With the challenges presented by the COVID-19 outbreak, staying on top of your workplace health and safety responsibilities is more important than ever. To help keep your staff safe and healthy, here are some simple steps you can take to help mitigate risk to your business and your employees during the coronavirus pandemic.
1. Confidentially identify vulnerable staff members
The first step is to identify if any of your staff meet the ‘vulnerable group’ criteria. These people are:
- People over the age of 60;
- People with autoimmune diseases;
- People with a pre-existing chronic disease.
2. Have staff confidentially share their status
Ask your employees to declare if they are at risk or if they fit any of the guidelines to self-isolate. For example, has a staff member come into contact with any person diagnosed with coronavirus? Or, are they suffering from symptoms which include fever, coughing, sore throat, fatigue and shortness of breath?
3. Implement hygiene procedures
Implement hygiene procedures and ensure that all employees have access to facilities to wash their hands and/or are using preventative products such as hand sanitizer, antibacterial wipes or disinfectant spray.
4. Minimise access and person-to-person contact
Consider opportunities to minimise person-to-person contact. For example, reschedule any non-essential meetings and gatherings where possible and limit the number of onsite visitors. Staggering the times that field staff visit the office can also help your staff comply with social distancing requirements.
5. Monitor the situation and direct employees accordingly
Monitor the situation and government advice. Make sure your staff are complying with the procedures you have put in place, and those of the worksites they are visiting. And, keep your procedures compliant with regulations by staying up to date with the changing circumstances.
6. Implement disciplinary action
For employees who do not take the above seriously or are breaching your policies, there should be direct consequences. Make sure your staff are aware that due to the significance of this situation, disciplinary action will be taken if your policies are violated.
Keep up-to-date with the changing situation through reliable sources such as:
World Health Organisation
On this site, you will find:
- Situation reports;
- Advice on how to protect yourself;
- General worldwide information about COVID-19;
- Frequently asked questions and answers.
Unite against COVID-19
This New Zealand Government site is a dedicated resource for information on COVID-19. On this site, you will find:
- Information about the Alert Level;
- Information for employers, employees and essential businesses and services;
- Information sheets, updates, legal documents and government helplines.
Government helpline - 0800 779 997
Call this line if you are seeking information on coronavirus (COVID-19). The line operates 8am to 10pm, 7 days a week.
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