What can be done to protect employees who cannot maintain social distancing of at least 6 feet from other employees or customers?
Evaluate your workplace to identify situations where employees cannot maintain a distance of at least 6 feet from each other and/or customers. Use appropriate combinations of controls following the hierarchy of controls to addresses these situations to limit the spread of COVID-19. A committee of both employees and management may be the most effective way to recognize all of these scenarios.
It is important to note that control recommendations or interventions assigned to reduce the risk of spreading COVID-19 must be compatible with any safety programs and personal protective equipment (PPE) normally required for the job task.
Approaches to consider may include the following:
Alter the workspace using engineering controls to prevent exposure to the virus that causes COVID-19.
- Make sure the workspace is well-ventilated.
- Change the alignment of workstations where feasible. For example, redesign workstations so employees are not facing each other.
- Consider making foot traffic one-way in narrow or confined areas, such as aisles and stairwells, to encourage single-file movement at a 6-foot distance.
- Set up, where possible, physical barriers between employees, and between employees and customers.
- Use strip curtains, plastic barriers, or similar materials to create impermeable dividers or partitions.
- Move electronic payment terminals/credit card readers farther away from the cashier to increase the distance between the customer and the cashier.
- Use visual cues such as floor decals, colored tape, and signs to remind employees to maintain distance of 6 feet from others, including at their workstation and in break areas.
- Consider these cues for customers as well, such as at the entrance or checkout line.
- Place handwashing stations or hand sanitizers with at least 60% alcohol throughout the workplace for employees and customers.
- Use touch-free stations where possible.
- Make sure restrooms are well-stocked with soap and paper towels.
Provide training and other administrative policies to prevent the spread of COVID-19.
- All employees should have a basic understanding of COVID-19, how the disease spreads, symptoms, and ways to prevent or minimize the spread.
- Trainings should cover the importance of social distancing (maintaining a distance of at least 6 feet), wearing cloth face coverings appropriately, covering coughs and sneezes, washing hands, cleaning and disinfecting high-touch surfaces, not sharing personal items or tools/equipment unless absolutely necessary, and not touching the face, mouth, or eyes.
- Employees should be encouraged to go home or stay home if they feel sick. Ensure that sick leave policies are flexible and consistent with local public health guidance, and that employees are aware of and understand these policies.
Use cloth face coverings as appropriate.
- Recommend employees wear a cloth face covering.
- Cloth face coverings are intended to protect other people—not the wearer. They are not considered PPE.
- Train employees how to put on and take off cloth face coverings to avoid contamination.
- Cloth face coverings should be washed and dried after each use.
- Cloth face coverings should not be worn if their use creates a new risk (e.g., interferes with driving or vision, contributes to heat-related illness) that exceeds their benefit of slowing the spread of the virus.
- Recommend that visitors to the workplace (service personnel, customers) also wear cloth face coverings.