The 6 Most Important Parts of a Communicable Disease Prevention Program
Today, in the era of COVID-19, customers want to be assured they are safe when visiting your auto repair facility, your employees what to know you have their backs, and vendors want to do business with those who respect their health. There are many reasons why a communicable disease prevention program is critical not only for the health of the people involved with your company, but the health of your company itself. The following are the six most important elements to include in a communicable disease prevention program.
- Be Aware
Developing a communicable disease prevention program starts with awareness—awareness of federal, state, local, tribal, and/or territorial health agency guidance and regulations, awareness of community outbreaks, and of course awareness on how to minimize the spread of COVID-19 or other diseases. According to OSHA’s Guidance on Preparing Workplaces for COVID-19, management should be aware of:
- The places in your facility where customers and workers are most at risk
- The risk factors outside of the facility and also in the nearby community
- The individual risk factors of team members such as ages, chronic medical conditions and pregnancies
- How to address or minimize each of those risks
- Implement Site-Specific Infection Prevention Measures
Walk around your site and note areas with heavy foot traffic, where social distancing may be challenging, and where employees and customers touch shared tools or surfaces. Add hand sanitizing stations, markers to encourage social distancing spaces (especially for customers standing in line), and signage clearly stating face mask expectations. You may need to rearrange furniture or workstations. Set clear rules for employees and customers to follow, and post those rules where they are easily visible.
- Develop Policies for Promptly Identifying Sick Employees
If an employee gets sick with COVID-19 or another infectious disease, immediate action can prevent spread. Daily or frequent temperature checking, knowing (and enforcing) rules for post-infection isolation, and encouraging self-reporting of an illness without fear of job loss or penalty are all essential elements of any communicable disease prevention program. Your process should include contacting the proper governing authorities when an outbreak appears, creating and maintaining an open, fast system of communicating updates with the entire team, and documenting every action taken in response to an infection.
- Employee Training and Reinforcement
As the CDC reports in their Guidance on Preparing Workplaces for COVID-19, “Encourage employees to follow any new policies or procedures related to illness, cleaning and disinfecting, and work meetings and travel.” That includes informing your employees when they have been in contact with any infected individual, the proper wearing (and removal) of face coverings, and more. Keep in mind that OSHA and many state laws require employers to provide a workplace free from known hazards, and that includes communicable disease.
- Ensure Access to Timely Materials and Information
Information is continuously changing, and any communicable disease prevention program must include a way to access and share the most recent info. Assign someone on your team the responsibility of finding and storing the information, and maintain a data base of resources to help management stay up-to-date on alerts and recommendations. One source of continually updated information for COVID-19, for example, is the U.S. Department of Labor’s Coronavirus Resource page which includes links to OSHA guidance eBooks, unemployment insurance, sick leave laws and more.
- Ongoing Monitoring and Self-Inspection
Protecting your business is a never-ending job. Constant monitoring of your business and employee health is essential, as is staying abreast of community outbreaks and infection rates so you know when and how to be prepared.
You Need a Communicable Disease Prevention Program Now
The CDC says, “Business operation decisions should be based on both the level of disease transmission in the community and your readiness to protect the safety and health of your employees and customers.” Without that readiness, however, you risk increased rates of work absenteeism, eroding public confidence, delayed or interrupted supply chains and, most devastating of all, the need to downsize or even close operations. That’s why a communicable disease prevention program is essential, not just during the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, but after.
At GMG EnviroSafe, the health and safety of your auto repair facility, collision center or dealership is our top priority. We created our HealthAssure® communicable disease prevention program specifically for you, and includes planning, training and ongoing maintenance. Developed in accordance with CDC and WHO guidelines, as well as OSHA best practices, we can help you rest assured that your communicable disease prevention program is up, running, comprehensive and effective.