International industry leader in EHS (Environment, Health & Safety) management epar, is now educating workplaces of hazards relating to poor hand hygiene in relation to recent global events.
The now widespread outbreak of a novel family of viruses named COVID-19, or more commonly known as Coronavirus, is putting an onus on people’s personal hygiene and precaution in public places to prevent the birth of a worldwide pandemic.
The virus has already caused over 3,800 deaths globally and approximately 110,000 cases (80 in Australia) have been recorded as of 9 March 2020. These numbers are now causing people and workplaces to take measures to prevent even more individuals from becoming infected.
WHAT ARE “CORONAVIRUSES?”
Coronaviruses are a large family of viruses that causes illness ranging from the common cold to more severe diseases, and in worst cases death. Common signs of infection include respiratory symptoms, fever, cough, shortness of breath and breathing difficulties.
The Coronavirus spreads from person to person, and generally between people who are in close contact with one another. It is, therefore, crucial to educate employees and members of any business or organisation of the symptoms and how to minimise the risk of infection.
Rarely, animal coronaviruses can evolve to infect and spread among humans, causing severe diseases such as Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS) which emerged in 2002, and Middle East Respiratory Syndrome (MERS) which emerged in 2012.
Most recorded cases of coronavirus are found in Wuhan City in Hubei Province, China, where the virus originated. In Australia, the people at greatest risk for infection are those who have recently been in mainland China and Iran and Italy, or been in close contact with someone who is a confirmed case of Coronavirus.
To date, there are no specific treatments for Coronavirus, but symptoms can be treated. There is much more to learn about how it is spread, its severity, and other features and investigations are ongoing.
HOW DO I BEST PROTECT MYSELF?
The best way to protect yourself is the same as you would against any respiratory infection; by practicing good hygiene and making sure to clean your hands thoroughly after interacting with people and covering your mouth and nose when coughing and sneezing. It is also important to avoid close contact with anyone with cold or flu-like symptoms.
Wearing a medical mask can help limit the spread, however, using a mask alone is not guaranteed to stop infections. This method should, therefore, be used in conjunction with other prevention measures including hand and respiratory hygiene. Good hand hygiene has proven the most effective way to stop infections spreading.
HOW TO WASH YOUR HANDS
A 2018 report by the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) found that up to 97 percent of us wash our hands incorrectly. This means, our poor knowledge of basic hand hygiene is now a major risk factor in spreading the virus.
There are also situations which are more important to be washing your hands. They include after touching animals, food preparation (especially raw meat, poultry and fish), before and after treating a wound.
Research suggests that the WHO (World Health Organisation) 6 Step process in washing your hands is the most efficient at killing bacteria.
42 seconds that can change your health in the workplace
STEP 1: First, wet your hands first before applying any soap. Apply soap and then rub your hands as shown below for 20 seconds.
STEP 2: Rinse off your hands thoroughly and then dry with a disposable hand towel.
STEP 3: Once hands are dry, use the hand towel to turn off the faucet if it is manually operated.
WHAT TO DO IF YOU ARE FEELING SICK
The National Coronavirus Health Information Line is live on 1800 020 080, providing public health and situation informational.
The line operates 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. It will refer requests for medical advice to registered nurses on Healthdirect – 1800 022 222.
epar is a team of EHS experts who can provide your business with a complete EHS management solution.
epar has managed and revolutionised the complex world of environment and safety management since 2003, and are unique in the level of advanced research and development relating specifically to a sustainable workplace.
The company has quickly become a leading provider of EHS management solutions within Australia and internationally, with an experienced team passionate about ensuring businesses understand their legal responsibilities and are achieving their goals.
At epar, it starts with the best team and the best compliance materials and carries through to the best software and document design and better delivery methods – all with the philosophy that their customers deserve the best.