- ORGANIZATION AND DUTIES OF THE PREPARATION TEAM
The implementation of the below mentioned issues in our workplaces is of great importance for an effective fight against the New Coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak in the workplaces. These measures are taken by the Committee in the workplaces with an Occupational Health and Safety Committee and in other workplaces, under the coordination of the employer or its counsel, by the team consisting of, if available, the workplace doctor, occupational safety specialist and other health personnel and employee representative and, if possible, people who have received first aid training or have the relevant experience. In the workplaces providing health services, the Occupational Health and Safety Committee carries out its activities in coordination with the Infection Control Committees if available.
The Preparation Team
- Will carry out the works with respect to the measures to be taken;
- Will carry out the necessary works with respect to the hygiene and cleaning of the workplace;
- Will coordinate the internal and external communication and
- Will keep the emergency plan up-to-date.
For the isolation and quarantine procedure of the suspected cases, will ensure contact with ALO 184 Coronavirus Hotline and nearest hospital of the Ministry of Health.
The Committee or Preparation Team is liable to follow the recommendations of the official authorities and information published by the Directorate General of Occupational Health and Safety and to act accordingly.
- EMERGENCY PLAN AND RISK ASSESSMENT
It is required to
- Activate the emergency plan after updating the measures planned against the epidemics according to the current COVID-19;
- Organize the activities carried out in the workplace and working organization as to prevent COVID-19 exposure of the employees;
- Ensure the informing of the employee representatives and/or employees about the updated emergency plan and their awareness regarding what to do and not to do within the framework of the plan and
- Perform a separate risk assessment or update the current risk assessment by determining the dangers specific to the workplace with respect to COVID-19.
- PREVENT THE SPREAD OF THE OUTBREAK
Currently, there is no vaccine to prevent COVID-19. The best way to prevent the outbreak is to avoid exposure to the virus. In order to prevent the spread of COVID-19 in your workplace, the preventive measures should be immediately taken. These measures prevent or slow down the spread of COVID-19.
The below mentioned issues should be taken into consideration by the employers:
- Before starting to work, all employees should be checked with a non-contact infrared thermometer and those with high fever should be directed to the workplace doctor.
- A working model suitable to ensure the social distancing of the employees throughout the workplace should be developed.
- Signs/posters/instructions promoting the employees to stay at home when feeling sick; including the coughing and sneezing etiquettes and emphasizing the importance of hand hygiene should be hang at the entrance of the workplace and other places visible by everyone.
- Single-use tissues should be provided to the employees and separate trash bags should be provided for separate biological wastes and the necessary implementations should be carried out by the cleaning personnel for emptying the trash without any contact.
- The employees should be informed about washing their hands with soap and water for at least 20 seconds before entering the workplace and during work. In case of no access to water and soap, the hands should be frequently cleaned with an alcohol-based hand sanitizer.
- There should be sufficient cleaning materials in the workplace for the use of the employees. The sanitizers should be available in the common areas to promote hand hygiene.
- If possible, the homeworking of the employees in the vulnerable groups should be ensured.
- In case an employee tests positive for COVID-19, the employer should inform the other employees regarding the possibility of exposure to COVID-19 and contact the health institutions.
- In order to protect the mental health of the employees, by assessing the psychosocial risk factors, measures should be taken with accurate and effective informing.
- The reliable sources of information (such as the Ministry of Health and World Health Organization (“WHO”)) should be used to follow the up-to-date information.
- The occupational health and safety trainings to be provided to the employees should be provided as distant training by prioritizing the workplace hygiene and organization, hygiene and psychosocial risk factors. In the trainings, suggestions with respect to the family and communal living should also be given.
- CLEANING AND HYGIENE
In the workplaces, the cleaning and hygiene standards should be maximized.
- In accordance with the recommendations of the Ministry of Health, necessary additional measures should be taken.
- In the workplaces, the close contact of the employees and common use of the equipment, tools and materials should be prevented as much as possible.
- The employees should wash their hands with water and soap for at least 20 seconds before starting to work and during work at certain intervals.
- The regular cleaning implementations including the routine cleaning and disinfection of the surfaces, equipment and other elements of the work environment should be maintained. The hygiene requirements should be followed in the common areas such as the work environment, sinks, toilets, bathrooms, handrails, faucets and cafeterias, dormitories, resting areas, dressing/changing rooms, doors and turnstiles.
- The keyboards and other devices should also be regularly cleaned. The use of the telephones, tables, offices or other working tools and equipment of the other employees should be prevented as much as possible.
- Applied proper hand washing trainings should be provided to the employees by the responsible health personnel in the workplaces and their awareness about hygiene should be raised.
- In case of coughing and sneezing, the mouth and nose should be covered with a single use tissue and in case of no tissue, should be covered with the inner side of the elbow. Touching the face should be avoided.
- The visits to the workplaces should be restricted and non-urgent visits and non-urgent outsourced services should be cancelled.
- Everyone visiting the workplace including the business partners and subcontractors should have access to the hand washing areas. In case it is not possible to wash hands, an alcohol-based hand sanitizer should be available.
- The employers, counsels of the employers and directors should set an example to their employees as the significant role models.
- The cleaning and hygiene of the shuttles, especially and principally the frequently contacted surfaces, should be ensured at frequent intervals.
- The contact of the employees using the shuttles and public transportation vehicles to the inner surfaces should be minimized as much as possible.
- The methods used during registering the entrance and exit of the employees to the workplaces should be organized as to prevent physical contact.
