Continuously keeping your workforce safe and healthy is crucial if you want employees to keep or start working. Checking each employee just once isn’t enough, but what is enough? We’ve designed a guide below to help you figure out exactly when, how and in what scenarios you should be testing workers. To start, the entire company should check themselves before coming into work to ensure they don’t have any symptoms.
Daily Self-Screening Protocol
The Daily Self-Screening Protocol is designed to prevent sick or symptomatic employees from leaving their homes and decrease the likelihood of spreading infection at work.
- If the employee does not recognize symptoms in their Daily Self-Screening and:
- If the employee is deemed symptomatic upon reporting to work, reference the On-Site Health Screening Protocol.
- If the employee is deemed symptomatic during the employee’s shift or after the employee has spent any time in the facility (after the On-Site Health Screening), reference the Isolation Protocol.
- If the employee is confirmed positive for COVID-19 by a medical professional, reference the Self Quarantine and Return to Work Protocol
Self-Screening Protocol – The following self-screening protocol must be distributed to all employees for voluntary, home self-screening.
Survey to be completed daily by active employees before coming to work:
- Have you had physical exposure to a person suffering from Coronavirus symptoms as noted below?
If you answered YES, please contact Human Resources prior to coming to work so that a determination can be made whether you should remain offsite from the company’s facilities for 14 days following the last potential exposure to the COVID-19. You may be required to submit evidence of exposure to an infected person. Should you be required to remain offsite, you should keep in contact with an HR representative and receive clearance from HR before returning to the company’s premises. You may also be required to have written clearance from a doctor.
- If you have been asked to perform daily checks due to COVID-19 becoming more prevalent in your area, or believe you have been exposed to COVID-19: do one or more of the following common COVID-19 symptoms below currently apply to you?
- Temperature >38ºC (100.4 0F) or higher
- Frequent unexplained cough
- Unexplained shortness of breath or difficulty breathing
- Unexplained tiredness
If the answer to question 2 is YES, you may have symptoms of COVID-19. We ask you to please contact your Human Resources representative, seek medical attention and remain off the company’s property for 14 days following cessation of symptoms and written clearance by a medical professional.
If the answer to all the above questions is NO: please adhere to local HR guidance regarding your work schedule and any special precautions to be taken.
On-Site Health Screening
The on-site health screening protocol procedure consist of the following:
- Temperature reading
- Observation for overt symptoms
- Verbal/non-verbal confirmation of daily self-screening
- Perform screenings at site entry gates. Ensure barriers are in place to prevent anyone from missing the screening protocol.
- Develop a vehicle drive-thru at the parking lot entrance for employee in-vehicle screening where applicable and safe.
- This is a pre-shift screening only. The screening does not need to be completed between shift start to end.
- EPT and Team Lead for Access Protocols organize the process and select additional team members to help.
- Reference the Self-Quarantine and Return to Work Protocol for employees that are confirmed positive for COVID-19 by a medical professional.
Isolation Protocol for employees who become ill at work:
- If a person feels ill or
- If someone observes that another person is exhibiting symptoms of COVID-19 at work
Contact an Isolation Coordinator as determined by each site (see below).
Note: DO NOT use the infirmary as the Isolation Room. Telephone communications are preferable so that the Isolation Coordinator can wear the appropriate PPE prior to aiding an ill employee.
Isolation Coordinators, determined by each site, should be selected from the following employees, as appropriate:
- Doctors and/or Nurses
- Health and Safety Leader
- Human Resources Manager
- Emergency team and/or First Aid Team Leaders
- Once the suspected infected employee arrives in the Isolation Room, immediately provide them with a mask and nitrile gloves. Explain to them that it is to help protect other employees and prevent the spread of a potential virus.
- The Isolation Coordinator must complete a Suspected COVID-19 Case Form and call the local health authority or medical office to seek advice regarding transportation and location.
- The Isolation Coordinator, and any others attending the suspected infected person, should also wear a protective mask and nitrile (surgical) gloves while working with the suspected infected person.
- The Isolation Coordinator should direct the ill employee to leave work and go home or to the nearest health center as advised by the local health authority. Public transportation should not be used.
- If the infected person is well enough to drive their own vehicle, ask them to use it.
