The Prevention of Labour Risks against Covid-19 and its impact on companies. The Ministry of Health, in collaboration with the INSST and the various associations of Prevention Services, has updated the Procedural Guide for the Action of Occupational Risk Prevention Services against exposure to SARS-CoV-2.
A good practice manual for work centres is also being disseminated.
Prevention of Labour Risks against COVID-19
The action guide for vulnerability and risk management is aimed at both the health and non-health sectors. It defines risk levels and preventive measures to be adopted in each company, which must be based on information gathered through the assessment of specific exposure risk.
It is recommended that companies review the adaptation and recommendations of this guide. Since they are responsible for evaluating the risk of exposure of their employees in each of the differentiated tasks they perform. And therefore, follow the recommendations and guidelines formulated by the health authorities.
In general, companies should reinforce hygiene measures against any exposure scenario. They must provide the necessary means to enable workers to clean themselves properly by following these recommendations:
- Hand hygiene is the main measure for prevention and control of infection.
- Respiratory etiquette:
- Cover your nose and mouth with a tissue when coughing and sneezing, and dispose of it in a garbage can with a lid and pedal. If tissues are not available, use the inside of the elbow to avoid contaminating the hands.
- Avoid touching your eyes, nose or mouth. Practice good respiratory hygiene.
- Maintain a social distance of 2 meters.
Information and training are essential to implement organizational measures, hygiene and techniques among the staff in such a particular circumstance as the present. The measures to be implemented must be adapted in each company according to the risk of specific exposure. Daily cleaning and disinfection policies for work places and equipment and surfaces should be intensified, with emphasis on those with frequent contact such as door handles, railings, buttons, etc.
- Implement safety distance measures of 2 meters, in order to minimize the contact between workers and customers and public in the workplace.
- Establish business continuity plans in the event of an increase in staff absenteeism or in a scenario of increased risk of transmission in the workplace.
- Consider possibilities of redistribution of tasks and/or teleworking if necessary.
- In those establishments open to the public, the following considerations will be taken into account:
- The maximum capacity must allow compliance with the extraordinary measures dictated by the health authorities at all times. Specifically with the requirement of safety distances.
- Whenever possible, the implementation of access control mechanisms at the entrances to the premises will be encouraged. This access control must guarantee strict compliance with the maximum capacity calculated for this extraordinary situation.
- Where applicable, measures shall be put in place to organise customers to remain outside the establishment while waiting for access when capacity permits. All members of the public, including those waiting outside the establishment, must keep a strict safety distance.
- Customers shall be clearly informed of the organisational measures and of their obligation to cooperate in complying with them.
Personal Protection Measures
The optimal way to prevent transmission is to use a combination of all preventive measures, not just Personal Protective Equipment (PPE). To apply a combination of control measures can provide an additional degree of protection.
The information on Personal Protective Equipment, prepared with the National Institute of Safety and Health at Work, is included in Annexes II and III of the aforementioned guide. Annex III proposes alternatives and strategies for optimizing the use of masks, protective clothing and gloves.
Particularly sensitive worker
The PRLS health service should evaluate the presence of particularly sensitive personnel in relation to SARS-CoV-2 coronavirus infection. Establish the nature of the worker’s special sensitivity and issue a report on prevention, adaptation and protection measures. To this end, it will take into account the existence or non-existence of conditions that allow the work to be carried out without increasing the risk inherent in the worker’s health condition.
With the scientific evidence available as of April 8, 2020, the Ministry of Health has defined as vulnerable groups for COVID-19 people with diabetes, cardiovascular disease, including hypertension, chronic pulmonary disease, immunodeficiency, cancer in the active treatment phase, pregnancy and over 60 years of age.
Based on the above, and those provisions that may be made at a later date, they will serve as an evaluation for making the technical preventive decisions that must be adapted in each company.
References are also established to be followed in the case of employees in the different scenarios that may occur:
- Casual contact with possible, probable or confirmed case of COVID-19
- Close contact with possible, probable or confirmed case of COVID-19
- Management of symptomatic personnel
Collaboration in Temporary Disability Management
For the purpose of protecting public health, situations assimilated to accidents at work shall be regarded as exceptional. Exclusively for the economic benefit of temporary disability of the Social Security system, those periods of isolation or infection of workers caused by the SARS-CoV-2 virus
Good practices in the workplace
On the other hand, the manual of good practices in the workplaces, establishes guidelines to be followed by the workers before going to work. Recommendations to be observed when travelling to the work centre Prioritising mobility options that guarantee interpersonal distance of approximately 2 metres, hygiene measures and the use of masks.
Recommendations to workers
The manual of good practices also establishes recommendations that must be observed by the workers in compliance with the prevention measures indicated by the companies. Maintain interpersonal distance (approx. 2 metres). Avoid physical contact (greetings). As well as not using other workers’ equipment or devices. Paying special attention to hygiene and facilitating the cleaning and disinfection work that is established in each company.
Extreme hygiene in the workplace
Ventilation of the premises should be carried out daily. As well as the cleaning of all rooms, air filters, disinfection of surfaces that are frequently touched (windows, knobs, tables, keyboards, etc.)
Caution should be exercised by cleaning personnel, use of epis and hygiene after the completion of tasks. Uniforms should be handled with care and washed at a temperature between 60 and 90 degrees.
Similarly, the management of ordinary waste should be extreme, especially those related to compliance with “respiratory etiquette”. And those people who have presented symptoms during the working day. The container must be isolated and its extraction must have a second garbage bag with closure.
This guide and manual is subject to updating as the current situation evolves by the Ministry of Health, in collaboration with the INSST and the different associations of Prevention Services, which must be observed by the companies, which are obliged, together with their prevention technicians, to analyse and implement them in their organisations.
The Prevention of Labour Risks against Covid-19 and its impact in the companies is key to stop the expansion in the jobs. Since we are in a phase of the State of Alarm where many companies are gradually returning to work.
Do not hesitate to contact us, we will be at your disposal.
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