COVID-19: Best practices for a safe work environment

How to protect yourself and others at work from COVID-19

As businesses open back up and people begin to go back to work, we’ve seen an uptick in positive cases of COVID-19. While not completely unexpected, one of the areas of concern where COVID-19 can spread easily is workplaces.

When people are in close contact with each other for a prolonged period of time – like at home or a workplace – the opportunity for COVID-19 to spread can increase. Here are five best practices for a safe work environment.

Wash your hands often

  • Wash your hands often with soap and water or at least 20 seconds, especially after you’ve been in a public place, or after blowing your nose, coughing, or sneezing.
  • If soap and water are not available, use a hand sanitizer that contains at least 60% alcohol.
  • Cover all surfaces of your hands and rub them together until they feel dry.
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth, especially with unwashed hands.

Wear a face covering

You can spread COVID-19 to others even if you don't feel sick. Remember to cover your mouth and nose with a face covering when you'll be around other people.

  • Everyone should wear a cloth face covering when they go out in public – including when you go to work.
  • The cloth face covering is meant to protect other people in case you are infected.
  • Don’t use a face mask meant for a healthcare worker.
  • The cloth face covering is not a substitute for social distancing so remember to continue to keep about 6 feet between yourself and others.

Cover coughs and sneezes

  • If you’re in a private setting and do not have on your cloth face covering, remember to always cover your mouth and nose with a tissue when you cough or sneeze, or use the inside of your elbow. 
  • Throw used tissues in the trash. 
  • Immediately wash your hands with soap and water for 20 seconds. If soap and water are not readily available, clean your hands with a hand sanitizer that contains at least 60% alcohol.

Clean and disinfect

  • Clean and disinfect frequently touched surfaces daily. This includes tables, doorknobs, light switches, countertops, handles, desks, phones, keyboards, toilets, faucets, and sinks.
    When bringing a laptop from home, clean and disinfect it before using. If surfaces are dirty, clean them with detergent or soap and water, and then use a household disinfectant.

It’s everyone’s responsibility to help prevent the spread of COVID-19. You can protect yourself and others by being vigilant about taking the steps that reduce exposure.