Organisations must be prepared and plan effectively and explain to employees how they will respond in the event of an outbreak of Coronavirus, IOSH vice-president Tim Eldridge said last week on BBC World News.
IOSH is working closely with the World Health Organization (WHO) to share latest information and guidance on the coronavirus and how to stay healthy at work.
Health care professionals are on the front line of any outbreak response and, as such, are exposed to hazards that put them at risk of infection, in this case, with coronavirus. Knowing the risks and taking precautions and preventative measures is a necessity.
WHO has put together important guidance for OSH and healthcare professionals entitled, “Coronavirus disease (COVID-19) outbreak: rights, roles and responsibilities of health workers, including key considerations for occupational safety and health”. This is available here.
Tim said: “It is important organisations support their workers during outbreaks such as coronavirus and do their best to take precautions to prevent exposure.
“Organisations must be prepared and plan effectively. They should also be transparent and explain to employees how they will respond in the event of an outbreak. Good personal hygiene, such as frequent hand-washing, can help to prevent the spread of pathogens such as coronavirus.”
IOSH recently shared guidance on how to protect travelling employees and how organisations can manage risk:
- To effectively manage travel risk you need to ensure you have proportionate and robust policies, procedures and controls in place.
- Consider whether the travel is absolutely necessary: can you achieve the same result with video conferencing and spare the organisation and traveller the risk, time, cost and environmental impact?
- If travel is deemed necessary then you need to effectively but proportionately manage the risk, with controls identified and implemented which reflect the nature and severity of the risk.
- You will always need to know where your workers are and where they are going.
- Should your travellers become involved in an incident or emergency situation, you need to have a means by which to provide support for them.
- You should also provide relevant information, instruction and training to travellers, the nature and extent of which should be identified during the risk assessment process.
- Finally, don’t forget your travellers’ mental health and wellbeing.
More advice is available here.