Measures employers should take if person contracts COVID-19 in the workplace

Coronavirus

UPSTATE, S.C. (WSPA) – As cases of COVID-19 continue climbing in the Upstate, some essential employees are concerned about having contact with sick coworkers.

There are some questions surrounding whether or not an employer needs to completely close down or bring in an extra cleaning crew after having an employee with a confirmed COVID-19 case.

According to the DHEC guidelines outlined in the Interim Guidance for Business and Employers, employers must consider the best actions to take that would ensure the safety of their employees and to decrease the spread of COVID-19 in the workplace.

If an employee begins to show symptoms under the guidelines outlined by DHEC, managers should immediately separate the sick employee then send the person home without requiring a doctor’s note to validate their illness.

In accordance to the Americans with Disabilities Act, employers should not reveal the person’s identity that contracted the virus but they are urged to let employees know that they have possibly been exposed so they can monitor their health.

Employers are urged to clean places with the cleaning products they usually use on areas that are frequently touched such as keyboards, door handles and countertops.

If you have been in contact with a coworker who has tested positive for COVID-19, inform your employer. According to the DHEC guidelines, they should perform a risk assessment to decide whether or not the employee can continue to work.

Some additional recommendations include:

  • Encouraging employees who show any sign of illness to stay at home
  • Try to limit the daily face-to-face operations to essential functions only
  • Ensure that sick leave policies are flexible
  • Do not require a doctor’s note from employees to validate their illness or to return to work
  • Separate sick employees and send them home immediately
  • Provide soap, water, hand sanitizer and encourage employees to wash hands frequently
  • Make sure employees are aware of flexible leave policies
  • Allow employees to stay home to care for sick family members during this time

Any questions or concerns about safety at your workplace should be directed to management or human resources.

If you have concerns about state and federal public health guidelines not being met in your workplace, contact the DHEC office at (864) 282-4100.

For more information on the guidelines outlined by DHEC please visit their website.

Copyright 2020 Nexstar Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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