When it comes to protecting your employees, screening workers for COVID-19 symptoms like using temperature checks is a strategy that companies can use to determine if an employee has signs of COVID-19.
However, temperature screening alone will not be sufficient. Additionally, employers should follow the CDC guidelines and inform employees to perform a self-assessment to determine if they exhibit any coronavirus symptoms.
It is important to note that not all infected individuals with COVID-19 (SARS-CoV-2) will show symptoms. Therefore, relying only on daily screenings can have shortcomings.
As a result, daily screenings should be used in addition to other safety measures. Safety measures such as:
- Ensuring employees and all individuals in the workplace maintain at least six feet social distancing;
- Wash hands frequently for at least 20 seconds with soap;
- Avoid touching face area with unwashed hands;
- Frequent office or facility cleaning using EPA registered disinfectants; and
- Arranging the workplace to encourage social distancing.
The difficulty of employee COVID-19 screening depends on the type of facility and the risk of a COVID-19 spreading among employees. When implementing a screening process, OSHA recommends the following:
- Process for screening employees before entering the work area; (this can include asking employees to screen themselves and take their temperatures before entering the work area).
- There is a process for excluding or removing a sick individual from the workplace (this includes any asymptomatic individual that has tested positive for COVID-19).
- A return-to-work process and criteria based on local health department and CDC guidelines.
- OSHA states that the process for screening workers must be applied equally, without discrimination based on race, national origin, sex, age, disability, or other protected characteristics.
When employers opt to implement a daily screening or monitoring program, the process should be coordinated, when appropriate, with the local public health department and healthcare professional.
Wearing a mask can offer some protection to you and other individuals.
The COVID-19 virus spreads mainly by respiratory droplets. Respiratory droplets can travel through the air when an individual cough, sneezes, talks, or yells. These droplets can then land in the mouth or in the noses of individuals who are in close contact- less than 6 feet.
Research has shown that wearing a mask is a simple barrier that can help prevent an individual’s respiratory droplets from reaching others. When masks are worn, it must cover the nose, mouth and fit snugly.
Employers should ensure that employees wear a mask, even when they do not feel sick. Studies have shown that not everyone infected with COVID-19 will develop symptoms (asymptomatic).
Individuals who are not yet exhibiting symptoms (pre-symptomatic) can still spread the virus to others. Wearing a mask helps protects other individuals if you are infected and not showing symptoms.
Types of masks or facial covering
- Cloth masks
- Non-medical disposable masks
- Masks with exhalation valves or vents: CDC does not recommend using masks with exhalation valves or vents because they do not stop the spread of respiratory droplets
- Surgical masks and respirators: Surgical masks worn by medical personnel. Respirators work by medically cleared individuals and workers.
- Transparent masks with the plastic panel: used by individuals that interact with:
- Deaf or individuals that are hard of hearing
- Young children or students learning to read
- People with disabilities
- Mask must be worn at work sites, offices, and any public setting while working.
- Wear masks with two or more layers to stop the spread of COVID-19;
- Wear the mask over your nose and mouth and secure it under your chin;
- Masks should NOT be worn by people who have trouble breathing or people who cannot remove the mask without assistance;
- Fabric face coverings should be laundered daily;
- Do not wear masks with ventilation valves- this will not prevent the spread of COVID-19;
- Discard face coverings that are no longer close-fitting and worn out
COVID-19 PREVENTION SIGNS (Can use any company-specific sign for Covid-19 safety)
- Signs will be posted at all entry doors in office and worksite areas – when applicable.
- Signs should indicate masks are required inside this facility – or use other materials provided by the Alberta Health Services;
- Post social distancing signs in prominent areas;
- Hand washing signs in bathrooms, break rooms, and other prominent locations;
- Post-Stay Home if your sick poster at prominent locations in offices and on work areas.
Cleaning must be completed in the office areas two times daily.
- Wear disposable gloves and eye protection to clean and disinfect areas.
- Clean surfaces using soap and water, then use disinfectant.
- Cleaning with soap and water reduces the number of germs, dirt, and impurities on the surface. Disinfecting kills germs on surfaces.
- Clean frequently touched surfaces and objects in public places, such as sitting area chairs, tables, or other items in lobby areas.
- Clean high touch surfaces that include:
- Tables, doorknobs, light switches, countertops, handles, desks, phones, keyboards, toilets, faucets, sinks, etc.
- Disinfect and sanitize areas in offices regularly.
- Always follow the instructions on the label to ensure the safe and effective use of the product When disinfecting surfaces:
- Keep the surface wet for some time (see product label).
- Wear rubber gloves, eye protection, and face covering
- Ensure the area has adequate ventilation when using the product.
- Use no more than the amount recommended on the label
- Use water at room temperature for dilution (or as directed on label)
- NEVER mix chemical products
- Label diluted cleaning solutions
CLEANING TOOLS, PPE AND EQUIPMENT
- Equipment such as ladders, scaffolds, spray rigs, and other handheld tools used by employees and other devices such as drills, extension poles, shared paintbrushes should be cleaned regularly.
- Tools shared between individuals will receive a thorough cleaning with a disinfectant containing more than 70% alcohol is recommended.
- Clean tools and all PPE frequently (e.g., hardhat and glasses).
- Before removing glasses, hardhats, and/or face shields, make sure to wash your hands with soap and water for at least 20 seconds.
Safe Workplace Practices
- Sick employees or those that show signs of COVID-19 should stay home
- Avoid sharing tools and equipment unless items have been sanitized between each use.
- Employees should not touch their faces, including their eyes, noses, and mouths until they have thoroughly washed their hands.
- During work shifts, wash hands frequently with soap and water for a minimum of 20 seconds. When soap and water are not readily available, use an 60-70% alcohol-based hand sanitizer.
- Always maintain social distancing of at least 6 feet separation.
- Avoid close contact with sick individuals.
- Always wear face masks.
- Wear PPE when cleaning and disinfecting surfaces.
- When in vehicles, face-covering must be worn.