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What to do about COVID-19 if your people have to be there?


With the advent of COVID-19, we are seeing lots of businesses look at continuing operations by having their people work remotely.

But what can you do if, for example, you run a manufacturing business or a construction business or a warehouse or any other business where the only way is for people to attend the workplace?

There are some simple and practical things that you can do to reduce the risk of infection of your people and to keep the business running.

Here are a few thoughts:

  1. Of course, you are going to educate your people about COVID-19 and what everyone’s obligations are especially in the observance of good hygiene practice in regularly washing hands with soap or an alcohol-based hand rub and in coughing and sneezing into a tissue or the elbow joint.
  2. Of course, you are going to make sure that there is an adequate supply of soap or hand rub in the workplace and ideally tissues as well to make sure people have what they need to do that.
  3. The World Health Organisation recommends a minimum space of 1 metre from a person who coughs/sneezes – when you look at peoples’ work stations, are they at least 1 metre apart? If so, great, if not, what can you do about that?
  4. If you look at workflows in the place, are there points where people come within 1 metre of each other? If not, great and, if so, what can you do about that?
  5. What sorts of meetings and gatherings do you have? What purpose do they serve? Are they really necessary? Could you achieve the purpose in another way eg through a video conference or other electronic means?
  6. If the face to face meeting is necessary, can you conduct it in a way where people maintain that 1 metre space between each other by spreading out? Perhaps you can hold the meeting own another space which better enables people to spread out?
  7. Do your meal facilities have adequate space for people to maintain  that 1 metre spacing? perhaps you can stagger tea breaks and meal breaks to reduce congestion in those facilities?
  8. If you want to go a step further, clean all surfaces with an antiseptic surface spray before and after each break.
  9. Do you require people to clock or sign on and off at a common physical point? Can you modify that arrangement so that people maintain the space between them? Or can you record attendance electronically so there is no need to get close to each other?
  10. Do people travel together in vehicles to worksites or other places? Can the trip be replaced by another means eg have a video conference in stead of meeting? If not, can people travel separately or with less people together?

These are just a few ideas that can help to protect your people and to help them to feel safe at work. No doubt there are others that might help.

Guess who is likely to know best? Your people – so why don’t you share this blog with them and ask them for their ideas on how you can all get through this difficult time together.


Ridgeline Human Resources Pty Ltd
Abn : 24 091 644 094

6 Ellesmere Ave, Croydon Victoria 3136

Peter Maguire : 0438 533 311

Monday - Friday 9am - 5pm