The internet is awash with pieces of advice for workplaces looking to re-open. Amidst a thousand hygiene recommendations, it can be difficult to piece together a coherent anti-Coronavirus game plan for the long term. As workplace managers tackle the largest safety operation in recent memory, it pays to think closely about the different kinds of viral containment strategies in current practice.
The counter-infection measures currently in circulation can be roughly sorted into two camps: active prevention, and passive prevention.
Active Prevention involves making concerted efforts to identify and constrict the frontiers of pathogenic activity; passive prevention, conversely, consists of residual practices designed to reduce viral transmission. Examples of active prevention would include thermal fever detection, ventilating enclosed spaces, and sending home symptomatic employees. Passive prevention includes routine activities such as social distancing, compulsory mask wearing, and sanitizing surfaces after use.
Whilst both active and passive prevention are needed to thwart the virus for good, the former is needed to drive home the latter and come on top of harmful pathogens.
Official government instructions have mostly emphasized passive measures for businesses looking to re-open. OSHA guidance lists routine cleaning, social distancing, and stay-at-home orders, as preventive measures, all of which fall squarely in the passive category. In Canada, re-opening guidance has varied across federal provinces, but features such as mask mandates or employee distancing are common stipulations.
When faced with an invisible and deadly virus, measures such as the above have an obvious role to play. Combined with ongoing mass vaccine drives, there is reason to be optimistic about the coordinated recovery from COVID-19 that is currently underway.
It is the responsibility of businesses to actively thwart the virus in its tracks. There are a number of ways workplace managers can level up their counter-virus strategies beyond passive guideline adherence:
- Ensuring that rooms are well ventilated. Indoor ventilation, with carefully managed air flow, has been advocated by experts as a good way to prevent atmospheric viral build-up.
- Making strategic use of temperature monitoring technology at entranceways. With fever singled out as the foremost symptom of Coronavirus, the ability to detect and distance feverous employees is vital in resisting the spread of COVID-19.
- Ordering fatigued or symptomatic employees to stay at home. By keeping potentially infectious people away from workplaces, team morale stands to benefit from reduced psychological strain.
The above measures complement passive rituals, such as routine hand washing, by halting the scope COVID-19 on a facilities-wide level. Active measures ensure the virus is kept at a level that can be managed by passive routines.
By adopting a concerted dual strategy, safety managers can protect workplaces against fresh waves of COVID-19 and manage instances of the contagion. This approach goes beyond mere regulatory compliance, and makes clear moves against the presence of COVID-19. With an active counter-infection strategy, making best use of modern technologies, business leaders can truly safeguard their teams from a potential viral breakout.