As lockdown measures across the U.K. have now started to ease, more and more businesses have begun to get back to work.
However, with the number of confirmed coronavirus cases across the country being a staggering 297K, deaths being 45,554, as we slowly start to get back to the office, employees returning to work have been urged to take a number of steps to help prevent the virus from spreading as much as possible.
We spoke to Trovex, a company who has been specialising in hygienic solutions for 20 years, to get their expert insight.
How Is COVID-19 Spread?
In order to help prevent coronavirus infections, it’s firstly important to understand how it spreads. COVID-19 is spread when an infected individual either coughs or exhales, releasing infected droplets of fluid. These droplets then either fall onto nearby surfaces (which are subsequently picked up by those coming into contact with the surface) or can also be breathed in by those within a 1-metre proximity to the infected individual.
Whilst the World Health Organization (WHO) claims that most people infected with the virus recover having only experienced mild symptoms, there are some who become very ill from the infection, and require medical attention. The WHO state: “Risk of serious illness rises with age: people over 40 seem to be more vulnerable than those under 40. People with weakened immune systems and people with conditions such as diabetes, heart and lung disease are also more vulnerable to serious illness.”
Although many may not be part of this vulnerable category, they could spread the virus to those who are, meaning the spread must be prevented at all costs.
As businesses across the U.K. slowly begin to return to their offices, employees everywhere have been urged to take preventative measures to help slow COVID-19’s spread, including the following:
Ensuring a Clean and Hygienic Workplace
As COVID-19 can be spread via surfaces, one priority for those returning to work is to ensure that the workplace is clean and hygienic, helping to prevent the virus’s spread. This includes wiping down surfaces regularly with disinfectant, including desks, tables, door handles, phones – anything employees will regularly come into contact with.
Ensuring that all surfaces are disinfected frequently can minimise the chances of COVID-19 spreading.
Self-Isolating When Necessary
Employees have also been urged to stay at home and self-isolate when displaying symptoms of COVID-19, even when as mild as a small cough or a low-grade fever. By reducing the amount of contact infected people have with others (e.g. on the commute to work or throughout the workplace) employees can subsequently reduce the amount of people at risk of being infected with the virus, ultimately slowing the spread.
Practicing Good Respiratory and Hand Hygiene
Another key practise employees returning to work have been encouraged to do is to exercise both respiratory and hand hygiene. As COVID-19 is spread through fluids produced as a consequence of coughing or exhaling, it’s become vital to prevent these droplets from reaching others as much as possible.
This can be achieved through respiratory hygiene – including wearing face masks, having paper tissues made available for people to catch coughs and sneezes in, and disposing of these safely in closed bins.
In addition to this, it’s also become important to practise good hand hygiene. If COVID-19 is picked up by the hands, a person can become infected when touching either their eyes, nose or mouth with this hand.
Regular, thorough hand-washing has become a must by everyone, particularly employees coming into contact with multiple people throughout the day, and includes using hand sanitiser to disinfect the hands regularly, as well as washing the hands properly with soap and water.