When we think about workplace health and safety, it is only natural that our minds might first go to the accidents and injuries that tend to dominate the topic most of the time. Slips, trips and falls, machinery accidents, and the like can all be very dramatic, but by focusing too much on these, we can miss the real risk of people who are getting sick because of the workplace. Here, we’re going to look at some of the ways you can prevent disease in yours.
From person to person
One of the predominant ways that disease is going to spread through the workplace is by traveling from person to person. Whether it’s seasonal viruses like the flu to more serious epidemics or pandemics, like coronavirus, a lot of workers and business owners have become a lot more cognizant of the importance of hygiene in the workplace. There are plenty of ways to improve hygiene, such as health policies that make sure that desks and keyboards are wiped down, hand sanitizer is made available, and the workplace is cleaned often. However, it’s just as important to be proactive with employees, letting them work from home by using remote working technologies if they are well enough to contribute outside of the office.
From materials in the workplace
It depends largely on where you work, but there are plenty of workplaces in which there are materials that can be contaminants that can lead to the spread of disease. There are a few ways to make sure that contact with these contaminants is limited, as well. For one, the provision of personal protective equipment like gloves, masks, and goggles is essential. There should also be set areas for dealing with any potentially unsafe work materials, as well as ways to safely get rid of them, like with organic and sharps waste removal. You should take the time to identify any unsafe materials and objects your team might come into contact with and put in place policies to help them deal with them as safely as possible.
From the workplace itself
It might be that the actual environment and the building itself, as well as the appliances in the workplace, could also make your team members sick. In most modern workspaces, things like lead paint and asbestos might not be much of an issue anymore, but you should check if you are working in an older building that has never been inspected for any traces of these health hazards. Otherwise, it might be worth investing in a close look at things like air quality if members of your team are getting sick. Ineffective, inefficient, or otherwise compromised HVAC appliances can lead to the spread or exacerbation of respiratory illnesses, for one.
You have as much of a responsibility to prevent the spread of disease to your employees, customers, and any others in the workplace as you do to prevent injury. Take the above tips to heart and think about any ways in which disease might have the wings to spread through your workplace.