Here are a few tips to consider for protecting yourself and others while working on the job site during flu season. These tips don’t guarantee you won’t get sick, but they do reduce your chances and create a healthier work environment for everyone.
Start practicing these things regularly year-round for them to become routine, turn into good habits, and best practices for a healthier work environment. If you only do these things when you just learn about a flu outbreak, it might already be too late.
The goal is to help reduce interruptions to the work place and in doing so, you will be looking out for the well-being of other employees and your community (by doing your part in preventing further spread of the flu / virus).
While working onsite, consider and practice the following:
Stay home if you are sick and communicate your status.
Stay home if you are sick. Talk with your doctor about things you should be monitoring and discuss a reasonable date to return to work. Make sure you are communicating your current situation and your progress with your employee so that they can schedule projects appropriately. Review your sick leave policies from your employer and your state to reduce your fear of any reprisals. While home, limit your interactions with your roommate(s), family members, etc. Make sure you sanitize common areas in hopes of containing the flu / virus and avoid touching your nose, mouth, and eyes.
Do not share tools.
If it is necessary to share tools, wipe them down with a disinfectant wipe before handing them back. If you use a rag and alcohol to rub things down, make sure the rag has different colors on each side or mark one side to indicate a clean side to touch and a dirty side to wipe. After each day, the rag should be put aside to wash and a new rag used the following day.
Avoid job site water coolers.
Some public and private facilities have drinking fountains that also offer water bottle fill up stations. The water bottle fill up station has a sensor that detects your water bottle and starts pouring water. You don’t touch anything which reduces the spread of germs.
The only way to get water from a work site water cooler is by touching the push button to release water. Think about how many different crews can be working on a job site using that cooler and touching the release button. Bring your own water supply and plenty of it each day.
Leave doors open.
If possible, leave doors open to reduce touching the door knobs. This isn’t always possible so wiping down the handles throughout the day and washing your hands with either soap and water or a good hand sanitize will help.
Where gloves and face masks.
You may already be using cloves and face masks for safety reasons, but inspect them regularly for wear and tears. Replace them as soon as they need to be replaced and consider upgrading to stronger gloves and face masks.
Dedicate one office staff member to answer phone calls, collect mail, etc. and if possible, other staff members work from home (clean /disinfect the office and home office regularly).
Have supplies delivered rather than picking them up. Use other forms of payment rather than cash, such as; credit card, smart phone payment apps, etc.
Take the stairs when possible and avoid elevators. Even though most elevators are ventilated, a cough can spread fast especially in a small closed space. You also want to reduce touching common buttons to call for the elevator and select your floor.
Get up to date information from reliable sources like the CDC and your state health department. Share useful information and tips and make sure you are not communicating wrong information.
A touchy subject is vaccinations, but something to consider.
Consider how you should be greeting people (smile, hand wave, elbow bump, fist bump, handshakes, hug, kiss, etc).
Try not to stand to close to people during conversation and cough into your elbows.
Wash your hands regularly throughout the day with soap and water or a good hand sanitize product.
Stay hydrated, preferably with water.