In 2002, an awareness campaign was initiated by the International Labor Organization (ILO) to highlight the need for occupational safety and health at the workplace. The campaign dedicated April 28 as World Day for Safety and Health at Work and this year the theme is ‘Safety and Health at Work can save lives.’ According to a statement by the UN published in their website, “Recognizing the great challenge that governments, employers, workers and whole societies are facing worldwide to combat the COVID-19 pandemic, the World Day for Safety and Health at Work will focus on addressing the outbreak of infectious diseases at work, in particular, on the COVID-19 pandemic.”
While the world is fighting against the dreaded pandemic, we also must make sure that we stay safe. And here are a few ways to ensure your safety and health at the workplace during the lockdown.
Wash hands frequently or use a hand sanitizer
Ever since the news about the pandemic broke, everyone has been repeatedly highlighting the importance of washing hands or using a sanitizer with more than 70% alcohol content. This is not a vector or airborne disease. Coronavirus spreads mainly by droplets produced through coughing or sneezing by a COVID-19 infected person. This can happen in two ways: direct close contact or indirect contact. One can get Coronavirus by touching any infected surface or cloth and then touching one’s mouth, nose or eyes. However, if you wash your hands with soap for 20 seconds or more, you will kill the virus. Therefore it is advised to wash your hands frequently and avoid touching your mouth, eyes, nose or ears.
Maintain social distancing and avoid crowded place
Those who have to still attend office during the lockdown should practice social distancing at the workplace. If you work in an enclosed space with many people, request your organisation to allow only as many people as possible to maintain social distancing. Make sure that you maintain a distance of minimum one meter with your immediate colleague. Also, avoid meetings and get-togethers and whenever possible insist on online meetings, webiners etc.
Cover your mouth and nose while coughing or sneezing
As we have already mentioned that coronavirus spreads mainly by droplets produced through coughing or sneezing by a COVID-19 infected person, you must cover your mouth and nose while coughing or sneezing. You can use a tissue or handkerchief to do so; in case you do not have a tissue paper or a handkerchief you can cough or sneeze into the crook of your elbow. Remember, other’s safety is your responsibility too.
Besides following these three steps in office, employees should also get themselves tested as soon as they see any symptoms like low fever, dry cough, etc. of Coronavirus. However, it is not only the employees’ responsibility to stay safe and healthy at work; it is imperative that organisations or offices, both private and public, should take adequate measures to protect their employees and clients. Companies should identify solutions to introduce safety features at the workplace; implement social distancing among employees by allowing only an adequate number of staff; provide hygienic and safe mode of transportation for employees; provide gears and tools for those who are working among infected people or taking care of them etc.
It is not just one person’s responsibility to keep everyone safe and healthy at the workplace. It is our duty to stay safe and healthy and by doing so we can protect others too.