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We Cannot Ignore the Collision Course with COVID-19

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As Increasing Number of Employees Return to Work, We Cannot Ignore the Collision Course with COVID-19 and the Critical Gap in Safety Guidance

On May 21st, the San Diego County Board of Supervisors and the Governor of California voted to accelerate phase 2 of the State’s four phase plan to fully re-opening the local economy. But by the middle of June, the County Health Department reported a record 310 new cases, 10,794 total cases and 338 deaths from COVID-19. With increasing infections across the State, The Governor issued a requirement for masks to be worn in public because the infections in California was spiking.

At last reporting, California had 148,855 confirmed cases of COVID-19 and 5,063 deaths. The State, like many other states, is seeing a marked week-over-week increase of cases, which is the highest in the County. Some question whether mask requirements should remain with local leaders, as community spread varies across the state’s regions. In states with comparatively small populations like Arizona, the Governor has done just that, letting decisions on mask requirements fall to local governments.

On June 19, Arizona reported their largest spike in reported COVID-19 cases with 3,246, totaling 46,689 cases, up from 14,556 from just a month ago. Phoenix, the largest metro area in the State and 5th largest city in the U.S., and Scottsdale have issued a requirement for masks while out in public.

If state and local leaders haven’t been able to standardize practices to reduce infection outbreaks and rates over a sustained period of time, what do these statistics suggest about an individual business’s ability to design a meaningful re-opening plan to keep employees safe? Let alone, establishing safeguards when workers cannot maintain the recommended six feet of social distancing, which is critical in reducing cases of COVID-19.

As business owners and leaders re-open their establishments, employees undoubtedly are on a collision course with Corona virus.

People want to return to sense of normal and having religious services, hair and nail salons, fitness facilities, youth/sports clubs and apartment complex pools reopen are good signs. A part of a business’ re-opening plan must include a regular schedule of disinfecting break rooms, bathrooms, and other common areas.

Many employers are adopting guidance established by the World Health Organization (WHO), the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) and Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) as central to their safe re-opening plan. Each of these agencies highlights the importance of creating six feet of distance to reduce the risk of exposure and infection to the virus. However, maintaining six feet of distance is not possible for many organizations and none of the guidance includes protocols for the scenarios within the sensitive 6-foot perimeter. 

This means people will be returning to work environments without all the knowledge that they and their employers need to reduce their personal risk of infection in order to reduce potential outbreaks.

The Urgent Need for Safety Guidance Within 6 Feet

Research shows that exposure to the COVID-19 virus over time creates increased risk. This is been amplified in outbreaks at food packaging plants, restaurants, and senior care facilities to name a few. 

Tony Madureira is a professional mold remediator who has been protecting his employees from mold, which has the same size .3-micron particles as the COVID-19 virus, for about 15 years with no incidents. For over 15 years, Mr. Madureira has operated a business with built-in hazards but his firm has never had one employee impacted by mold exposure which he attributes to the implementation of scientific-based recommendations subscribed by professional industrial hygienists.

“The public has been provided numerous documents with workplace guidelines from OSHA and the CDC, but they don’t offer enough guidance for workers who operate in the less than a six-foot bubble,” said Mr. Madureira, Founder of Back to Work After COVID. “Even the State of California’s Workplace Specific Plan by industry, states the importance of social distancing, but it doesn’t provide protocols for what employers need to do to keep their employers safe within six-feet.

For most residents, including community and local government leaders, COVID-19 is the first-time they’ve had exposure to a mass and potentially lethal contagion. We owe it to ourselves and each other to do something now that we’re all more aware of the gap in guidance within six feet.  It’s time we get the critical information that is absent from current credible resources.

California represents the Country’s largest state economy. If we’re going to lead in the comeback, we cannot ignore this critical, identified risk.

Employers and employees can access infectious zone demonstrations, education and business strategies to help them operate safely in the six-foot environment at: https://www.backtoworkaftercovid.com/.

If you have any questions, feel free to    Contact Us

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Comments 1

Guest - Melanie on Wednesday, 24 June 2020 09:49
Key Insights

Thank you for sharing these insights into WHY we need more guidance NOW for workers who cannot safely social distance.

Thank you for sharing these insights into WHY we need more guidance NOW for workers who cannot safely social distance.
Guest
Tuesday, 27 October 2020

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