Workplace safety and the Infection Protection Act: 6 tips for health prevention at work


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Health protection and job security are a great asset, but for many Company the implementation can be associated with considerable effort and costs. 6 tips how to get infection protection anyway.

Workplace safety and the Infection Protection Act: 6 tips for health prevention at work

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Fabian Linden is an online editor specializing in technology and education.

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Radical change in job security and health protection

Our working world is in a radical change. This is evident not least from the ongoing discussion about job security and health protection, which was significantly intensified by the corona pandemic.

Denn Job security is a much more complex topic than it appears at first glance. On the one hand, there is the trend towards home offices, which has been significantly strengthened by Corona. For example, the SARS-CoV-2 Occupational Safety and Health Ordinance of January 21, 2021 stipulated that employers offer employees to work from home if the professional activity allows this.

Ergonomics vs. Infection Protection Act?

On the other hand, the exact question of when home office is possible is very controversial - and that's also for reasons of Health protection. Because the idea of ​​simply relocating all office workplaces to the home office does not go far enough, because Company must also adhere to the Occupational Safety and Health Act. This is supposed to maintain and improve the health of the employees. An important aspect is the risk assessment, which also applies to the ergonomic design of office workplaces:

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The office chair and table must be designed so that frequent changes of seat position are possible, a certain room climate must apply in terms of lighting, noise or humidity, and work and break regulations must also be strictly adhered to. These precautionary measures are intended to largely avoid physical complaints and psychological stress at work as well as health consequences from work. However, when employees work in the home office that is often enough in a work corner or at the kitchen table, many of these regulations are often difficult to comply with.

6 tips for following infection control measures in the office

The beautiful and important idea of ​​preventive healthcare can quickly become a boomerang for many employers and home office is not always as easy as many imagine. But what alternatives are there to the home office in order to still meet the requirements of the Infection protection to meet. And what are the rules? 6 tips.

1. Keep your distance from colleagues

If presence at the workplace is required, employees should spend as little time as possible with others. If the simultaneous use of rooms cannot be avoided, a minimum area of ​​10 square meters per person must not be undercut. If the activity to be carried out does not permit this, protective measures such as partitions between workplaces and systematic ventilation should be used.

It is important to keep a distance of at least 1,5 meters to others - this applies outdoors, in vehicles and in buildings, at the workplace as well as in the hallway or in the tea kitchen. Companies should put appropriate partitions, markings or access regulations in place. Ventilate the work rooms that do not have automated ventilation regularly and for a sufficient period of time.

2. Wearing a mask is compulsory

There are many reasons to have one in the workplace mouthguard or mouth and nose protection. In some areas of work, such as painting, handicrafts or, in principle, working with toxic substances, this has been common practice for decades. However, as part of the protection against infection, it is recommended or mandatory to wear a mask in almost every area. This is particularly important in customer contact to prevent the spread of viruses or bacteria.

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In order for a mask to actually provide protection in the workplace, it must cover the chin, mouth and nose. It is important that the mask is adapted to the nasal bone as well as possible using a metal bracket. So it is important to avoid gaps. The looser the mask is, the weaker its protective function. It doesn't matter what it is supposed to protect against, whether from particles, droplets, viruses, aerosols, dust, bacteria, gases or toxins; the make can only get through correct application unfold their full effect. The FFP2 and FFP3 masks in particular are more comfortable to wear than the disposable masks because they do not exert too much pressure on the face. Safety and comfort can therefore also be combined with a face mask.

Sure, first and foremost the mask should protect against viruses. After all, you meet many colleagues and sometimes customers at work, all of whom could carry and spread the virus. However, you should also be able to breathe easily under the mask. Otherwise, carrying it quickly becomes a burden and annoying. After wearing a face mask, it should be disposed of in a small plastic bag. Then it can also be removed via the rubbish bin in the office. There is also a risk here that one of the many employees here could come into contact with viruses and thus become a potential risk factor.

3. Maintain hygiene

The employer must provide a hygiene concept in which the necessary measures to protect against infection are specified and implemented. This concept must be made accessible to all employees.

For most activities, hands should be thoroughly washed and disinfected beforehand. Viruses can also accumulate on the skin and are passed on to the mask when you touch them. It should also be taboo to touch the nose or face in general when wearing a mask. The viruses can also penetrate the organism via the mucous membranes in the eye and nose area and move further towards the respiratory tract.

4. Optimal cleaning

If possible, workplaces should not be used by several employees and organizational measures should be checked in order to implement this in day-to-day operations. Nevertheless, numerous workplaces must be used jointly, e.g. B. in shift work, rotation use, commercial vehicles, control stations.

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The surfaces of shared workplaces must be cleaned with standard household cleaners after personal use. This includes in particular surfaces that come into contact with employees and possible carriers, e.g. B. came into contact with droplets when speaking (e.g. table top, desk chair / armrests, cabinet and door handles, IT devices such as mouse and keyboard, telephone receivers, steering wheels, gear levers and frequently used tools and devices).

5. Work organization

If possible, you should work individually or in small, permanent teams. If possible, avoid business trips and appointments with personal presence. Instead, use the options for telephone and video conferences. If personal meetings are absolutely necessary, you should also keep a minimum distance of 1,5 meters. In order to reduce the number of passengers in local public transport during rush hour, companies should offer flexible working hours whenever possible.

Employees whose presence at the workplace is still required should be offered the opportunity to have at least one free rapid antigen test carried out per week and to receive a certificate of the test result.

6. Sometimes there is no need for action

Sole proprietorships and self-employed persons do not have to wear a face mask during work, for example, if they are alone in a room. The same applies when you are alone in the open-plan office. However, as soon as the room is left, be it to get a glass of water or to go to the toilet, the face mask has to be put back on. After all, you might meet another person on the way there.

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