Managing the risks associated with contracting the virus has not only affected the way employees engage with each other, but has also affected the ways in which employees engage with the residents of the Old Age Home.
The Occupational Health and Safety Act 85 of 1993 places several obligations on both employers and employees to ensure a safe and healthy working environment.

What we know:

∞ Sunday 29 March 2020, 1187 confirmed cases for the virus in South Africa;

∞ Confirmed cases are now in 9 regions and 117 unallocated.

South Africa on Friday registered its first coronavirus-related death at a Western Cape hospital when a 48-year-old woman succumbed after being in ICU.

Preparing the workplace for COVID-19

Firstly, follow the advice from authorities in your community.

1. How Covid-19 spreads – COVID-19 spreads in a similar way to the flu. One can catch COVID-19 by the following:

1.1. Touching contaminated surfaces or objects, and then touch your eyes, nose or mouth;

1.2. By standing within one meter of an infected person – you stand a chance of breathing in droplets coughed out or exhaled by them.

2. Ways of preventing the spread of Covid-19:

2.1. Wipe down surfaces (desks; tables, beds) and objects (hand rails, toilets) regularly with disinfectant,

2.2  Do not shake hands when greeting or hug another person,

2.3. Encourage regular and thorough hand-washing by all employees, residents and committee members:

2.3.1. Put sanitising hand rub dispensers in prominent places in the facility. Examples of such places include – bathrooms, kitchens, care workers office and entrance to the facility;

2.3.2. Display posters promoting hand-washing in all bathrooms;

2.3.3. Use routine meetings and communications to reinforce the importance of regular hand-washing;

2.4. Promote good ‘respiratory hygiene’ in the workplace:

2.4.1. Encourage employees and residents to sneeze into their bent elbows;

2.4.2. Make tissues readily available. Encourage employees to cough/sneeze into these. Make sure that this is accompanied by closed bins for safe disposal.

2.5 Brief your employees on the symptoms of COVID-19 and what they should look out for. 

2.5.1 Advise that they seek medical attention should they develop symptoms.