What to Do If COVID-19 is Discovered in The Workplace

Two members of a professional sanitation crew clean the surfaces of a restaurant in hazmat suits after COVID-19 was discovered in the workplace.COVID-19 is a microscopic adversary, making it extremely difficult to detect its presence until it’s too late. Despite the measures your business takes to defend against the virus, there’s always a chance of an outbreak – an employee can contract it outside of work, a sick patron may disregard their quarantine, or the virus can travel into the establishment via a delivery. No matter how the contamination enters your business, it’s important to know what to do If COVID-19 is discovered in the workplace.

Provide Immediate Guidance to Your Team

If a case of COVID-19 is confirmed in one of your employees, they should be immediately instructed to quarantine at home for 14 days and not to return to work until they receive a negative test. The next step is to identify any close contacts with the COVID-19-positive employee. A close contact is considered anyone who was in close proximity to the sick employee two days before they experienced symptoms up until the last day they were at work. Close contacts should be instructed to self-isolate and not return to work until they, too, obtain a negative test.

Temporarily Close the Business and Contact the Appropriate Authorities

Once you’ve relayed the proper instructions to your team, you should shut your business down for at least 24 hours or until you’ve had the establishment cleaned according to CDC guidelines. You should also collect the names and contact information of those found to be in close contact with the positive team member and call your town’s Board of Health to receive immediate guidance, according to Massachusetts’ required response. Besides reporting the team members’ information to the Board of Health for contact-tracing purposes, it’s important to maintain confidentiality to abide by privacy laws.

Clean and Disinfect the Premises

Once the business is shut down, you cannot reopen until you have the premises cleaned and disinfected. However, before you hire a professional cleaning service, you should do your research to ensure your establishment is well taken care of:

  • Interview the Candidates: It’s a good idea to learn about the company’s cleaning practices and the products they will be using on your site. You should also determine if they have experience sanitizing COVID-19 contaminated premises as well.
  • Ensure They’re Insured: Make certain they have the appropriate liability insurance so that you will be protected if negligence on their part results in damages to your business.
  • Prepare the Workspace: Inform your team of the cleaning so they can secure valuable items or any confidential information in their work area. Before the cleaning crew arrives, be sure to remove any slipping or tripping hazards, such as cluttered walkways or long extension cords.

Once the business has been completely cleaned and sanitized and remained closed for at least 24 hours, you should then be permitted to reopen your business. However, it’s important to ensure the close-contact employees are tested before they return to work.

It’s wise to outline your plan of action now in case COVID-19 is discovered in the workplace. A great way to prepare for this unfortunate event is to assign a point person or team to take care of the planning. However, regardless of the precautions in place, accidents still happen, and businesses can still suffer the setbacks of COVID-19. That’s why TJ Woods Insurance always makes sure their clients are protected with the appropriate business insurance policies. If you would like to know more about the policies that can protect your business, contact us today.