The wave of COVID19 was a shock and took us all under its terrifying influence within a short time. The COVID19 pandemic should not be taken lightly, it is spreading at an alarmingly fast rate. With each passing day, its infectivity rate keeps increasing. There are no signs of a decline.
The reason for the wide-spread infectivity are:
- The nature of the COVID-19 virus.
- Lack of precautions taken by the public to reduce transmissibility. Changing the nature of the virus is not in our hands. The role we have to play to in fighting COVID-19 is in reducing the transmission of the virus. This includes strict adherence to Standard Operating Procedures (SOPs) at workplaces, avoiding unnecessary socialization, and following strict cleanliness.
Covid19 Testing and Workplaces
To ensure the state and economy’s long-term survival, the Corporate and Industrial Sector has to function through these difficult times. COVID-19 has affected all aspects of our lives. It has affected our health, relationships, lifestyles, education, and economy.
Corporations and Industries are responsible for providing essential goods and supplies to the population even under strict lockdown. The country’s economy and development depend on corporations and industries, and shutting it down could mean significant losses in terms of economy and gross production of goods all over the country.
The Corporate and Industrial Sector could not be run without an operating workforce available in the offices or factories, doing their jobs as usual. Strict Standards of Protocol (SOP)s are employed at workplaces, offices, and industries to minimize transmission of the COVID-19 virus and to ensure efficient workplace functioning.
Similar to employee drug testing and workplace drug testing protocols, screening protocols and employees’ COVID19 testing are set into place and declared mandatory requirements everywhere. The motive behind this is to reduce infectivity and to eliminate risk factors in the workplace.
HIPAA and Covid19 Testing Compliances
Since COVID19 started, there has always been a looming controversy if HIPAA should cover employers who are testing their employees for COVID19 or not. This question arose from the possibility that employers were scanning temperatures and adapting testing protocols. It was possible that COVID-19 testing may come under HIPAA, similar to how employee and workplace drug testing is done. However, this was denied under both HIPAA and ERISA. COVID-19 testing does not come under HIPAA because COVID-19 testing is not considered a luxury or a benefit of any sort but necessary.
HIPAA is an organization that solely deals with health plans, organizational-based plans for employees. So, it has rightfully denied taking any responsibility for COVID19 testing that is conducted by employers. However, the ‘group’ health plans that employers have designed for their respective employees are included and considered under HIPAA regulations.
General Measure To Prevent The Spread Of COVID19 At Workplaces
Workplaces, as per the rules and regulations announced by the CDC, are following strict measures to ensure that there is no spread of the infection from the workplace itself.
Here are the basic protocols that workplaces have adapted to, keeping in mind the COVID19 pandemic:
● Workers are to practice social distancing at all times. Even if a workplace is small, the employer must keep at least a 6-feet distance between two employees by engineering any possible means within the workplace. ● Employees are to keep their face masks or face shield on at all times. Lunchtimes are an exception. ● Employers should promote the practice of hand washing and sanitize within the workplace. Any employee who leaves and then enters into the office should wash his/her hands, sanitize themselves, and enter into their respective working place. ● Regular and prompt measures to disinfect the work area, including the employees’ workplaces, should be taken.
What To Do If An Employee Tests Positive For Covid19 At Work
Despite regular measures, if an employee tests positive for COVID19, a devised set of protocols should be taken with immediate effect to ensure safety and to stop the COVID19 virus from infecting others.
● If an employee tests positive for COVID19, s/he should bring that to the employer’s notice and isolate himself for the specified quarantine period. ● The same applies to all those employees who develop COVID19 symptoms during their duty hours. They are to go home immediately and isolate themselves until they become symptom-free, or their test results come out negative. ● The employer should similarly notify the remaining employees, especially those in close contact with the infected one, about a possible outbreak in the office premises. Confidentiality is to be maintained among the employees and the employers at all times. ● The employer should adopt a ‘Work from home’ strategy from that day onwards for at least 14 days. In the meantime, employees should also monitor themselves for any symptoms. It is recommended they stay isolated from their family members. ● Any possible visitors or vendors who have made contact with the infected person or have even visited the office premises within the last 14 days should be contacted and notified to stay alert from that day onwards. ● If the office premises is closed, it should be disinfected and sanitized. It should be disinfected and sanitized when the office opens. Proper measures should be taken to ensure that the environment is germ-free and healthy for workers and employees to breathe freely.
All employers must ensure workplace safety for their employees. Also all employees are equally responsible for making sure the workspace is a healthy and clean environment. Looking for COVID19 Testing at your workplace, contact us at [email protected] for more details.