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COVID-19 and Workplace Safety

Posted by Aspire Consulting on March 19, 2020
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This is an unprecedented time and things are changing at breakneck speed. We wanted to put together some information that offer some best practices – particularly for workers in the field as well as links to resources that will keep you up to date as things are changing rapidly.  These are recommendations based off current information, and we encourage you all to stay informed and to continue to have open discussions with your crew.


It is our responsibility to inform our employees about the seriousness of this public health crisis and to educate everyone on practices that will help slow the transmission rate of the Covid-19 Virus.  We need to change our behaviors both at work and at home to not only protect ourselves but to help “Flatten the Curve” which takes stress off our healthcare system and helps keep resources available for those members of our society that are more vulnerable.

Minimize Chance for Exposure

Ensure jobsite policies and practices are in place to minimize exposures to respiratory pathogens including the virus that causes COVID-19. Measures should be implemented before workers arrival, upon arrival, and throughout the duration of their shift.

  • Implement business/worksite specific social distancing (including worker and customer interactions).
  • Do not greet anyone by shaking hands, use voice, wave, nod, bow, elbow bump or foot bump
  • Wipe down with disinfectant wipes all doorknobs, keyboards, light switches, phones, copiers, scanners, printers, plotters, water coolers, refrigerator handles, coffee makers, microwaves and all ‘table-top’ surfaces
  • Communicate and enforce policies that keep any person with flu-like or respiratory symptoms at home - call supervisor then doctor for instructions
  • Provide Hand Wash/Sanitize stations at entry points to job sites, inside break areas, outside portable toilets, and at other high traffic areas throughout job site
  • Cleaning and restocking of portable toilets is to occur daily
  • No fingerprint time clocks / I-pads (only one person uses and clocks in all others)
  • Encourage respiratory etiquette, including covering coughs and sneezes.

Train and Educate

Ensure your workers are educated, trained, and practice the appropriate precautions both at home and on the job site.  I encourage you to briefly spend some time on this subject at every one of your safety meetings.

  • Daily toolbox talks to re-enforce Best Practices. Have enough pens to sign-in that each worker using a clean pen, then drops the pen into a container so the pens can be wiped down with sanitizer and made ready for next day’s use
  • Post educational posters for employees.
  • CDC and World Health Organization has GREAT information on their website about the Coronavirus follow their recommendations

Implement and Adhere to Standard Precautions

Standard Precautions assume that every person is potentially infected or colonized with a pathogen that could be transmitted.

  • We all need be diligent with proper hand hygiene by using ABHR (Alcohol Based Hand Rub) with 60-95% alcohol or washing hands with soap and water for at least 20 seconds. If hands are visibly soiled, use soap and water before ABHR. Encourage frequent hand washing – especially after being in a public place, blowing nose, coughing, sneezing, etc.
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose and mouth
  • Sneeze or cough into you elbow or into a tissue then dispose of the tissue immediately and wash hands
  • Discourage the sharing of utensils, desks, phones, and work tools


The attached Employment Security Department chart on what benefits may be available to employees might be helpful for your HR Departments.  Further ESD information can be found at:

King County Public Health guidance has very helpful information for employers (non-healthcare) on what to do with a COVID-19 positive employee and with co-workers.

CDC Puget Sound Guidelines (King, Pierce and Snohomish Counties):

Washington State Department of Health Employer Guidelines for employers across the state:

Current CDC Guidelines to all Employers Across the Country:

Current Risk Assessment Chart:

A Washington L&I Hazard Alert with good information on best practices in the workplace can be printed and posted.  COVID-19 should be a talking point at every safety meeting on-site.  There are Spanish versions of some of the workplace notices and posters.