COVID-19: Other Health and Safety Issues - Capstone Brokerage

By now we’re so familiar with the recommended precautions to take against contracting coronavirus we could probably recite them in our sleep.  Cover your face, maintain social distance, wash your hands, etc.  They obviously bear repeating considering how important they are.  However, there are some new health and safety concerns that have risen from these new precautions we’ve been taking that should be taken into consideration as operations and businesses continue to re-open. 

Heat and Outdoor Safety

            Maintaining social distance and keeping six feet away from other people at all times can prove to be extremely difficult, especially in smaller spaces or high traffic areas.  In many cases, businesses have resorted to limiting occupancy by creating wait lines outside of establishments to keep operations flowing while still allowing for a creation of distance among patrons.  While this helps to keep business going, we have to be aware that as we enter the hottest parts of the year, having people wait outdoors can pose safety issues.  Heat illness can include minor symptoms such as dehydration and heat cramps, but can become serious if not addressed quickly.  This is not only an important topic to discuss for the sake of your customers but requires regulatory action in consideration of any employees that may also be working outdoors due to these new parameters.  Employees need to be provided with water, rest, and shade when applicable and should be monitored accordingly as to not overexert themselves or become ill. 

Environmental Quality

            Buildings we were working in might have been left stagnant for weeks or months during our various shutdowns and absences.  This may have caused a multitude of issues that would impact the return of employees and customers.  Any leaks or mechanical issues that could have occurred would need to be repaired to continue regular operations.  Pathogens could have been spread through the air via water left in the pipes or even pest infestations.  Air and general overall environmental quality of the premises should be assessed before operations begin again.  If there are any complaints about the quality of the environment, meet them with investigative and science-based corrective actions.  Having a safe and healthful indoor environment should be important to occupants and building operators. 

Toxin Exposure

            The cleaning regimens of our homes, businesses, grocery stores, and even our cars have increased dramatically to say the least.  We are now constantly aware of disinfecting everything we touch and come in contact with.  Using the recommended disinfectants is necessary to mitigate the transmission of coronavirus, but they can also pose a very dangerous threat to us if not used properly.  The overuse or misuse of disinfectants can easily lead to skin irritation, respiratory problems, and in extreme cases, death.  There are even more dangers during these present times because brands and formulas we’re familiar with are not readily available to us, enabling us to use certain products that may not be as safe.  Before using any cleaning agents or disinfectants, be sure to read the labels and instructions for proper use. 

Ergonomic Configuration

            With the recommendation that those who can work from home remain at home, there are some key mistakes employees are making in reference to their home office set up.  Even certain workplaces that have become designed for social distance can present health issues if reconfigured for an extended period of time.  Trying to remain at a distance from others or spending a significant amount of time at home has led us to remain stagnant for more hours of the day than we may previously experienced.  Taking the time to get up and stretch at least once every hour during your workday can prove to be definitive in avoiding strain on the body from sitting or remaining static for too long.  While seated it is important to keep your eyes level with the top of your computer screen, have your hips, knees, and ankles flexed at 90-degree angles, and have your elbows bent and level with your keyboard.