By: Deb Weiner, ACCA Manager of Communications and Strategic Partnerships
The safety, security, and well-being of our members, and the entire heating, ventilation, air conditioning, and refrigeration community is our top priority. In response to ongoing developments, ACCA has gathered resources to help address Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19) concerns and provide safety precautions as it pertains to employee’s health and wellness.
The coronavirus that causes COVID-19 is thought to spread largely through respiratory droplets from coughing and sneezing, much like the cold and flu. It may also be possible to become infected by touching a contaminated surface or object, and then touching one’s nose or mouth.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention advises that employees should:
Additional helpful tips:
- Stay home if they have respiratory symptoms (coughing, sneezing, shortness of breath) and/or a temperature above 100.4 F.
- Leave work if they develop these symptoms while at the workplace.
- Shield coughs and sneezes with a tissue, elbow, or shoulder (not the bare hands).
- Wash hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds or use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer.
- Avoid shaking hands to reduce the risk of spreading infection.
- As hand washing is one of the most effective defenses, employers need to make sure that employees have ready access to washing facilities, and that those are kept well stocked with soap and paper towels; there is some evidence that paper towel drying is less likely to spread viruses than hand dryers.
- Alcohol-based hand sanitizers and sanitizing wipes should be distributed throughout the workplace, and all frequently touched surfaces such as workstations, countertops, and doorknobs should be routinely cleaned.
- Increased cleaning of common areas using standard cleaning agents can also reduce the risk of spreading respiratory disease.
(For more on employers’ role, see the CDC’s “Interim Guidance for Businesses and Employers” here.)
The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) released a list of EPA-registered disinfectant products that are approved for use against COVID-19. You can view the full list here.
“Using the correct disinfectant is an important part of preventing and reducing the spread of illnesses along with other critical aspects such as hand washing,” said EPA Administrator Andrew Wheeler. “There is no higher priority for the Trump Administration than protecting the health and safety of Americans. EPA is providing this important information in a public and transparent manner on disinfectant products to help reduce the spread of COVID-19.”
In response to recent events, U.S. Chamber of Commerce CEO Tom Donohue urged businesses and the public not to overreact to the spread of coronavirus but to take reasonable precautions while going about their lives.
“Now is not the time to panic. Fear and panic undermine our ability to contain the virus, minimize disruptions to daily life, and keep our economy humming along,” Donohue said. “Americans should continue to monitor the situation but feel confident as they go about their daily lives, head to work, conduct meetings, or drop their children off at school.”
Donohue said that U.S. Chamber staff are not traveling internationally to areas where travel bans are in effect, but are continuing to conduct businesses in countries that are not considered high risk. He added that domestic work is continuing as usual, but if the government’s medical advice changed, the Chamber would follow suit, as will ACCA.
The situation around the current spread of Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19) is changing rapidly, so make sure you stay informed by visiting the CDC’s information page frequently.
Here are additional resources from ACCA to HVACR professionals in regard to addressing Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19):
Interim Guidance (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention)
Interim Guidance for Businesses and Employers to Plan and Respond to Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19), February 2020
Frequently Asked Questions (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention)
Regarding Travel (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention)
Guidance from WHO (World Health Organization)
Coronavirus disease (COVID-19) outbreak