- The workplace should be ventilated at certain intervals, if possible, through natural ways.
- In the cafeterias, the proper thermal comfort conditions and hygiene should be ensured. The number of employees eating at the same time (primarily, giving lunch boxes, ensuring single use drinking water in a closed cup, if not possible, eating in shifts, organizing as to ensure distant seating of the employees eating at the same time or numbering as to ensure the seating of the employee at the same table every day and etc.) should be decreased.
- The workwear and protective equipment should be taken off before leaving the work environment and should be stored in a place separate from other clothes. The dirty and/or contaminated clothes and protective equipment should be cleaned by removing the virus and when required, should be destroyed.
- GUIDANCE WITH RESPECT TO THE PERSONAL PROTECTIVE EQUIPMENT
- In the work environments involving direct contact with suspected people or contamination risk, the use of fully closed eye protector or face protector/shield (EN-166), protective equipment (EN-14126), respiratory protective equipment (EN-149/FFP2 or FFP3), masks without valve and gloves (EN ISO 374-5 and with virus pictogram) by the employees should be ensured. It is required to have masks with the sign of “NR” meaning “not reusable” for protection against COVID-19 virus.
- Applied trainings with respect to the proper use of mask and waste management trainings within the framework of the Medical Waste Control Regulation should be provided by the occupational health and safety professionals in charge in the workplaces and the awareness of the employees about hygiene should be raised.
- WHAT SHOULD BE DONE IN CASE OF SOMEONE SUSPECTED OR CONFIRMED OF COVID-19 IN THE WORKPLACE?
6.a. What should be done in case an employee feels uncomfortable and thinks of being exposed to COVID-19?
- The Occupational Health and Safety Committee or Preparation Team should be informed about the potential exposure criteria (for example, areas visited by the relevant person) as to determine people exposed to COVID-19 and the recommendations of the Ministry of Health should be followed.
- The suspected person should visit the workplace doctor by wearing a mask and in case of the determination of a suspected COVID-19 case as a result of the examination, the suspected person should be isolated from other employees and should wait in the closed area previously determined and qualified to prevent the spread of the infection. The transfer of the suspected person should be ensured by contacting the relevant healthcare organization of the Ministry of Health.
- With respect to the wastes of the affected employee, transactions should be carried out within the framework of the Medical Waste Control Regulation.
- In case of the requirement of the affected employee to use the toilet/bathroom while waiting for the medical assistance, if possible, a separate toilet/bathroom should be used.
- RECOMMMENDATIONS WITH RESPECT TO TRAVEL AND MEETINGS
7.a. Travel to the affected areas
- People coming from abroad should refrain from going to work and follow the 14-Day-Quarantine Rule of the Ministry of Health. These people should call ALO 184 Coronavirus Hotline for information and isolate themselves.
- Events such as business travels, conferences, congresses and etc. organized abroad should be postponed as much as possible and when necessary, primarily, voice and video communication opportunities should be preferred. In case of necessary business travels, the recommendations of the Ministry of Health should be followed.
7.b. Meeting organization
7.b.1. Before or during the meeting
- If possible, as to prevent the potential COVID-19 exposure, the meetings should be postponed or should be hold as teleconference/video conference. If not possible, the meeting should be hold with fewer participants.
- The recommendations of the authorities of the relevant area, in which the meeting or event is planned to be organized, should be checked and followed.
- A preparation plan should be developed as to prevent infection in the meeting or event. Before, during and after the meeting, the cleaning and ventilation should be ensured.
- Sufficient material, including tissues and hand sanitizer, should be provided for all participants.
- In case any participant shows symptom or does not feel well, it is required to tell the relevant participant to not attend the meeting.
- The contact information (mobile phone number, e-mail, place of stay and etc.) of all organizers, participants, catering service personnel (if possible, should be given as lunch box) and visitors in the event should be recorded. In case any participant catches a suspected contagious disease, the details should be shared with the public health authorities and in case of refusing to share, the participation of the relevant participant to the meeting or event should be prevented.
- Before the meeting, the greeting should be without handshaking.
- During the meeting or event, all participants should regularly wash their hands or use alcohol-based hand sanitizer.
- The hand sanitizers should be placed as to be easily seen and used by everyone in the meeting places.
- A seating arrangement as to ensure the proper distance between the participants should be planned.
- As to ensure the good ventilation of the work environment, the windows and doors should be kept open as much as possible.
- At the end of the meeting, handshaking when leaving and group photo should be prevented.
7.b.2. After the meeting
- The names and contact information of all participants should be stored for at least one month. In case of being informed about the infection of one or more participants, the storage of the participant information and list including the names and contact of the participants will help the public health authorities to monitor people that might have been exposed to COVID-19.
- In case of the isolation of a suspected in the meeting or event for COVID-19, the organizator should inform all participants accordingly. And all participants should be recommended to isolate themselves for 14 days to monitor the symptoms. In case they do not feel well, they should stay at home and apply to the relevant public health authority.
- APPROVAL OF THE ABSENTEEISM
In case of a suspected COVID-19 case, the employee should contact the workplace doctor and follow the recommendations of the Ministry of Health. The employee, to whom report is given by the healthcare organizations, should inform the employer without going to the workplace. With respect to the validity period of the reports, the employers should follow the explanations of the relevant Ministry of Health, Ministry of Family, Labor and Social Services and other official authorities.
Unofficial translation of Ministry of Labor, Measures required to be taken against coronavirus (covıd-19) in the workplaces. Original text can be found here.