Nurses Offer Safe Workplace Advice as NC Relaxes COVID-19 Restrictions
NCNA and NCAOHN urge employers to continue taking measures to prevent the spread of the coronavirus.
The Occupational Health Nurse (OHN), who works within various industry workplaces, is often a valuable resource for creating infection control practices and identifying health and safety issues for industries and their workers.
"Employers already value their workers, but they are also required by law to provide a safe and healthy workplace," said NCAOHN President Karen Smith. "In response to this pandemic, new cleaning procedures are being instituted throughout North Carolina, and work processes are being changed to protect against the spread of the COVID-19 virus in the workplace. Nurses can and should be an integral part of this planning process."
COVID-19 is spread through the air during breathing and by touching surfaces contaminated with the virus. To combat being exposed and infected, there are four main ways to protect workers:
1. Keep social distancing of at least six feet apart. When this is not possible, physical barriers may be seen in some workplaces.
2. Wear a mask as a barrier.
3. Keep hands away from the face. If gloves are worn, the virus can be transmitted from the gloves to the eyes, nose or mouth.
4. Frequently wash hands with soap and water. Wash hands after removing gloves as well. If hand washing is not possible, hand sanitizer can be an effective substitute.
According to the CDC, COVID-19 symptoms that should be reported to the Occupational Health Nurse before going to work include fever of 100.0 degrees Fahrenheit, headache, cough, repeated shaking with chills, new loss of taste or smell, muscle ache, diarrhea, nausea, and vomiting.
"As the public is allowed more mobility and admission to workplaces, we must remain aware that the virus is still here, strong, and transmissible,"
Some employers may require temperature checks and symptom screening questions before workers report to work. This is all in the interest of keeping the workplace safe and both NCNA and NCAOHN support these efforts. North Carolina is best served if all workplaces adhere to safe and healthy work practices and remain alert for any COVID-19 symptoms to report promptly.
More resources for employers regarding safe return to work strategies can be found at http://aaohn.org/