Information from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention


The best way to prevent illness is to avoid being exposed to this virus. However, as a reminder, CDC always recommends everyday preventive actions to help prevent the spread of respiratory diseases, including:

  • Avoid close contact with people who are sick.
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth.
  • Stay home when you are sick.
  • Cover your cough or sneeze with a tissue, then throw the tissue in the trash.
  • Clean and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces using a regular household cleaning spray or wipe.


Follow CDC’s recommendations for using a facemask.

  • CDC does not recommend that people who are well wear a facemask to protect themselves from respiratory diseases, including COVID-19.
  • Facemasks should be used by people who show symptoms of COVID-19 to help prevent the spread of the disease to  others. The use of facemasks is also crucial for health workers and people who are taking care of someone in close settings (at home or in a health care facility).


Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds, especially after going to the bathroom; before eating; and after blowing your nose, coughing, or sneezing.

  • If soap and water are not readily available, use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer with at least 60% alcohol. Always wash hands with soap and water if hands are visibly dirty.


The CDC advises employers to emphasize staying home when sick, respiratory etiquette and hand-hygiene by all employees using the following actions:

  • Provide tissues and no-touch disposal receptacles for use by employees.
  • All employees should cover their noses and mouths with a tissue when coughing or sneezing (or an elbow or shoulder if no tissue is available).  Don’t shake hands with others during this time.
  • Instruct employees to clean their hands often with an alcohol-based hand sanitizer that contains at least 60-95% alcohol, or wash their hands with soap and water for at least 20 seconds.
  • Provide soap and water and alcohol-based hand rubs in the workplace. Ensure that adequate supplies are maintained. Place hand rubs in multiple locations or in conference rooms to encourage hand hygiene.
  • The CDC has published a coughing and sneezing etiquette and has a clean hands webpage containing more information.


The CDC also recommends routine environmental cleaning:

  • Routinely clean all frequently touched surfaces in the workplace, such as workstations, countertops, and doorknobs. Use the cleaning agents that are usually used in these areas and follow the directions on the label.
  • No additional disinfection beyond routine cleaning is recommended by the CDC at this time.
  • Provide disposable wipes so that commonly-used surfaces (for example, doorknobs, keyboards, remote controls, desks) can be wiped down by employees before each use.

 

The CDC further recommends as follows:

  • Allow flexible use of sick leave policies during this time.
  • Talk with companies that provide your business with contract or temporary employees about the importance of sick employees staying home.
  • Employers should be aware that more employees will stay at home to care for sick children or other sick family members than is usual.
  • Use this opportunity to communicate with your employees about seasonal flu prevention strategies, such as minimizing contact, not shaking hands and engaging in sound hygiene and sanitation.  (The CDC states that statistics demonstrate seasonal flu poses a far greater and more immediate threat to your employees’ health at this time than does Covid-19. 
  • Do not panic or overreact but rather engage in sound business contingency planning.  Begin by developing contingency plans about how you will operate in the event absenteeism rates greatly exceed those of a normal flu season.  
  • Develop a plan for communicating with your employees if a major pandemic breaks out.  Plan for worse case scenarios now so you can effectively respond to what will likely be a rapidly changing situation. To do this, your management should anticipate and prepare for how you will answer the plethora of questions that will almost certainly be raised. Under the Occupational Safety and Health Act (OSHA) and similar state laws, employers have a general duty and obligation to provide a safe and healthy work environment, even when the work occurs outside the employer’s physical premises. Furthermore, under these health and safety laws, employers must not place their employees in situations that are likely to cause serious physical harm or death.  


In sum, the CDC recommends planning ahead for the worst, but do not overreact by implementing broad-based bans and making business decisions about employees that are not based on statistical realities.

 

How to Prepare for Workplace Safeguards

  • Designate a person in your office to check the CDC website daily to review the latest information on the spread of the virus and the CDC’s recommendations to employers and the general public. This person should take responsibility for sharing this information within your entire company.


