With the majority of workers set to return to work on Monday, 1 June 2020, how can you best protect yourself under lockdown level-3 regulations?
We know all about wearing a mask and washing our hands, but do you know the what and the why of it?
Personal Protective Equipment (PPE)
WHAT: Wearing of a mask in public is a must. You can combine it with a face screen for extra protection when you are more susceptible to the virus, like the over 60’s and those of all ages who have underlying comorbidities, especially if not well-controlled.
WHY: Covering your mouth and nose is an important measure that prevents the transfer of small particles of saliva that may contain the coronavirus from one person to another by hard breathing or coughing. It is recommended that one person has at least 2 face masks that can be alternated so that there is time to wash and disinfect the ones that have been worn.
WHAT: Social distancing serves the same purpose as wearing a mask, but with the added precaution of maintaining a safe physical distance.
WHY: The coronavirus rapidly transfers from one person to another and with so many co-workers returning to work after at least 66 days in lockdown, many may be tempted to engage in extended handshakes, hugs or even kiss each other at being reunited. UASA advises its members to refrain from any physical contact with any person for health and safety reasons. Some people might be asymptomatic, which means they may be unaware they carry the coronavirus because they don’t show any symptoms. Hugging, kissing or handshakes may result in the spread of the virus to unsuspecting co-workers.
Social distancing must be practised in all common areas in and around the workplace to prevent crowding, including workspaces, canteens and meeting rooms.
WHAT: Self-screening at home before you leave your home to go to work is strongly advised. Self-screening involves checking yourself for any of the following symptoms:
- Dry cough
- Body aches and pains
- Difficulty breathing or shortness of breath
WHY: Upon leaving your home you will share spaces with scores of other people during the day, like on public transport and in the workplace. Failure to self-screen puts you and others at risk. If you are experiencing any of the above symptoms do not leave your home but contact your local healthcare practitioner without delay.
Do not visit your doctor in person unless you have been advised by a healthcare professional that your symptoms are not Covid-19 related.
Sanitisers and disinfectants
WHAT: Regularly wash and sanitise your hands if you have been in contact with surfaces such as doors, table surfaces, taxi doors, canteen counters, and others.
WHY: The coronavirus is known to survive on surfaces, just like some other viruses. Although employers are required toprovide sufficient quantities of hand sanitiser with an alcohol content of at least 70%, it is wise to have your own personal sanitisers and disinfection products with you at all times. While at work, communal and shared equipment must be regularly cleaned and disinfected.
Remember that the burden to remain safe and protected from the coronavirus lies entirely with ourselves. It all depends on how we behave as responsible humans and colleagues.
Let us all work together to prevent the spread of Covid-19.
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