How Should Essential Services Workers Protect Themselves Against COVID-19?

COVID-19 is a global crisis, with hundreds of thousands of cases worldwide and concerns the virus will spread further. All facets of society have been affected by the pandemic, and as increasingly stringent controls on movement are implemented by governments around the world, more people are being asked to self isolate and practice social distancing. 

However, while working from home may be possible for some, for those essential services on the frontline, remote working is simply not an option. Many of these people are keeping society afloat, running grocery stores and supermarkets, repairing burst water mains or electrical faults, collecting trash and disinfecting public areas, policing and caring for the sick. 

Many of our customers may well be on the frontline right now, and All Seasons Uniforms wants to wish you the very best in your fight against the virus in your area. Here then, we run down the latest advice on how to protect yourself while working, however, it is also important to follow local and national guidance during this fast-changing crisis. 

Wash your hands!

Everything starts with hygiene, from keeping yourself clean to your work environment, regardless of what industry you are in. 

The World Health Organisation (WHO) has made it clear that hand washing is the best defense against the virus. Washing your hands with warm water and soap for 20 seconds can stop the virus in its tracks. The best practice is to wash your hands when entering a building and washing them as you leave. Additionally, washing every 20 minutes may be advisable. 

If this is impractical, then carrying an alcohol-based sanitizer gel can serve as an alternative (as long as the alcohol content is above 60%). To ensure everyone has access to these essentials, do not overuse products and inform management when supplies are running low. 

If you are wearing protective gear, make sure you are cleaning this frequently. The virus is believed to survive on plastic coatings and fabric, although experts are currently unsure about how long it can survive outside the body. Disinfecting these items, or at least washing them, can reduce the risk of coronavirus lingering on your work gear. 

Clean the workplace

Those working in food and healthcare services will be familiar with the rigorous cleaning that is required to keep a workplace hygienic. Those who aren’t used to sterilizing equipment should get used to cleaning items after use. A cloth, disinfectant, and a thorough wipedown can be enough to rid tools and utensils from COVID-19 and should be used on everything before and after use. 

Those using communal computers and touch screens should really be wiping before use. Keyboards, especially, harbor an astounding amount of pathogens regardless of a pandemic, so throwing COVID-19 into the mix does not make things easier.  

The CDC has also added that routine cleaning is essential for managing the virus. Everything from toilet seats to doorknobs should be disinfected throughout the day. If your workplace doesn’t have a dedicated cleaning team, then it may be a case of utilizing a rota so that all employees are keeping things clean. 

Keep your distance

Amongst the WHO recommendations is the plea to distance ourselves from each other, either by staying at home or maintaining a physical distance in the workplace. Due to the virus passing via touch, the likes of handshakes, and the odd workplace hug could mean passing COVID-19 on to another. Current best advice is to stay at least 1 to 1.5 metres away from each other if possible. 

If you are sick, showing symptoms, or having breathing problems, then notify someone immediately and take time off work. Self-isolation is critical in preventing the spread of the virus, and those showing symptoms are heavily advised to stay at home for 7 days if living alone, whereas those living with others should isolate for 14 days together. 

Sick leave is the best option for those facing Coronavirus, although those without that option may be entitled to 14 days regardless thanks to a recent bill passed by the US senate. Additionally, there are dispensations  in place to aid those who meet certain conditions such as having dependents. 

Regardless of whether you’re showing symptoms, make sure you protect others from your coughing and sneezing. If you can, catch either with a tissue and bin the tissue straight after, ensuring you wash your hands as well. If this isn’t possible, use your folded elbow, rather than your hands. You will likely receive glares from the public, but at least you’re not passing on the virus. 

Do I need anything?

Maintaining personal supplies is important but stockpiling won’t stop the infection. Soap, disinfectant and hand sanitizer should be enough to combat the virus. Supply chains haven’t been affected by the pandemic, so items like this will be restocked quickly. 

You can use latex gloves as a means to stop catching the virus, especially if you handle money or have to physically touch another person. Be wary that the virus will still stick to the gloves and touching your face could move the virus to where it has access. Masks have been recommended for those caring for the infected, and should be left for those who need them. 

Staying at home wherever possible is the most important advice during this pandemic. Don’t risk the health of you or your coworkers by working if you are showing symptoms and seek professional medical help when necessary. Make sure to follow the advice of governing bodies and the World Health Organisation, and keep updated on the latest news surrounding the virus. Also, make sure to wash your hands. 

AllSeasonsUniforms wishes its customers safety during this difficult period. With co-operation and resilience we can all get through this together. 


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