By Ambrose Oruche
We are confident that you and your entire management and staff are keeping safe and hope the challenges resulting from the pandemic did not greatly impact your operations.
As you prepare to resume operations in the coming week, it is pertinent that we highlight some protocol that the National Centre for Disease Control (NCDC) has put in place for the workplace and personnel during this trying period.
The NCDC has outlined the following measures to ensure employers and employees take individual and collective responsibility for reducing the risk of the corona virus disease spreading. Members are encouraged to join this campaign by developing key messaging around the following thematic areas;
- Wash your hands frequently with soap under running water or use an alcohol-based sanitizer
- Use of face mask should be made compulsory at the workplace
- Cough/sneeze into tissue and dispose properly or cough/sneeze into your elbow
- Avoid large gatherings and physical contact
- Clean all surfaces frequently with disinfectants
- Get information only from official sources
- If you return from international travel, self-isolate for 14 days and if you develop
symptoms, call NCDC’s toll free number: 080097000010
HOW IS COVID-19 SPREAD?
The spread of COVID-19 is most likely to happen when there is close contact (within 2 metres)
with an infected person. The risk increases the longer someone has close contact with an
infected person. Droplets (respiratory secretions) produced when an infected person coughs
or sneezes containing the virus can cause transmission of the virus. There are two routes by
which people could become infected:
- Secretions can be directly transferred into the mouths or noses of people who are nearby
(within 2 metres) or could be inhaled into the lungs
- It is also possible that someone may become infected by touching a surface or object such
as a doorknob that has been contaminated with respiratory secretions and then touching
their own mouth, nose, or eyes.
Engr. Mansur Ahmed, President , Rev. I. A. Agoye, Honourary National Treasurer , Segun Ajayi-Kadir, Director General.
HOW CAN EMPLOYERS REDUCE THE RISK OF SPREAD OF COVID-19?
The best way to prevent infection and reduce the risk of spread of COVID-19 is to avoid being
exposed to the virus by following basic hand and respiratory hygiene measures.
- Promote thorough and frequent handwashing, with soap and water for at least 20
seconds and make available alcohol sanitizers in office and business premises, especially
at all entrances
- Employees should wash their hands before leaving home and on arrival at their place of
employment. Also, using the toilet, before food preparation and before eating any
food, including snacks. Likewise before leaving their place of employment
- Encourage employees to cover their nose and mouth with tissue when coughing or
sneezing. Used tissue should immediately be disposed in a covered bin followed by
washing of hands. Alternatively, sneeze or cough into a bent elbow if no tissue is
available. Ensure provision of covered bins in office and business premises
- Avoid touching eyes, nose or mouth with unwashed hands to avoid transfer of the virus
from surfaces, into eye, mouth or nose
- Use of face mask should be made compulsory for all staff
- Display signage in your office or business premises reminding staff and visitors to
maintain good and respiratory hygiene
- Employees who feel unwell should stay at home and should not attend any public
gatherings. If symptoms akin to COVID-19 develop, call NCDC on 0800 970 00010.
- Office and business premises should be cleaned and disinfected daily, especially
frequently touched surfaces like tables, door handles, countertops, computers, light and
air conditioner switches
. Employees who have returned from outside the country in the last 14 days must selfisolate
whether they have symptoms or not. This includes avoiding going to work for 14
days ater they let the country with ongoing transmission
WHAT CAN EMPLOYERS AND BUSINESSES DO TO PROTECT THE HEALTH AND SAFETY OF STAFF?
It is advice for member-companies to adopt these measures in protecting their staff;
- Develop an infectious disease preparedness action plan to reduce the risk of exposure in
the workplace and communicate it to all staff members.
- Ensure the contact details and emergency contact details of all staff members is kept up to
date and is always easily accessible
- Ensure that staff members know how to spot the symptoms of coronavirus and they have
a clear understanding of what to do if they feel unwell
- Provide handwashing facilities and ensure employees have access to water and soap, also
ensuring the working environment is kept clean
- Employers are encouraged to develop policies and practices that enable staff to work
more flexibly and remotely e.g. working from home
Engr. Mansur Ahmed, President Rev. I. A. Agoye, Honourary National Treasurer Segun Ajayi-Kadir, Director General
- Employers should develop social distancing strategies to safeguard the health and safety
of employees whose role requires face-to-face interactions with customers
- Discourage the sharing of work equipment, tools, computers, phones and desks
- Employers should limit face-to-face meetings with clients, but promote the use of meeting
technology support systems like Zoom, Skype in conducting business meeting virtually
- Employers need to stay abreast of guidelines and recommendations from federal and
state health authorities, regarding changes in national directives as a result of the
changing transition of coronavirus locally and nationally.
WHAT TO DO IF STAFF MEMBERS IN YOUR ORGANIZATION ARE CONTACTS OF A CONFIRMED CASE OF COVID-19 WHO WAS SYMPTOMATIC WHILE ATTENDING WORK?
The definition of a contact includes:
- any staff member in close face-to-face or touching contact including those undertaking
small group work (within 2 metres of the case)
- _ talking with or being coughed on for any length of _me while the individual is
- anyone who has cleaned up any bodily fluids of the individual
- close friendship groups
- any staff member living in the same household as a confirmed case, or equivalent seng
contacts are not considered cases and if they are well, they are very unlikely to have spread
the infection to others, however:
- they should be asked to self-isolate at home for 14 days from the last time they had contact
with the confirmed case
- if they develop any symptoms within their 14-day observation period they should contact
NCDC on 0800 9700 0010 or the state ministry of Health’s hotline. If and they test positive
for COVID-19 they will become a confirmed case and will be treated for the infection.
In developing these strategies towards safeguarding the health and wellbeing of staff, we
should endeavour to adopt measures as they evolve in managing this pandemic.
As we look forward to resumption of business operations, we pray for business recovery and sustenance during this period and beyond.
Ag. Director General