Since the announcement of the COVID-19 pandemic, all employers have been required to develop programs that contain feasible means and methods to protect their employees from exposure to COVID-19 in the workplace. These programs and initiatives must be compliant with CDC Guidance as well as Orders and Guidance issued by the state and respective local regulatory and health authorities.

The standard processes for offices to operate in these new times are almost the same everywhere except for some hard-hit areas where these guidelines get a little more strict. We have closely studied CDC recommendations and below we are highlighting some important protocols for safe return to work. 

  1. Temperature Screening 

Fever is a primary symptom of COVID-19, temperature screening is an easy and effective measure to detect potential infection and minimize the spread of the virus.

CDC recommends that employees should be encouraged to proactively self-check their temperature prior to coming to the office or job site if they have concerns about the potential outcome of the on-site scan. 

Here are some temperature testing guidelines,

  1. If you have medics on-site, engage them in the planning and ask them to conduct the screening. Otherwise, train a few members of your staff to conduct the screening. 
  2. Multiple screening areas are recommended to be utilized and spaced out to follow social distancing guidelines.
  3. It is important that all access screening points should be kept at a warmer temperature as scanners and thermometers (in use) outside in colder conditions and wind will give false readings.
  4. PPE for anyone performing temperature scans must be compliant with PPE Protocols.
  5. Data collected must be kept confidential and restricted to Human Resources only.

After being scanned and allowed to enter, workers must proceed directly to the work area. Workers should be encouraged to also take additional precautions such as eating close to work areas while maintaining distance from others, using restrooms closest to work areas, etc. At the end of the day, they must leave the work site directly. 

  1. Personal Protective Equipment

PPE is a set of gadgets that provide additional protective layers to a person. It is recommended for employees above 45 years old and for those with underlying health conditions. Health care workers, essential workers and everyone that is extremely vulnerable to virus exposure must be provided with PPE. 

Here are Minimum COVID-19 PPE requirements:

  • Surgical mask and face shield with a goggle/spoggle* underneath or surgical mask and a goggle/face shield combo
  • If a face shield or goggle/face shield combo cannot be obtained then a KN95 or similar mask with goggle should be used
  • In addition, nitrile gloves under task-specific gloves are recommended but are optional

Mitigation Measures at Work Sites:

The following actions are mandatory for all projects in order to reduce the risk of contracting or spreading Coronavirus (COVID-19).

  1. Increased Physical Distancing

Limit the size of gatherings and maintain a six-foot distance from each other.

  1. Sick Employees to Stay Home 

Remind everyone to stay home when they first feel sick. Report any confirmed or presumed positive COVID-19 diagnosis to local health authorities. 

  1. Enhanced PPE

Everyone must wear PPE including a cloth face covering over their mouth and nose.

  1. Cleaning and Disinfecting

Practice routine cleaning of frequently touched objects and surfaces. 

  1. Health and Hygiene

Encourage employees to eat healthily, sleep well, exercise, and wash their hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds. 

  1. Sneeze Guard/PLEXIGLASS Barriers 

Work stations must be separated with sneeze guards and Plexiglass barriers as they prevent the spread of respiratory droplets produced by coughing or sneezing.