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From Epidemic to Pandemic, When Will it Stop?
Now that we have been promoted from epidemic to pandemic, what do we do? Everyday we turn on the news to get more of the same reports of this merciless virus that continues to take the lives of innocent people who, up until recently, didn’t even know what the coronavirus was or that it even existed. We are constantly being assured that a vaccine is in the works, ironically, we're being told the vaccine won't be available for at least a year. Reports have stated that before this is over, approximately 60% of the world's population could be affected by this deadly virus either directly or indirectly. We're also being told, don't panic. At what point in time do we begin to panic? Is it before or after we reach the 60% mark? Let's do the math on 60%, shall we. First of all, it doesn't take a genius to understand that 60% means more than half. With the world's population currently being 7.8 billion, that means that 4.68 billion people will have been affected by this virus in some way. People, here’s the news flash. That’s a whole bunch of people. What's even more unsettling is we're being told that testing kits are available, only to find those statements are less than true.
There is a consensus among everyone, which is the only consistent piece of news we are receiving on television and that is - don’t panic. Everyone from government officials to celebrities are singing the same song, don't panic. While it is important for us to stay calm in turbulent times such as these, it is wise to be as cautious as possible. Establishing a normal routine of regular disinfecting is a reasonable precaution that everyone should implement. There's no denying that the unforeseen and unfortunate events that have unfolded over the past month and a half has caused us to be much more cautious than we normally would be. For this reason, it is important for companies to implement methods that keep our work environment free from germs and prevent the spread of this vicious virus.
Taking care of the home environment first.
Since the community starts at home, let’s start here first. Keeping a tidy home is always essential to good hygiene. As a matter of fact, it is a precursor for it. The CDC has given some basic guidelines and general recommendations for routine cleaning and disinfecting of individual households. It is advised that these recommendations be followed in great detail. Taking your regular cleaning routine to the next level can only help in preventing the spread of the coronavirus. It is recommended to clean and disinfect areas that you come in contact with most often on a daily basis. This includes hard back chairs, doorknobs, light switches, TV remotes and cell phones. This list could go on. The bottom line is to implement a spring cleaning regiment on a daily basis. You'd rather be safer than sorry.
You've done your part, but what about others?
It is easy to control what you do in your home, however, it could be more of a daunting task to control what others do. As a matter of fact, it is literally impossible to control what other people do in their homes. The only thing you can do is make sure you're not in close proximity to others. If someone is sick or has flu-like symptoms, stay clear of that person. Washing your hands while you're in public areas is essential, especially after you’ve used the bathroom. Carrying items such as hand sanitizers or disinfecting wipes can help prevent further spreading this virus. You can’t control what others do, but by following these recommendations you are able to keep yourself safe as much as possible.
Keeping your work environment germ free.
The EPA has released a list of approved disinfectants proven to kill the coronavirus. It is highly recommended that you grab the list, find the product that works best for you and use it. One of the more common household items is Lysol. No matter which item you choose to use, it is important to use something to prevent the spread of COVID-19.
Due to the severity of the situation, it is important for employers to implement workplace policies and procedures on how to prevent and reduce the spread of the coronavirus. It is becoming necessary for employers to mandate procedures that employees must follow to do their part in preventing the spread of germs. Don’t forget to provide safety data sheets (SDS) to employers for the products they are using to clean with to insure proper safety precautions are used. find safety data sheets here and get information on how to incorporate them into the work environment. OSHA does require that one SDS book is maintained for each job site.
To prevent and reduce worker exposure to COVID-19, it is recommended employers implement general practices to prevent the exposure of this virus. Everyone in the workplace should frequently wash their hands for at least 20 seconds. If you work in an environment where running water and soap are not available, it should be immediately reported to management. Alternative methods can be used to prevent the spread of this virus and that includes using an alcohol-based hand rub that contains at least 60% of alcohol content. Avoid touching your face with unwashed hands. This includes touching your eyes, nose or mouth.
Avoid being a hero. Normally when people are sick, they try to stick it out and take one for the team. They make the best of it by coming in to work to show they are a team player. Now is not the time to do this. If you're sick, stay home. If you're at work and come in contact with someone who is sick, avoid contact with that person as much as you possibly can.
Employers should follow practices to keep their employees safe. The practices should not be recommendations but mandates. Every employer should assess any potential hazards that workers may be exposed to and appropriately evaluate the risk. Implement mandatory routines and controls and ensure that workers are following these routines to prevent the exposure and the spread of the coronavirus. This could include implementing physical barriers, social distancing and when appropriate, wearing personal protective equipment. Keeping an adequate supply of disinfecting items within reach is highly recommended. Not only is it helpful to keep these items within reach, it would be more effective if employers mandate how often these items are to be used throughout the day while at the workplace. Providing step by step instructions on how to use these items would also be beneficial.
Desperate times call for desperate measures. It's an old saying that dates back to ancient times and it still holds true, especially today. We are living in a time when we are witnessing the unthinkable. People are dying by the numbers in hospital beds and being constantly infected with a disease that came out of nowhere. While there doesn’t seem to be a cure insight for COVID-19, we can still take matters into our own hands by following a few simple steps to protect ourselves and our loved ones.