Prevent the Spread of Viruses in the Workplace

The following tips can help your workforce reduce the risk of exposure to viruses. To learn more about our business response to COVID-19, visit https://www.afgroup.com/our-response-to-covid-19/.

These best practices have been developed from various sources and are intended to be used as resources only, and not to be relied upon as legal or official guidance. Individual companies are encouraged to refer to local and state requirements to determine the appropriate practices for their respective operations.

Additional Resources:

*New! Map: COVID Resources by State

(For best results view in Google Chrome.)

OSHA: www.osha.gov/coronavirus or 1-800-321-OSHA

NIOSH: https://www.cdc.gov/niosh/emres/2019_ncov.html

CDC: www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-nCoV/index.html

WHO: www.who.int/emergencies/diseases/novel-coronavirus-2019

Job Accommodation Network (JAN): https://askjan.org/

CPWR: https://www.cpwr.com/covid-19

AF Group Printable Resource: Returning to the Workplace – COVID-19 Precautions

Third Coast Underwriters: www.3cu.com/our-response-to-covid-19/

Infection Prevention Measures for all Industries

REOPENING AND DISINFECTION
Reopening your business to employees or the public requires a thorough plan for cleaning and disinfection. These resources can help you determine what to disinfect, what disinfectants to use and how often to disinfect.
  • CDC Reopening Guide – this web page provides a general framework for creating a cleaning and disinfection plan for your business (includes examples of frequently touched surfaces, instructions for cleaning soft surfaces like chairs and couches, etc.).
  • CDC Disinfection Flow Chart – use this flow chart to determine what should be cleaned and how, based on location, occupancy and type of material.
  • EPA-Registered Household Disinfectant List – this list contains products that meet the EPA’s criteria for use against the virus that causes COVID-19 – as well as the amount of time a surface should be visibly wet with each disinfectant.
SYMPTOMS AND HYGIENE
  • Monitor public health communications about COVID-19 recommendations for the workplace and ensure that workers have access to and understand that information.
  • Encourage workers to stay home if they are feeling sick, have a fever, cough or shortness of breath or have been exposed to viruses.
  • Survey applicants attending orientation about their wellbeing and any viral symptoms.
  • Encourage respiratory etiquette, including covering coughs and sneezes.
  • Promote frequent and thorough hand washing. Instruct employees to wash their hands with soap and water for at least 20 seconds or clean their hands often with an alcohol-based hand sanitizer that contains at least 60-95% alcohol.
  • Educate workers about current precautions being taken at their facility or job site and actions they can take to protect themselves.
  • Provide tissues, disinfectants and disposable towels that workers can use to clean high-touch work surfaces at the beginning and end of every shift, per CDC guidelines.
  • Use Environmental Protection Agency-approved cleaning chemicals from List N.
  • Discourage workers from sharing tools and equipment. Employees should especially not share headsets or other objects that are near their mouth or nose.
  • Install hands-free door opener devices on restroom doors.
  • Provide resources like helplines and Human Resources contacts for employees to manage their mental and emotional safety while working.
DISTANCING
  • Establish flexible work hours and allow office staff to work from home when feasible.
  • Limit employee access to areas outside of the departments they work in.
  • Encourage office employees to call coworkers on the phone, even if in the same department.
  • Utilize alternative modes of communication for meetings and training when possible.
  • Seek alternatives to physical punch cards and community pens for time clocks, roll call and other sign-in requirements.
  • Practice sensible social distancing and maintain six feet between co-workers where possible.
PERSONAL PROTECTIVE EQUIPMENT (PPE)
  • Provide or allow workers to wear personal protective equipment (PPE), like masks and gloves.
  • Train workers on how to properly put on, use/wear, take off and maintain protective clothing and equipment.

