As most of the industries and businesses resume operations, the public are reminded to remain vigilant and integrate the prescribed health, safety, and sanitation protocols and proper waste management into the operations to mitigate the spread of COVID-19 and ensure the safety of the people,
Even before the pandemic, it has always been imperative for establishments to practice a stringent sanitation protocol and proper waste management through the implementation of the Ecological Solid Waste Management (ESWM) Act of 2000 or RA 9003, together with other heath and environmental policies.
Through proper disposal of our used face masks, gloves, disinfectant bottles, and face shields, this will limit pollution in land and ocean, as environmental pollution would exacerbate the impacts of climate change.
More than educating employees on infection control and prevention measures, the employers and companies must support and empower workers by ensuring they are also healthy and protected.
According to the World Health Organization (WHO), regardless of exposure risks, it is always a good practice for individuals, offices and workplaces to:
• Frequently wash hands with soap and water for at least 20 seconds. When soap and running water are unavailable, use an alcohol-based hand rub with at least 60% alcohol.
• Avoid touching eyes, nose, or mouth with unwashed hands.
• Wear masks over the nose and mouth to prevent from spreading the virus.
• Practice good respiratory etiquette, including covering coughs and sneezes.
• Avoid close contact with people who are sick.
• Stay home if sick.
• Recognize personal risk factors. People with underlying conditions such as heart or lung disease or diabetes, are at higher risk for developing more serious complications from COVID-19.
• Know the signs and symptoms of COVID-19 and how the disease is potentially spread, including the fact that infected people can spread the virus even if they do not have symptoms.
• Avoiding physical contact with others and maintaining a distance from customers and other individuals, whenever possible, including inside workspaces.
• Adopt staggered work schedules, e.g., provide alternating workdays or extra shifts, to reduce the total number of employees on a workspace at any given time and to ensure physical distancing.
• Minimize traffic in enclosed spaces, such as elevators and stairwells, and limiting the number of individuals in an elevator at one time.
• Minimize the sharing of equipment, such as kitchen appliances, food preparation tools (e.g., knives), and eating utensils.
• Continue routine cleaning and other housekeeping practices in any facilities that remain open to workers or others. Enhance sanitation of all high-traffic areas (e.g., laundry areas, toilet facilities) and frequently touched surfaces (e.g., door handles, paper towel dispensers, sinks, faucets, appliances).
• Keep in-person meetings as short as possible, limit the number of workers in attendance, and use social distancing practices.
• Stagger break times or provide temporary break areas and restrooms to avoid groups of workers during breaks.
• Stagger workers’ arrival and departure times to avoid congregations of workers in parking areas and near time clocks.
• Provide visual cues (e.g., floor markings, signs) as a reminder to workers to maintain social distancing. Remove or rearrange chairs and tables, or add partitions to tables, in areas workers may frequent to increase worker separation. Identify alternative areas to accommodate overflow volume.
• Encourage routine hand washing and personal hygiene. Place hand sanitizers in multiple locations to encourage hand hygiene. If possible, choose hand sanitizer stations that are touch-free.
• Encourage payment by electronic means or over the phone rather than handling credit cards, debit cards, or cash.
• Continue using other normal control measures, including PPE, necessary to protect workers from other job hazards associated with medical activities. Know the types, proper use, limitations, location, handling, decontamination, removal, and disposal of any PPE being used.
• Implement practices to prevent or minimize spread between the surrounding community and congregant work settings (e.g., by establishing procedures for screening visitors for signs and symptoms of COVID-19).
• Implement practices to limit spread of infection from workers on rotational work to other workers or the general public.
• Establish a system for employees to safely alert their supervisors if they are experiencing signs or symptoms of COVID-19 or if they have had recent close contact with a suspected or confirmed COVID-19 case. Provide training on COVID-19-related safety protocols for workers.
• Remain alert of changing outbreak conditions, including as they relate to community spread of the virus and testing availability, and implement infection prevention measures accordingly.
• Keep up to date on guidance from DOH, tailoring protection measures to community-specific information on COVID-19 transmission and policies.
Being mindful of the health, safety, and sanitation protocol will enable the country to work together in ensuring that Filipinos remain safe and protected from the virus.