How to Protect Yourself from the Coronavirus at Work

The confirmation of the first cases of COVID-19 disease in Colombia, together with those reported in more than 100 countries around the world, has led the country’s Ministry of Health and the World Health Organization (WHO) to disseminate precautions for avoid contagion.

The Ministers of Health and Social Protection, Fernando Ruiz Gómez; Labor Ángel Custodio Cabrera; and the director of the Administrative Department of Public Function, Fernando Antonio Grillo, signed an information circular with measures to act and prevent the spread of this disease in work spaces, that is, between bosses and employees. Here are some of the most important recommendations. For more information, download the circular at the end of the note.

Taking into account that cough, fever and shortness of breath are the main symptoms of COVID-19, public and private organizations and entities should evaluate the adoption of the following temporary measures:

Authorize teleworking for public servants and workers who have recently arrived from a country with an incidence of COVID-19 cases, who have been in contact with patients diagnosed with COVID-19 and for those who present mild and moderate respiratory symptoms, without this meaning abandonment of office.

Each employer is responsible for adopting the actions to this effect and it will be the responsibility of the teleworker to comply with this measure in order for it to be effective, in terms of preventive social isolation.

Adopt flexible schedules for servers and workers in order to reduce the risk of exposure in peak hours or high influx of people in transportation systems, have a lower concentration of workers in work environments and better air circulation.

Reduce the number of face-to-face meetings or concentration of several people in confined work spaces with low ventilation to reduce the risk of contagion of respiratory diseases and COVID-19 due to close contact.

Inform immediately in the channels provided for this purpose, in case of presenting symptoms of respiratory diseases.

Take care of your health and that of your co-workers, keeping the workplace clean and an adequate distance.

Wash your eyes constantly with soap and water and avoid touching your eyes, nose and mouth, without having washed them.

Temporarily avoid kiss, hug or hand greetings.

Cover your mouth when coughing or sneezing and throw away the tissue immediately after use; If a tissue is not available, carry out these actions covering with the inside of the elbow and try to keep a distance of at least one meter between the person who is coughing or sneezing.

Attend the training sessions and abide by the prevention measures in COVID-19 given by the respective body, public or private entity and occupational risk manager; Non-compliance in this regard is considered a violation of the standards on safety and health at work, in accordance with article 91 of Decree Law 1295 of 1994.

Water, soap, and alcohol-based disinfectant are your allies. On the way to the office and at your workplace, you may come into contact with contaminated surfaces or sick colleagues, which is why good hand washing is essential.

If you have pending trips abroad, try to postpone them. Some companies are taking measures such as telecommuting for employees who have the flu or who have recently made a trip to an international destination. This should ideally be agreed with the superior, but it also depends on the health status and symptoms of the worker.

Scheduled trips abroad should only be made if they are essential.

Learn to sneeze and cough correctly
Bend your elbow and cover your mouth and nose with it or a tissue; Dispose of this tissue immediately and wash your hands thoroughly.

What to do with the symptoms?

If you have symptoms of the coronavirus or flu, you must refrain from going to work. If you are sick, talk to your boss to let you rest at home and avoid having direct contact with your work team.

In case you present fever, difficulty breathing, cough or discomfort in the throat, contact the health promoting entity with which you are affiliated or with agencies in charge of your company, especially if these symptoms do not disappear or worsen .

If this is the case, ask your EPS for a priority appointment or go to the emergency room if respiratory complications do not improve.