- If the PRT team is to transport the person in another vehicle, ensure that the infected person
- always keeps the mask on their face and wears a pair of nitrile gloves.
- The driver must wear a mask and gloves during the entire trip, removing and properly disposing of them after returning to the site.
- Once the vehicle has returned to the site, ensure that it is cleaned and all surfaces, seats, dashboards, door handles, seatbelts, etc., have been washed down with a disinfectant solution. All persons cleaning the vehicle must wear a mask and gloves while cleaning the vehicle.
- The Isolation Coordinator, in coordination with Human Resources (HR) and EH&S, must:
- Identify persons who may have been in contact with the suspected infected employee. Unless required by the local health authority, the name of the infected employee should not be provided.
- Advise employees that they may have been in contact with a suspected infected employee, to carry out a self-screening check every morning, and based on the results, contact the HR department.
- Advise employees to contact a physician to obtain medical clearance to return to work.
- Ensure that both the isolation area and suspected employee’s work station or office is thoroughly cleaned and disinfected, in addition to all other common surfaces recently touched by the infected employee. All persons carrying out this cleaning must wear disposable nitrile (surgical type) gloves, and all support persons’ PPE should be appropriately discarded prior to resuming normal work functions.
Where possible, the isolation room should be an exterior room (building or tent structure). If unavailable, an enclosed area away from the general population can be used.
Although isolation workers are not expected to touch the virus, nitrile gloves are recommended if a nontouchless scenario occurs.
Self-Quarantining and Return to Work Protocol
Employees are requested to remain off company property for 14 days if they have:
- COVID-19 symptoms (see COVID-19 Self-Screening Information)
- Been directly exposed to COVID-19
- A positive test results
Employees should avoid leaving home if possible, but if necessary, should practice exceedingly good hygiene and social distancing. Working from home is expected to continue when possible.
Additional Self-Quarantine Guidance
- Stay away from other people in your home as much as possible, staying in a separate room and using a separate bathroom, if available.
- Do not allow any visitors unless the person needs to be in your home.
- If you need medical attention, call ahead to ensure you’re going to the right place and taking the necessary precautions.
- Wear a face mask if you must be around other people, such as during a drive to the doctor’s office.
- When you cough/sneeze, cover your mouth and nose with a tissue; immediately throw tissues in garbage; wash your hands with soap and water for at least 20 seconds and if that’s not available, clean with a hand sanitizer that has at least 60% alcohol.
- Avoid sharing household items, including drinking cups, eating utensils, towels or even bedding. Wash these items thoroughly after using.
- Clean high touch surfaces daily using a household cleaner or wipe. According to the CDC, these include counters, tabletops, doorknobs, bathroom fixtures, toilets, phones, keyboards, tablets and bedside tables.
- Clean surfaces that may be contaminated with blood, stool or bodily fluids.
- Use an air conditioner or open window to provide good airflow in shared spaces.
- Continue monitoring for any symptoms. If they worsen, such as you if you begin to have difficulty breathing, call your health care provider.
- Arrange to have groceries and toiletries delivered by local or state health departments. Also, inform health care providers of any medications you’ll need, so they can arrange drop-offs of prescriptions. If you do not have laundry machines at home, ask health care providers to help with these services.
Returning to Work After Home Isolation
People who have been under home isolation/quarantine can return to work under the following conditions, consistent with WHO/CDC guidelines:
If you will NOT be tested to determine if you are still contagious, you can leave home after these three things have happened:
- You have had no fever for at least 72 hours (that is three full days of no fever without the use medicine that reduces fevers) AND
- Other symptoms have improved (for example, when your cough or shortness of breath have improved) AND
- At least 7 days have passed since your symptoms first appeared
If you WILL be tested to determine if you are still contagious, you can leave home after these three things have happened:
- You no longer have a fever (without the use medicine that reduces fevers) AND
- Other symptoms have improved (for example, when your cough or shortness of breath have improved) AND
- You received two negative tests in a row, 24 hours apart. Your doctor will follow local health authority or CDC guidelines.
This is a lot of information and even more hassle, but it’s all worth it if you can keep your workforce safe! With the way COVID-19 spreads so easily and so widely, you really can’t be careful enough these days. But if you follow these protocols, your employees will be much more likely to be healthy and happy as they return to work.