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Experts say companies need to institute strict safety rules, such as physical distancing and ventilation, to keep employees healthy. Getty Images
  • Employees are expressing safety concerns as businesses start to reopen from the COVID-19 pandemic shutdown.
  • Experts say companies should institute rules on physical distancing, personal protective equipment, ventilation, and cleaning to keep employees safe.
  • They note it’s also in the financial interest of companies to keep their employees healthy.

All data and statistics are based on publicly available data at the time of publication. Some information may be out of date.

“Our office was already planning to reopen, but we hadn’t been fitted for our N95 masks. There’s not enough personal protective equipment (PPE). We’re already being told we will have to reuse some of it.”

“We had no training, no new protocols in place. No one can tell us how we are going to contain the aerosolized spray from working on patients. How long can the virus linger in the air? “

Those concerns are from a 39-year-old dental hygienist from Southern California. She asked Healthline not to use her name.

The woman told Healthline that in the rush to reopen during the COVID-19 pandemic, she and other hygienists worry that safety may be taking a back seat.

“I’m in the line of fire, but I also have a lot of elderly patients. They are in their 80s and 90s and not in the best of health,” she said.

体育投注网址The federal Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) has released a for employers for their workplaces in this COVID-19 era.

体育投注网址But the hygienist says things are still confusing.

“Every agency I spoke with would point the finger at another… ‘No, that’s OSHA or that’s the health department,’” she said. “Everybody kept transferring me, and no one could give me clear answers to just basic information on restarting. That makes me very nervous.”

体育投注网址 after the COVID-19 pandemic shutdown.

体育投注网址Chances are if you haven’t gone back to work yet, you may soon be returning.

Employees at a Ford car manufacturing plant quickly learned this week how precarious that return can be.

The Chicago facility was Tuesday after two workers tested positive for the new coronavirus. The plant was reopened after work areas were cleaned and disinfected.

Whether you’re in a factory, dental office, restaurant, or department store, you may have concerns.

体育投注网址How do you know whether you’ll be safe?

What steps should your employer have taken to keep you safe?

体育投注网址We asked those questions to some experts.

, MS, CIH, CSP, the safety and health senior project coordinator for the National Council for Occupational Safety and Health, says employers should have a written plan.

体育投注网址“It should outline how they will protect workers from getting infected with the virus,” he told Healthline. “It needs to have input from workers and be a living document that can be constantly updated.”

, PhD, MPH, an associate professor of environmental health, epidemiology, and global health at the Rollins School of Public Health at Emory University in Georgia, says the most important safeguard is physical distancing.

“The general rule of thumb should be the more space and distance the better between employees, and certainly between customers and employees,” Freeman told Healthline.

What, for example, does that mean for safety precautions for restaurant workers?

Freeman says the preference would be outdoor seating for now. Once it’s deemed safe enough to phase in indoor dining, the tables need to be spaced apart.

“Waiters need to stand far enough away from customers to mitigate their risk. The restaurant could have patrons write down their order and hand it in rather than have a waiter take the order verbally, or order online beforehand,” he said.

“When orders are being taken and food is being served, both waiter and customer should have a face mask or face covering on,” added , MPH, the health officer for Calvert County Health Department in Maryland. “Of course, that’s not feasible when people are eating.”

And what about if you’re working in a retail establishment like a department store? What safety rules should you look for?

“You want to keep at least a 6-foot distance. Both customers and workers should be wearing face coverings, and you want to minimize the amount that customers handle merchandise,” Polsky told Healthline.

with wristwatches that beep when employees get within 6 feet of each other.

for how to both clean and disinfect workplace environments.

体育投注网址Additionally, experts say there should be easily accessible handwashing stations throughout the workplace.

体育投注网址Workers who are mobile should also have bottles of hand sanitizer to take with them.

“Businesses should be aware that obtaining disinfectants might be much more difficult than it has been in the past,” Polsky noted. “They should make sure they have a stock of supplies both for employees and for the cleaning they need to do, so that once they’re open they don’t put their customers or employees at risk.”

体育投注网址The same is true of the supply chain for personal protective equipment (PPE). Some items may still be hard to come by.

“If PPE is determined to be necessary to protect workers, then it’s the employer’s responsibility to provide them,” Dooley said.

He notes the employer has to have the right kind of equipment, the right fit, and enough to keep workers supplied.

体育投注网址The reopening of businesses will put these health and safety protocols to the test.

体育投注网址Will those new safety plans be enough? Are companies doing enough?

“By taking this seriously, you reduce potential losses to your business. In many ways, it’s a win-win to ensure that workers are safe,” Freeman said.

体育投注网址“Employers need to remember that if their workers get ill, even if it’s not life threatening, it still cripples their ability to keep their business open,” Polsky added.

体育投注网址“They have both a moral obligation to protect health and lives, but also the economic reality that if businesses try to take shortcuts, they can end up doing themselves a lot of financial harm,” he said.