Workplaces can be Safe during the SARS-CoV-2 Pandemic

We all wish to return to work in a safe and productive manner. Although the re-opening of the UW-Madison campus presents challenges and complexities due to the ongoing SARS-CoV-2 pandemic, your workplace can be safe by following these 5 essential steps:

  1. Use your facemask: A facemask is required in all UW-Madison buildings, except if you are alone in a private office. When alone in your office, place a sign on your door asking visitors to knock so that you can put on your facemask if it is off before they enter. When outdoors, use a mask if you are unable to maintain your distance. Get into the habit of covering your nose and mouth in the workplace.
  2. Keep your distance: Transmission is a function of proximity and time. Maintain a 6-foot buffer between yourself and others. Follow the campus guidance for the number of people per room. Meet virtually whenever possible.
  3. Be aware: Make self-screening for COVID-19 symptoms part of your daily routine. If you have symptoms, stay home and get tested.
  4. Practice consistent hand hygiene: Frequent hand hygiene is the key to stopping infectious droplets from getting to you. Wash your hands or use hand sanitizer when entering and exiting a common space used by others
  5. Promote a safe culture: Care for your safety and that of your coworkers.

When all the above steps are applied consistently, they allow people to return to work safely.

See:  5 strategies to safely reopen America, according to Atul Gawande

This article was written by Nasia Safdar, MD, PhD, Professor of Medicine and Medical Director for Infection Prevention and Control, UW Health, and Jonathan L. Temte, MD, PhD, Associate Dean for Public Health and Community Engagement and Professor (CHS), Department of Family Medicine and Community Health.