Industry-Specific Considerations

AGRIBUSINESS
Prevent the spread of virus in agribusiness:
  • Ensure enough hygiene stations are available in the fields, processing areas and animal processing facilities.
  • Enlarge seating room for break/lunch areas to encourage physical distancing. Remind employees to bring food/water bottles from home and to not share food/utensils.
  • Educate employees regarding health precautions enforced at job sites, as well as actions they can take to protect themselves.
  • Modify work schedules to stage/stagger work crews and reduce the total number of employees on a job site at any given time.
  • Require workers to maintain at least 6 feet in distance from one another.
  • Perform employee screenings daily – including temperature.
  • Ensure employees are equipped with proper PPE (face masks, gloves, etc.).
  • Seek alternative methods for time management to prevent close gathering and punching time clocks.
  • When buses are used for employee transportation to and from fields, require employees to sit in alternating rows, one person per seat. Ensure additional bussing is available.
  • Ensure farm equipment (tractors/implements) process equipment (sorters/boxers) or road vehicles are cleaned and sanitized before and after each shift.
  • Organize the placement of materials at the worksite to minimize movement and interactions.
  • Require delivery drivers to remain in their vehicle and utilize electronic shipping documents.
  • Discourage workers from sharing hand tools, power tools, measuring devices and other tools and equipment.
  • Encourage workers to change and wash their clothes when they get home from a job.
  • All community/commercial farms should be restricted to employees and maintenance personnel only.
  • Farms should not be open to public.
  • Employees must stay home if they feel sick or have been in contact with someone who has either tested positive for COVID-19 or has symptoms.
CONSTRUCTION CONSIDERATIONS
Prevent virus spread in construction:
  • Ensure enough handwashing/sanitizing stations are available at the worksite.
  • Educate workers about the current precautions being taken at job sites and actions they can take to protect themselves.
  • Modify work schedules to stage/stagger work crews and reduce the total number of employees on a job site at any given time.
  • Prior to residential/individual business service, ask customer screening questions about recent illness, symptoms and travel.
  • Consider submitting inspections, certifications, invoices, and other required documentation electronically.
  • Provide and encourage customer use of digital payment options.
  • Seek alternatives to physical punch cards/community pens for time clocks, roll call and other sign-in requirements.
  • Encourage workers to drive to worksites/parking areas alone instead of carpooling.
  • Minimize interactions when picking up or delivering equipment/materials.
  • Organize the placement of materials at the worksite to minimize movement and interactions.
  • Require delivery drivers to remain in their vehicle and utilize electronic shipping documents.
  • Discourage workers from sharing hand tools, power tools, measuring devices and other tools and equipment.
  • Disinfect all surfaces that are touched regularly, including vehicle/equipment interiors (steering wheel, gear shift, instrument panels, etc.) at the beginning and end of shifts.
  • Do not use a common water cooler.
  • Encourage workers to physically distance when they take breaks together, bring food and water bottles from home and to not share food/utensils.
  • Wear proper personal protective equipment (PPE), including masks, safety glasses and gloves.
  • Encourage workers to change and wash their clothes when they get home from a job.
  • If contracted to perform work in healthcare facilities, train your workers in Infection Control Risk Assessment (ICRA).
  • Consider implementing a work-hardening program with decreased hours to start with – as employees may be out of ‘working condition.’ Substitute safety training for remaining hours of the shift.
ENERGY

Prevent virus spread in oil and gas operations: 

  • Have an infection control plan. 
  • Ensure enough handwashing/sanitizing stations are available at the worksite. 
  • Educate workers about the current precautions being taken at job sites and actions they can take to protect themselves. 
  • Modify work schedules to stage/stagger work crews and reduce the total number of employees on a job site at any given time. 
  • Consider submitting inspections, certifications, invoices and other required documentation electronically. 
  • Seek alternatives to physical punch cards/community pens for time clocks, roll call and other sign-in requirements. 
  • Encourage workers to drive to worksites/parking areas alone instead of carpooling. 
  • Minimize interactions when picking up or delivering equipment/materials. 
  • Organize the placement of materials at the worksite to minimize movement and interactions. 
  • Require delivery drivers to remain in their vehicle and utilize electronic shipping documents. 
  • Discourage workers from sharing hand tools, power tools, measuring devices and other tools and equipment. 
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose and mouth. 
  • Employees must stay home if they feel sick or have been in contact with someone who has either tested positive for COVID-19 or has symptoms.   
  • Disinfect all surfaces that are touched regularly, including vehicle/equipment interiors (steering wheel, gear shift, instrument panels, etc.) at the beginning and end of shifts. 
  • Do not use a common water cooler. 
  • Encourage workers to physically distance when they take breaks together, bring food and water bottles from home and to not share food/utensils. 
  • Wear proper personal protective equipment (PPE), including masks, safety glasses and gloves. 
  • Encourage workers to change and wash their clothes when they get home from a job. 
  • Encourage employees to social distance when outside of work.
MANUFACTURING CONSIDERATIONS
Prevent virus spread in manufacturing:
  • Seek alternatives to physical punch cards/community pens for time clocks, roll call and other sign-in requirements.
  • Where social distancing is a challenge, consider limiting the duration of the activities, temporarily moving or repositioning workstations to create more distance, and/or installing plexiglass shields or other barriers between workstations.
  • Establish protocols for disinfecting shared workspaces.
  • Minimize interactions when picking up or delivering equipment or materials.
  • Organize the placement of materials in work areas to minimize movement.
  • Require delivery drivers to remain in their vehicle and utilize electronic shipping documents.
  • Wear proper personal protective equipment (PPE), including masks, safety glasses and gloves. Plumbers should also consider wearing a full-face shield.
  • Encourage workers to change and wash their clothes when they get home from a job.
  • Consider implementing a work-hardening program with decreased hours to start with – as employees may be out of ‘working condition.’ Substitute safety training for remaining hours of the shift.
  • Encourage workers to report any safety and health concerns.
TRANSPORTATION CONSIDERATIONS
Prevent virus spread in transportation:
  • Limit access to the maintenance facility and other departments only to employees who work in those areas.
  • Minimize interpersonal interaction by working with customers to allow drivers to remain in their vehicle during loading/unloading activities and by utilizing electronic shipping documents.
  • Provide and encourage the use of masks and gloves by drivers when at customer facilities.
  • Survey drivers attending orientation about their wellbeing and any viral symptoms.
  • Provide tissues, disinfectants and disposable towels that workers can use to clean office work surfaces and vehicle interiors (steering wheel, gear shift, instrument panels, etc.) at the beginning and end of every shift.

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