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While many states are gradually easing coronavirus blockages, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) have now issued guidelines for reopening offices.
“Workers in office buildings may be exposed to the virus that causes coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19). Employers, owners and managers of office buildings and construction operations specialists can take steps to create a safe and healthy workplace and protect workers and customers, “said the federal agency. the announcement of the guidelines.
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For starters, employers are encouraged to make sure that building ventilation systems work properly. It is also recommended to open windows and doors, when possible, to “increase the circulation of outside air as much as possible.” CDC officials also advised employers to check for rodents and mold that could affect employee health. (Indeed, stagnant water in plumbing systems can lead to an accumulation of harmful bacteria if not properly managed by facility managers, according to a recent report. Particularly worrying is the bacteria Legionella, which can cause Legionnaires’ disease, a severe type of pneumonia.)
In addition, employers are encouraged to “identify where and how workers can be exposed to COVID-19 at work,” according to the CDC.
Specifically, employers are advised to identify workplaces or common areas where workers can be less than 6 feet apart – such as break rooms or meeting rooms, for example. New construction guidelines must also be well communicated to all employees, as well as to all contractors who may visit.
Employers are also encouraged to modify the workspace configurations to ensure that employees can socially distance themselves from each other. When this is not possible, the CDC recommends “installing transparent screens or other physical barriers when possible”.
High contact items – such as coffee makers and bulk snacks – should be replaced with “prepackaged or individual serving items,” according to the CDC.
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In addition, employers should “actively encourage employees who have symptoms of COVID-19 or who have a sick family member at home with COVID-19 to inform their supervisor and stay at home. “
Daily temperature checks, staggered offsets and the prohibition of handshakes, hugs and punches may also be the norm in the post-coronavirus workplace.
You can read more instructions for reopening offices here.