Communication and Education Key to Keeping US Workers Safe from Deadly Coronavirus

Chriss Swaney

Sarasota, FL (WorkersCompensation.com) – With tens of thousands infected worldwide, and some 2000 deaths from the coronavirus, experts call for better communication to save worker lives.

“Employers should educate themselves about the coronavirus and take steps to limit exposure in their workplace,” said John Dony, director of the Campbell Institute at the National Safety Council. “This is particularly important for those in the healthcare sector, those with employees who travel internationally and those in the international travel industry. In addition, regular workplace illness prevention training should be offered to employees throughout the year, which can help mitigate these types of outbreaks. The bottom line is employers should always be focused on worker safety, which includes their health.”

NSC officials also echo the recommendations that OSHA and the CDC have made about protecting workers from the coronavirus which has infected 29 people in the United States.

Some of the latest safety recommendations include: practicing proper infection control, frequently washing hands with soap and water, avoid touching eyes, nose or mouth with unwashed hands, avoid close contact with people who are sick, and see a doctor immediately to be evaluated for the coronavirus.

Anthony Good, an assistant professor in the family nurse practitioner program at Carlow University, said one of the big challenges is distinguishing symptoms from the flu. “This is flu season now and people could get confused about symptoms,” said Good. “Prompt communication and education is key to monitoring spread of the virus.”

Good also said that if a worker becomes infected, insist that he or she fully recover before returning to work. And Good also noted that employees who have traveled to areas with heightened levels of exposure should inform their employers immediately. In fact, the U.S. State Department is advising against all travel to China.

Health officials report that workers in the health care and travel industries are most exposed to the coronavirus.
Officials at American Airlines said they have suspended operations to and from the Chinese mainland through March 27. And this past weekend, the U.S. government imposed new entry requirements for the U.S. , which American and other carriers are complying with. American Airlines officials also reported that even when the guidance may not be there, the airline is doing things to make sure their air crews are taken care of, including temporarily allowing masks on flights to and from Asia, Australia and New Zealand. American also has added hand sanitizers on the flight deck and at their gates.

And finally, scientists worldwide are slamming and debunking conspiracy theories that the novel coronavirus has its origins not in animals, but in a Chinese lab, according to a statement published this month in the medical journal The Lancet.

“We stand together to strongly condemn conspiracy theories suggesting that COVID-19 does not have a natural origin,” wrote the 27 authors, citing studies from scientists in multiple countries that have analyzed the virus’ genetic makeup. These studies overwhelmingly conclude that this coronavirus originated in wildlife, as have so many other emerging pathogens.”

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