone you have encountered has been to a high-risk area/country.
- If you have been recommended to self-isolate by a medical or governing body.
Initially, if you live alone, self-isolation should last a period of 7 days. If you live with others, your whole household should isolate for 14 days. If at this point you are still experiencing symptoms, you should call 111 for further instruction.
Employees who are self-isolating should engage with their line manager at the earliest opportunity in line with normal absence reporting procedures.
For more guidance on Coronavirus (COVID-19), please click here.