Workplace Safety Measures to Observe During this Return to Work

As the administration deliberates the possibility of lifting the Enhanced Community Quarantine this month of May, it is important for all companies to create a safety guideline and protocol for the prevention of the probable transmission of Covid-19 as employees are required to report to their respective workplaces.

Here is a guide for you to consider:

Personal and Community Responsibility

1. Encourage everyone (especially your family and friends) to follow these principles every day.
2. Stay updated and educated about the Covid-19 happenings.
3. Take responsibility – it is only if the community acts together that we can make this work.
4. Take this matter seriously!

The Management’s General Responsibility

1. Appoint a Covid-19 Safety Officer.
2. Provide employees with sufficient and accurate information about Covid-19.
3. Display infographics or posters promoting hand-washing and other hygienic activities that should be done in the office. You may look for the standard guidelines in World Health Organization’s website,
4. Have a standard protocol on how to handle employees who are feeling unwell and are showing symptoms of Covid-19.
5. Still consider work-from-home setup, if possible, depending on the company’s operation.
6. If employees are commuting, reinforce the requirement to maintain social distancing while commuting.  You may wish to consider a shuttle service if affordable.
7. Remember to reinforce social distancing as employees will be excited to leave lockdown and meet and greet their colleagues.
8. Provide contactless Time and Attendance such as mobile app to prevent a contamination point.
9. Close company provided canteen and encourage employees to bring Baon (Lunch).  No eating at desks to help prevent sharing of food etc.

Things to consider inside the Workplace

1. Make sure that the working areas are clean and hygienic. Surfaces like desks, tables, cabinets, lockers, and office devices such as computers, telephones, etc. must be wiped with disinfectant regularly.
2. Doors, floors, pantries, Toilets, faucets etc. must be regularly cleaned. If possible use a product like Scentsor N 9 to disinfect doors and handles etc. as it has a better residual effect than alcohol or bleach.
3. Employees should not share things like pens, computers mugs, etc unless they have been disinfected.
4. Consider a disinfectant bath or mat at the front door.
5. Place alcohol or sanitizing hand rub dispensers in prominent places around the office.
6. Supply employees with disposable masks, tissues, soaps, disinfectants, and other necessary equipment to observe cleanliness and safety.  If supplies are hard to source, ask employees to bring from home to help.
7. Ensure that employees are following the social distancing policy. A minimum space of 1.5 metres between each other should always be observed. Or the 4 m3 policy.  Minimize close physical contact as much as possible.
8. Possible change of shirt for those who commute to help prevent inffection coming into workplace.

Hygiene principles

1. A 20-second handwash practice should be promoted. Use enough soap and hand sanitizer before and after any contact with surfaces and devices used by other employees.
2. Discourage handshaking, for now. It may be a normal and involuntary response especially in corporate, but we should take extra precautions.
3. Avoid touching your face. Cough and sneeze into a tissue or into your elbow.
4. Always check every employee’s temperature on their arrival at the office.
5. Avoid sharing cups, utensils, and other personal equipment.
6. If you leave the office and return, ensure that you wash and disinfect again.

This is meant as a guideline only.  There will be many other things that are specific to your work place and will need to be added.  Please feel free to email me at any other suggestions that could be added to this list to assist our HR brethren to make a success of this return to work process.

Thank you

George Coles
SunFish DataOn Philippines Inc