Covid-19 and occupational safety: how to ensure the safety of employees and users

January 28, 2021

Safeguarding and protecting the health of workers is a fundamentally important goal that requires a great deal of commitment and a significant assumption of responsibility by all those who work within a work environment.

In fact, the Consolidated Occupational Health and Safety Act (Legislative Decree 81/08), the law that regulates this particular subject, defines what fulfillments must be completed by the employer, but it also insists on the responsibility of each individual worker, who has the duty to “take care of his or her own health and safety and that of other people in the workplace” (Art. 20) by complying with the regulations and scrupulously applying the safety protocols provided.

The outbreak of Covid-19 has made it even more evident how crucial the responsibility of individuals is to protect the health and safety of the community: understanding the importance of compliance and feeling responsible to the people around us is the only way to effectively reduce the risk of infection, and the commitment of each of us is critical to containing the spread of the virus in the living and working environments we frequent on a daily basis.

The Covid-19 outbreak poses a major challenge from the perspective of protecting the health and safety of workers.There are, however, some pointers and tools that can help companies and manufacturing entities reorganize their operations to help reduce the risk of spreading the virus among employees and users:

  • Employee training: to be successful in countering the spread of the virus, it is essential that every employee be informed about the hygiene rules to be followed, the proper use of PPE, and the procedures to be followed to avoid potential risk situations. Even those who enter the company only temporarily–suppliers, outside visitors, consultants–must be informed in a timely and accurate manner about the behaviors to be maintained within the company premises, and asked to abide by the prescribed rules.
  • Access control: the “Regulatory Protocol for Combating and Containing the Spread of Covid-19 Virus in Workplaces” stipulates that the number of people in the company should be limited as much as possible, so as to avoid as much as possible gatherings both inside the premises and during the entry and exit of workers. If possible, the company should arrange staggered schedules, providing separate entry and exit routes and establishing predefined routes for the transit of employees and outside personnel, so that it can more easily track the contacts of any employees who test positive for the virus.
  • Temperature control: anyone with a body temperature above 37.5° is prohibited from entering company premises. It is the company’s responsibility to take temperature measurements and to provide isolation in a separate room for employees or visitors who experience fever or other symptoms attributable to the virus, either upon entry or during their stay within company premises. To easily take temperature measurements, one can equip oneself with handheld infrared thermometers or with technological solutions such as Kalmo Smart Monitoring, a system based on a simple app in which employees themselves can enter their body temperature data autonomously and in complete privacy.
  • Reorganization of common areas: common areas within the company should be as large and ventilated as possible, and employees should be encouraged to stay in these areas for as short a time as possible, including through a system of entrance quotas. In case several colleagues are temporarily sharing the same environment (locker room, break room…), they should always maintain the interpersonal distance of one meter and wear the mask.
  • Proper management of PPE: The company is required to provide employees and visitors with all the PPE (masks, gloves, goggles, coveralls, caps, gowns) necessary to ensure their safety while inside the workplace. Precise and efficient management of the PPE warehouse is therefore particularly important during this period, as this is the only way to be sure that all required medical supplies are always in stock. Technological tools can provide important help in this regard; in fact, a tool such as the Kalmo suite makes it possible to rationally manage this aspect of business organization, thanks to its Skill Planner, which makes it possible to check employees’ tasks at all times and automatically assign the necessary PPE to each of them. The Planner is also a valuable ally that allows you to check the status of your warehouse and supply management at all times.
  • Room cleaning and sanitization: the company must provide daily cleaning and frequent sanitization of work rooms, individual workstations and common areas, paying special attention to the cleaning of devices such as keyboards, mice and touch screens. Additional help can come from adopting room sanitization systems, such as sanitizers with certified Active Pure technology, patented by NASA. These sanitizers, which vaporize hydrogen peroxide (H2O2), can be used continuously even in the presence of people inside the room, since the substances used purify the air but are absolutely harmless to humans. This creates a protective barrier that not only protects the health of workers but also simplifies manual sanitization procedures and reduces their costs.
  • Periodic screening of employees: to detect any outbreaks of infection early, the company may choose to equip itself with rapid nasal swabs, which can be used for periodic screening of workers. Rapid swabs-which can only be performed by the occupational physician or other health personnel-are a valuable tool for detecting the presence of any employees who have been infected with the virus but are asymptomatic.
  • Use of Covid-19 risk monitoring software: technology allows remote screening of Covid-19 virus infection symptomatology to help each worker easily measure his or her level of risk. The Kalmo Smart Monitoring system operates in just this way, allowing users to enter a few data about their body temperature, symptoms, and behaviors over the previous weeks into a special application and immediately get an assessment of their risk level. In this way, through objective and immediate feedback, the application allows the worker to promptly implement all the necessary preventive measures to avoid spreading the infection, thus better protecting his or her health and that of his or her colleagues.

Learn more about the legal requirements needed to protect the health and safety of your employees-even in this difficult time due to the spread of the COVID-19 outbreak