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Manage COVID-19 Breakout in Business

Take all preventive measures and prepare for an outbreak of coronavirus in your company. Learn how to monitor and manage the different controls more easily with digital checklists.

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Manage Coronavirus Outbreak in Companies With Checklists

The corona pandemic is a severe blow to the global economy. Despite the gradual easing in individual countries, the circumstances have a lasting impact on the world of work. Companies are confronted with uncertainties they were not aware of before. Many companies have adapted their processes in order to remain capable of acting and working in the "new normality".

Having a working business plan during the pandemic is extremely valuable as it allows for flexibility in responding when an outbreak occurs within companies. The following are steps that any company can take to manage one outbreak and prevent another.

This item informs about the following steps:

1. Develop a pandemic plan for infectious diseases

2. Develop basic infection prevention measures

3. Support employees in the new situation

4. Develop procedures for suspected cases

5. Introduce procedure for controlling the workstation

6. Follow advices

7. Use digital offers

Two colleagues greet each other with elbows

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#1: Develop a pandemic plan for infectious diseases

Some companies already have a pandemic plan in place in response to a wave of influenza. These only need to supplement their contingency plans in view of the specific nature of the COVID-19 virus. For others, however, pandemic planning has not been a major issue. Only now are they realising how important such a plan is.

To manage a COVID-19 outbreak in the company, such a plan should be in place. It is based on available guidance, information and recommendations from federal, state and local health authorities. Careful consideration is given to how these can be integrated into the various workplaces and work tasks of the company.

The following factors should be taken into account in a pandemic plan:

  1. Sources of COVID-19 to which employees may be exposed (e.g. the general public, customers, other employees, etc.)
  2. Non-occupational risk factors at home and in the community
  3. Individual risk factors of the employees (e.g. age, chronic diseases, etc.)
  4. Necessary controls to manage risks

It helps to use checklists to identify risk factors and implement measures. In this way, procedures and stages of completion can be easily traced. The following four checklists are helpful in drawing up and reviewing a pandemic plan:

  1. Cleaning Checklist Workplace
  2. Checklist for Social Distancing
  3. Checklist for Implementation of Measures
  4. Checklist for the Temperature Test

#2: Develop basic measures for infection prevention

It is important to prevent a coronavirus outbreak in the company, to introduce good hygiene and infection control practices among employees. Preventive measures provide security and ensure the well-being of employees. Preventive measures include:

  • Encouraging employees to stay at home in case of illness.
  • Wash your hands frequently and thoroughly with soap and water and use hand disinfectant with at least 60% alcohol.
  • Keeping the sneezing label in place by covering the nose and mouth when sneezing and coughing.
  • Additional protection through the use of fabric masks.
  • Establishing guidelines and best practices for flexible workplaces and working hours.
  • Use of strategies for social distancing.
  • Introduction of regular cleaning routines and disinfection of surfaces, equipment and other elements in the workplace, especially those that are frequently touched.

#3: Support employees in the new situation

Supporting employees during the pandemic can minimise the negative consequences for the company, the employees and their families. When employees return to work, employers must establish protection and hygiene measures to prevent a coronavirus outbreak in the company. Only in this way can business operations be maintained in the "new normality". It is the task of employers to ensure flexibility and protection in the workplace.

A good example is to encourage sick employees to stay at home. Flexible policies for sick leave and home office can also be introduced. Employers should also inform their employees appropriately about the new situation at work. To do this, they can provide training and information for the various work functions to ensure that they are carried out by COVID-19's health and safety guidelines.

#4: Develop procedure for suspected cases

It is important to identify and isolate potentially infected individuals early, to manage a COVID-19 outbreak in businesses. This is the only way to ensure the protection of employees, customers, visitors and other people on site. Employers should be proactive and take the following measures:

  • Introduce a health monitoring system to check employees and others for symptoms of COVID-19 on arrival and departure from the workplace.
  • Establish a notification procedure in case someone is identified as sick and shows symptoms of COVID-19
  • Provide a room with closed doors to isolate suspected cases of infection from the other employees until they can safely leave the company premises.

#5: Implement procedure for controlling the workstation

The experience from previous risk assessments shows that it is important to control hazards in the workplace and to remove them systematically. However, during a COVID-19 outbreak in business, it may not be possible to eliminate the hazard. Therefore employers should take the following protective measures in advance:

Technical Protective Measures - these have little effect on the behaviour of the workers, but reduce the exposure to hazards. These include physical barriers, highly efficient air filters or protective windows in customer areas.

Administrative Measures - these include changes to work policies or procedures to reduce or minimise the risk. These may include staggered shifts, training, home office, and the discontinuation of unnecessary business travel.

Safe Working Practices - these include procedures for safe and proper working to reduce the duration, frequency or intensity of exposure to a hazard. These include, for example, distance rules and hand hygiene.

Personal protective equipment (PPE) - this measure (e.g. gloves, goggles, face protection, etc.) is considered to be the most effective, as it not only minimizes exposure but also prevents certain exposures. However, PPE should not replace other preventive measures.

#6: Follow advice

Not every industry requires the same hygiene requirements and protective measures. Therefore, federal, state and local authorities offer industry-specific advice to help them work safely. These can change and adapt again and again, so employers must keep up to date throughout the pandemic. Policies should always be carefully reviewed to ensure the safety of employees, customers and other stakeholders.

Two colleagues keep distance at work

#7: Use digital offers

The COVID-19 pandemic changes from time to time. Without an effective vaccine, the increase in infection numbers is a constant risk. Establishing a secure business plan will help to significantly reduce the severity of the risks in the workplace caused by the pandemic and the follow-up costs for companies.

A digital solution, such as Lumiform's mobile app, makes it easier to monitor preventive and protective measures. Any kind of quality and safety inspection is performed by authorized personnel simply by tablet or smartphone - online or offline. Check lists for all necessary measures are created with the desktop software. The data collected on site can then be easily evaluated. This significantly reduces the risk of quality losses, work stoppages, documentation errors and damage to reputation.

The advantages of the app and desktop software for the COVID-19 measures at the workplace at a glance:

  • Always get an overview of what is happening on site.
  • Increase the efficiency of internal processes: Through more efficient communication within the team, with third parties and with management, as well as faster reporting of incidents, incidents are solved up to 4 times faster than before.
  • Reports are created automatically - this saves the complete postprocessing.
  • Comprehensive analyses help to uncover problem areas in the company more quickly and thus to continuously improve audit processes.
  • The very simple operation offers no margin for error for inspectors on site. The app offers less complexity in documenting or filling out checklists than complicated paper or Excel lists.

Lumiform has compiled templates relevant to COVID-19 containment to support entrepreneurs. They can be used to ensure the safety and health of employees, customers and other stakeholders. The templates can be easily and immediately adapted to the needs of a business.

Hand desinfection

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