Infectious diseases pose a great threat to the workforce day in, day out, and have the capability to disrupt more than just business operations. Even in a “normal” year, we have to consider various “typical” illnesses and strive to mitigate transmission from one employee to another; but with COVID on our minds, the threat seems even higher. We are in the midst of an illness that can impact employees and their families, while also putting a temporary halt on our operations. For this very reason, taking proper preventative infection control measures is crucial.
Every year, we take preventative actions to protect ourselves and our organizations from illnesses such as the common cold, flu, and stomach viruses, but now we must continue to learn and ensure we are maintaining those best practices. In a matter of hours, one infected individual can pass an illness to hundreds, if not thousands depending on the scenario.
As the world is continually getting smaller, and people are continually becoming mobile, how can we mitigate risks? Even if we aren’t travelling, we are going into the workplace every day. How can we guarantee we aren’t spreading an illness?
Ultimately, even though our goal is keeping our workforce as healthy and safe as possible, it’s important we realize we cannot guarantee we will always be healthy and safe. Benjamin Franklin said it best, “An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.”
With that thought, how can we ensure our employees, and the organization itself, is protected?
Instilling proper training and awareness across the entire workforce is primary. We can’t just assume everyone knows proper mitigation techniques; our goal should be to ensure everyone knows, and understands, various techniques. From best practices of staying home when you are sick, to proper PPE donning and doffing, everyone needs to be versed on the value of this knowledge. Additionally, with some diseases, vaccinations and immunizations are available, and when they are it’s advisable to receive those treatments for preventative measures.
But there are other steps to remember in reducing the spread of infectious agents. A few of those are:
- Stay home when you are ill – don’t put others at risk of exposure. This is a crucial point to remember.
- Practice proper hand hygiene – wash hands thoroughly to prevent the spread of infection.
- Practice proper respiratory hygiene – cough into your elbow, not your hands.
- Don’t share items – passing around items that have been touched by an infected person can transfer the illness.
- Adhere to proper infection/exposure control precautions, in general.
- Travel wisely – don’t travel on public transportation, by rail or air when you’re ill. Many people confined in a small area for infectious agents.
These are just a few valuable steps to remember, but most importantly, do your research and stay abreast of pivotal procedures.
How Technology Can Help
SHE Software’s Health & Safety Management system, Assure, can help manage your infection control processes by completing and sharing relevant risk assessments, ensure training is completed, managing PPE, and recording and tracking incidents.