COVID-19 WORKPLACE PROTECTION
The guidance laid down in this document is advisory in nature and meant to inform and assist the beauty and wellness industry in creating a safe and healthy workplace. Care has been taken to aggregate guidance and content from authority sources such as World Health Organization (WHO), Indian Ministry of Health and Family Welfare (MOHFW), United States Center for Disease Control (CDC) and Occupational Safety and Healthy Agency (OSHA). We encourage business owners and managers to visit the above mentioned sites for complete information.
Also Read: Coronavirus Article here on the virus, its spread and symptoms.
COVID-19 or Coronavirus Disease 2019 is caused by infection of the SARS-CoV-2 virus and results in a range of respiratory health concerns ranging from mild to life-threatening. COVID-19 has been classified as a pandemic, which means the disease has international outbreak and impact and affects all aspects of daily life including personal, manufacturing, travel, trade, services, recreation and social components. Many governments have implemented comprehensive lock down measures to limit escalation. Post lock-down, it becomes the responsibility of each business owner(s) to prepare their companies and organisations to deal with ongoing exposure and associated risks to business continuity. The world has faced only four pandemics in modern times and therefore COVID-19 threat requires extraordinary measures from business owners, employees and customers, particularly those in the beauty and wellness sectors, which requires close proximity and contact between customers and service providers.
The disease control and health organisations categorise protection measures at 5 levels from elimination (physically remove the hazard), substitution (replace the hazard), engineering controls (isolate people from the hazard), administrative controls (change the way people work) and personal protection (protect workers). Upon resumption of business (post lock-down), elimination and substitutions are not ideal options). Businesses have to implement a full range of engineering, administrative and personal protection controls.
Image Source: CDC
These include changes to infrastructure made to reduce exposure to pathogens without employee involvement and can be implemented easily. Some of these include:
- Install high-efficiency air filters. Ensure air conditioners have high quality air filters. For extended protection, apply a coat of Self-Disinfecting Disinfectant such as the NA90.
- Increase ventilation rates, specifically in treatment cabins, washrooms and other closed areas.
- Limit aerosol procedures. If needed, implement negative ventilation in specific areas where such procedures can be carried out.
- Install physical barriers such as plastic guards between work stations.
- Provide a drive-through process for retail sales items
- Provide online booking and payment so customers can prepay before they arrive to reduce wait times and aggregating at reception.
- Provide credit card machines at each work station. Ensure these card machines are not shared between workers.
- Provide a space for parking employee mobile phones, bags, etc so it doesn’t enter the work area.
- Provide no touch trash cans, sensor based running water taps and soap dispensers.
- Provide hygienically packed consumables in pre-packed quantities so general handling of big containers are avoided.
- Provide no-touch sanitizer stations through out the facility including reception, waiting areas, service areas, offices, washrooms and toilets.
Administrative controls involve changes in standard operating procedures to reduce exposure. Implement proper engineering and administrative controls will reassure both employees and customers, which could potentially reduce absenteeism and avoidance. Some administrative controls include:
- Ensure sick workers remain at home.
- Reduce face to face meetings. Use virtual meeting technologies where feasible.
- Implement staggered shifts. Split staff in alternate day shifts to avoid overcrowding. Implementing ongoing social distancing strategies is critical to success of any plan.
- Cross-train employees to carry multiple roles to avoid over crowding.
- Position work stations so each employee maintains sufficient distance from each other.
- Discourage use of break rooms by multiple employees at the same time. Create a firm schedule for lunch breaks and coffee/tea breaks to avoid crowding.
- Reduce or eliminate non-essential travel to sensitive locations, which are known hotspots.
- Avoid daily team huddles. Instead, encourage managers and team leaders to hold regular telecon with their staff for motivation and sense of belonging.
- Implement online booking, payment and scheduling of workers and customers.
- Where appropriate, implement a customer disclosure form on your web-site so you can request customers with symptoms to postpone their services.
- For employees who report in sick, do not mandate note from medical doctor to stay at home.
- Develop and roll-out employee education through your web-site, email or through whatsapp.
- Implement safety posters throughout the facility. Send employees digital copies.
- Set aside a separate service area/cabin for customers with recent international travel history. Isolate and disinfect this area more aggressively.
- Regularly remove unnecessary items, expired products, soft goods, etc from storage areas and dispose it carefully. Reduce clutter and overcrowding to enable more thorough cleaning of all surfaces.
- Clean all products and containers regularly to avoid transmission risks through open bottles, containers, etc.