The CDC advises employers to emphasize staying home when sick, respiratory etiquette and hand-hygiene by all employees using the following actions:

  • Provide tissues and no-touch disposal receptacles for use by employees.
  • All employees should cover their noses and mouths with a tissue when coughing or sneezing (or an elbow or shoulder if no tissue is available).  Don’t shake hands with others during this time.
  • Instruct employees to clean their hands often with an alcohol-based hand sanitizer that contains at least 60-95% alcohol, or wash their hands with soap and water for at least 20 seconds.
  • Provide soap and water and alcohol-based hand rubs in the workplace. Ensure that adequate supplies are maintained. Place hand rubs in multiple locations or in conference rooms to encourage hand hygiene.
  • The CDC has published a coughing and sneezing etiquette and has a clean hands webpage containing more information.


The CDC also recommends routine environmental cleaning:

  • Routinely clean all frequently touched surfaces in the workplace, such as workstations, countertops, and doorknobs. Use the cleaning agents that are usually used in these areas and follow the directions on the label.
  • No additional disinfection beyond routine cleaning is recommended by the CDC at this time.
  • Provide disposable wipes so that commonly-used surfaces (for example, doorknobs, keyboards, remote controls, desks) can be wiped down by employees before each use.

 

The CDC further recommends as follows:

  • Allow flexible use of sick leave policies during this time.
  • Talk with companies that provide your business with contract or temporary employees about the importance of sick employees staying home.
  • Employers should be aware that more employees will stay at home to care for sick children or other sick family members than is usual.
  • Use this opportunity to communicate with your employees about seasonal flu prevention strategies, such as minimizing contact, not shaking hands and engaging in sound hygiene and sanitation.  (The CDC states that statistics demonstrate seasonal flu poses a far greater and more immediate threat to your employees’ health at this time than does Covid-19. 
  • Do not panic or overreact but rather engage in sound business contingency planning.  Begin by developing contingency plans about how you will operate in the event absenteeism rates greatly exceed those of a normal flu season.  
  • Develop a plan for communicating with your employees if a major pandemic breaks out.  Plan for worse case scenarios now so you can effectively respond to what will likely be a rapidly changing situation. To do this, your management should anticipate and prepare for how you will answer the plethora of questions that will almost certainly be raised. Under the Occupational Safety and Health Act (OSHA) and similar state laws, employers have a general duty and obligation to provide a safe and healthy work environment, even when the work occurs outside the employer’s physical premises. Furthermore, under these health and safety laws, employers must not place their employees in situations that are likely to cause serious physical harm or death.  


In sum, the CDC recommends planning ahead for the worst, but do not overreact by implementing broad-based bans and making business decisions about employees that are not based on statistical realities.

If you have any questions, please do not hesitate to call Todd Kercheval or J Pete Laney.


Like you, TCAWS is concerned about the growing spread of the coronavirus and how it will impact our daily lives, both at home and work. We believe our best defense is to remain calm and act with knowledge not to overreact with fear and panic. The COVID-19 virus infects people of all ages. However, evidence to date suggests that two groups of people are at a higher risk of getting severe COVID-19 disease. These are older people; and those with underlying medical conditions. TCAWS is committed to sharing vital information and updates with our members as it becomes available. To the right are the best resources to help further educate you on the facts of COVID-19. Do not depend on social media, traditional news outlets or politicians.

A couple of quick tips to keep the work place safer:

  • Routinely clean all frequently touched surfaces in the workplace, such as workstations, countertops, and doorknobs. Use the cleaning agents that are usually used in these areas and follow the directions on the label.
  • No additional disinfection beyond routine cleaning is recommended at this time.
  • Provide disposable wipes so that commonly used surfaces (for example, doorknobs, keyboards, remote controls, desks) can be wiped down by employees before each use.



We will keep positive thoughts for our leaders and health care professionals working to end this pandemic.  

Coronavirus (COVID-19) Update