As the World Health Organization (WHO) declared the coronavirus a global pandemic, employers need to take extra precautions to ensure the safety of their employees, as well as providing transparent and regular updates related to the business and virus. Critical to this process is the role played by the Contingency Manager – an individual who can take steps to manage this evolving situation to keep employees safe while ensuring the continued delivery of business operations.
Their Role Should Include:
- Actively monitor the development of the virus outbreak and work with management to disseminate messages to employees with clear instructions of when measures need to be activated.
- Educate employees on the latest available information. Brief them on the need for infection control measures and the preventive procedures that have been set in place. Educate employees on the different types of thermometers, such as oral and ear thermometer, and the proper way of using them.
- Collate updated contact information of all employees, i.e. home address/home telephone number/mobile phone number. Make sure all employees have contact numbers of Contingency Manager/Assistant Contingency Manager*. Employees are to contact the Contingency Manager if they are admitted to the hospital with suspected infections for contact tracing purposes.
- Ensure that the company has appointed at least one designated Point of Contact (POC), who will be responsible for liaising with the local government agency during activation of contact tracing processes at the workplace.
- Check local government websites daily for updated advisories (e.g. travel advisories) and update employees accordingly.
- Ensure that employees who have traveled to affected areas are quarantined for a sufficient number of days, as advised. Check on employees’ health by phone or email during his/her absence from work.
- Appoint employee to keep quarantined employees informed of events in the office.
- Ensure that the workplace has adequate supplies of tissue paper/hand towels, disinfectants and masks.
- Brief employees on personal hygiene measures:
- Wash hands regularly and thoroughly with soap and water
- Before and after preparing food
- After going to the toilet
- Before and after eating
- After coughing and sneezing
- After removing personal protective equipment like a mask and disposable gloves
- Sneezing and coughing should be done onto tissue paper which should be carefully disposed
- Avoid sharing of cups, cutlery, etc
- Avoid physical contact such as shaking hands
- Put up notices in washrooms on proper handwashing techniques
- Ensure common areas e.g. pantries, washrooms, meeting rooms are disinfected daily. Liaise with cleaning employees/contractors on this
- Designate a room/area in the office with nearby toilet facilities as the isolation room/area for the employee(s) with fever to use. Identify the isolation route (a route that is not commonly used by employees/ visitors) that leads to an area where the employees with fever can be brought to the flu clinic/hospital
- Identify hospital/clinics that employees with fever can be brought to
- Where advised by a government agency, carry out symptoms or temperature monitoring of employees. If temperature monitoring is instituted, ensure employees measure their temperature twice daily.
*Note: Depending on the number of employees and the size of your company’s premises, an Assistant Contingency Manager should be appointed as a backup to cover the duties of the Contingency Manager.