Use disposable spatulas, bowls and trays to remove creams and gels required for treatments. Implement inventory issue measures to avoid cross-contamination of consumables.
Personal Protection Measures
- Provide employees with personal face masks to dispersal of nasal and oral spray/particles.
- Provide free face masks to customers suffering from cold or allergies. In cases where customer exhibit symptoms similar to COVID-19, encourage customers to return at a later date.
- Provide disposable tissues and easy access to no-touch trash cans. Ensure these are lined with plastics.
- Avoid purchasing medical grade masks such as N95.
- Where possible, provide disposable gloves.
- Train all workers to use PPE properly. This includes how to put it on, take it off, clean it, store it or dispose it. Any training material provided should be in a language and construction easily understood by all levels of workers.
Hygiene and Disinfection
- Work Stations: Ensure all work stations are placed at least 3-6 feet with sufficient clearance for employees to move around during service at each station.
- Waiting Areas: Place chairs at least 3-6 feet. Remove tables, magazines, decorations or any unwanted surface that can encourage pathogen build-up.
- Do not serve beverages in open cups. Provide water bottles at each station.
- Allocate personal tools and work implements such as dryers, scissors, combs, etc to each employee and ensure employees do not share this with their co-workers to avoid cross-contamination.
- Use high quality temperature stable electrical towel warmers to disinfect towels.
- Provide disposable aprons for both customers and employees and non-touch receptacles for disposal.
- Create and track a schedule for regularly cleaning ALL areas with a certified coronavirus disinfectant such as NX24.
- After each service, clears all areas used by a customer.
- Before and after each service, disinfect all tools and implements using a certified coronavirus disinfectant such as NX24.
- Ensure employees and customers use hand sanitizers with at least 60-70% alcohol before and after service.
- Understand symptoms and risk profiles.
- Individuals older than 65, smokers with compromised lungs and those with health histories involving cardiac problems, cancer and diabetes are greater risk of serious infection.
- If employees are sick, do not send them to the hospital. This only overwhelms the limited health infrastructure. Send them home so that they can consult a doctor over the phone before approaching a health care facility.
- Customers who are health workers known to treat COVID-19 patients need to be treated with utmost respect and care. Use a special cabin to provide them services.
Seek immediate medical attention if any of the emergency warning signs for COVID-19 are noticed in employees, customers or other staff.
- Breathing trouble/shortness of breath
- Chest pain/pressure that doesn’t go away
- Confusion or mental fog or can’t we awoken
- Blue lips or face
Ensure you keep the phone number and address of nearby medical facility and first responders handy. Post this in key areas so others can locate this information quickly. Program these details into all employee phones.
3-STEPS TO SAFETY
BEFORE CUSTOMERS ARRIVE
Prepare the salon/spa/clinic
- Know your customers. Know who are at higher risk and prior history of COVID-19 if any.
- Plan tele-consultations before customers arrive so time is minimized at the facility
- Know how to contact your local health department
- Ensure your organization tracks COVID-19 official resources so you are aware of any outbreaks.
- Assess and update your standard operating procedures regularly.
Communicate with clients.
- Ask clients if they have any symptoms during scheduling
- Consider rescheduling at risk appointments
- Ask customers to wait outside or in their cars if possible, if they arrive early.
- Ask customers to arrive on time to ensure schedules are maintained.
- Reschedule customers who are delayed significantly.
- Put posters and decals at entrances and waiting areas about prevention measures taken.
Prepare the waiting areas and treatment areas.
- Provide hygiene supplies - paper towels, sanitisers, paper tissues
- Pay attention to chair placement (3-6 feet apart). Ensure proper barriers are in place, where applicable.
- Declutter all areas - remove optional material and clean surfaces
WHEN CUSTOMERS ARRIVE
Control the Environment
- Place staff at entrance to confirm appointment and if any symptoms are present
- Provide personal hygiene kit including face masks, tissues to cover mouth and nose and water bottle and santizer.
- Allocate single dose consumables and treatment kits.
- Direct and take at-risk clients to special cabin or treatment areas as quickly as possible. Eliminate wait times.
- Limit non-clients and visitors.
WHEN CUSTOMERS ARE LEAVING
Prepare for the next visit
- Clean all frequently used/touched surfaces including counters, beds and seatings using high-quality disinfectants NX24.
- Provide home care items so that customers can keep their beauty and wellness routine up.
- World Health Organization (WHO)
- Ministry of Health and Family Welfare (India)
- Center for Disease Control (United States)
- Stop Spread of Germs Poster
- COVID-19 Symptoms
- Self-Sanitizing Disinfectants