Page 2 of 2

The CDC Announced Recommendations for Office Buildings and COVID-19

Office building employers, building owners and managers, and building operations specialists can take steps to create a safe and healthy workplace and protect workers and clients. First, the CDC’s office buildings recommendations page suggests by starting with the CDC Interim Guidance for Businesses and Employers.

Before Resuming Business Operations

There are many controls you need to ensure before you can invite your employees back to the office space. You should:

  • Ensure that ventilation systems in your facility operate properly. For building heating, ventilation, and air conditioning (HVAC systems) that have been shut down or on setback, review new construction start-up guidance provided in ASHRAE Standard 180-2018, Standard Practice for the Inspection and Maintenance of Commercial Building HVAC Systems.
  • Increase circulation of outdoor air as much as possible by opening windows and doors, using fans, and other methods. Do not open windows and doors if doing so poses a safety or health risk for current or subsequent occupants, including children (e.g., allowing outdoor environmental contaminants including carbon monoxide, molds, or pollens into the building).
  • Evaluate the building and its mechanical and life safety systems to determine if the building is ready for occupancy. Check for hazards associated with prolonged facility shutdown such as mold growth, rodents or pests, or issues with stagnant water systems, and take appropriate remedial actions.
  • Conduct a thorough hazard assessment of the workplace to identify potential workplace hazards that could increase risks for COVID-19 transmission
  • Identify work and common areas where employees could have close contact (within 6 feet) with others—for example meeting rooms, break rooms, the cafeteria, locker rooms, check-in areas, waiting areas, and routes of entry and exit.
  • Include all employees in the workplace in communication plans—for example management, staff, utility employees, relief employees, janitorial staff, maintenance staff, and supervisory staff.
  • If contractors are employed in the workplace, develop plans to communicate with the contracting company regarding modifications to work processes and requirements for the contractors to prevent transmission of COVID-19.

When Employees Do Come to Work

  • Social distancing will still be important even after employees start returning to work. Modify or adjust seats, furniture, and workstations to maintain social distancing of 6 feet between employees.
  • Install transparent shields or other physical barriers where possible to separate employees and visitors where social distancing is not an option.
  • Arrange reception or other communal seating area chairs by turning, draping (covering chair with tape or fabric so seats cannot be used), spacing, or removing chairs to maintain social distancing.
  • Use methods to physically separate employees in all areas of the facilities including work areas and other areas such as meeting rooms, break rooms, parking lots, entrance and exit areas, and locker rooms.
  • Use signs, tape marks, or other visual cues such as decals or colored tape on the floor, placed 6 feet apart, to indicate where to stand when physical barriers are not possible.
  • Replace high-touch communal items, such as coffee pots, water coolers, and bulk snacks, with alternatives such as pre-packaged, single-serving items.

The CDC page offers much more information on how to mitigate other risks and situations such as: monitoring employee symptoms and sickness, addressing employees who ride on public transportation, staggering shift and break times, cleaning and disinfecting high-touch surfaces frequently.

There are many other places to get credible and helpful information for your workplaces. These include resources from the CDC, NIOSH, OSHA and the AIHA.

Download Center

  • The Ultimate Guide to OSHA Recordkeeping

    When it comes to OSHA recordkeeping, there are always questions regarding the requirements and in and outs. This guide is here to help!

  • Lone Worker Safety Guide

    As organizations digitalize and remote operations become more commonplace, the number of lone workers is on the rise. These employees are at increased risk for unaddressed workplace accidents or emergencies. This guide was created to help employers better understand common lone worker risks and solutions for lone worker risk mitigation and incident prevention.

  • Online Safety Training Buyer's Guide

    Thinking of getting an online safety training solution at work but not sure how to evaluate different solutions and find the one that's best for your company? Use this handy buyer's guide to learn the basics of selecting online safety training and how to use it at your workplace.

  • SDS Software Buyer's Guide

    Whether this is your first time shopping for online SDS software or you’re upgrading from a legacy solution, this guide is designed for you to use in your search for the safety management solution that works best for you and your company.

  • Risk Matrix Guide

    Risk matrices come in many different shapes and sizes. Understanding the components of a risk matrix will allow you and your organization to manage risk effectively.

  • Vector Solutions

OH&S Digital Edition

  • OHS Magazine Digital Edition - November December 2021

    November December 2021

    Featuring:

    • GAS DETECTION
      How to Streamline Gas Detector Maintenance
    • OSHA TOP 10
      OSHA's Top 10 Most Frequently Cited Standards for FY 2021
    • PROTECTIVE APPAREL
      How PPE Can Help You Deal with the Harsh Condition of Winter
    • HEARING PROTECTION
      Tackling Hearing Protection in the Workplace
    View This Issue