This article has been medically approved by Pharmacist Sumaiya Patel - GPhC Reg No:2215078
With confirmed cases of COVID-19 on the rise, itís never been more important to ensure that you are doing everything you can to prevent the spread. If you are going into work, below is a handy checklist to keep you and your colleagues safe.
This checklist isnít exhaustive and you should follow any guidelines provided by your employer.
1. Do not go to work if you have symptoms
The main symptoms of COVID-19 are:
- A high temperature where you feel hot to touch on your chest or back
- A new, continuous cough where youíre coughing a lot for more than an hour, or 3 or mor coughing episodes in 24 hours (if you usually have a cough, it may be worse than usual)
- A loss or change to your sense of taste or smell. Things may smell or taste different, or you may be unable to smell or taste anything at all.
If you have any of the main symptoms of COVID-19, you should stay at home as per NHS guidance, and not have any visitors until you can get a test and receive the result. You should only leave your home to have a test. You can book a test at www.nhs.uk/coronavirus or call 119 if you donít have internet access. Everyone within your home and in your support bubble (people who you have met with but live outside of your household) must also stay at home until you have received your test result.
2. Wash hands thoroughly and regularly
Using soap and hot water, or hand sanitiser if these arenít available, you should regularly cleanse hands. Key times to wash your hands are:
- Before, during, and after preparing food
- Before eating food
- Before and after caring for someone at home who is sick with vomiting or diarrhoea
- Before and after treating a cut or wound
- After using the toilet
- After changing nappies or cleaning up a child who has used the toilet
- After blowing your nose, coughing, or sneezing
- After touching an animal, animal feed, or animal waste
- After handling pet food or pet treats
- After touching garbage
- After you have been in a public place and touched an item or surface that may be frequently touched by other people, such as door handles, tables, petrol pumps, shopping carts, or electronic cashier registers/screens, etc
- Before touching your eyes, nose, or mouth
For more information, check out our article on Proper Handwashing at Work.
3. Maintain social distancing
To maintain a social distance of 2 meters at work, you may need to work slightly differently. This may involve following a one-way system through the workplace, working at a different desk, or staggered start and finish times.
Where this isnít possible, there should be some form of barrier between you and your colleagues.
You should also avoid shaking hands or hugging others.
4. Avoid touching your face
COVID-19 is believed to be spread in 2 main ways: by infected droplets from coughing or sneezing that are then inhaled by others, and by touching a contaminated surface and then touching the eyes, nose, or mouth.
Itís difficult to stop yourself from touching your face, as this action is often unconscious, which is why keeping hands clean is so important.
5. Cough or sneeze into a tissue or your elbow
To prevent potentially contaminated droplets from being spread, you should cough or sneeze into a clean paper tissue or your elbow. The tissue should then be immediately thrown away and you should cleanse your hands.
6. Clean and disinfect surfaces often
The best way to ensure a surface has been properly cleaned and disinfected is to do it yourself. You should use a bleach-based or antibacterial cleaning fluid to clean surfaces before starting and after finishing your work.
Focus on: work surfaces like desks, platforms and workstations; handles on doors, windows, rails, dispensers and water coolers; vehicle handles, steering wheel, seat belts and internal surfaces; control panels for machinery, control pads and switches; computer keyboards, printers, touch screens, monitors and phones; shared equipment like tools, machines, vehicles, pallet trucks and delivery boxes; and post and goods coming in or being shopped out.
7. Gloves and masks donít make you invincible
You should follow any workplace guidance relating to the use of masks and gloves. You may also choose to wear them anyway. But, itís important to remember that these donít make you immune to the virus. All of the above should still be followed, and you should also wash/sanitise your hands before putting them on and after taking them off.