April 6, 2020
The COVID-19 pandemic has had a devastating impact on many Texas businesses as employers have joined the worldwide effort to slow its spread. Extraordinary measures including shutdowns and shelter-in-place orders have been required during the crisis, and the response of the business community has been admirable. Health organizations and government agencies are providing a great deal of information about how individuals can protect themselves and others. And while this situation will pass, everyday virus intervention through proper hygiene should be an ongoing workplace practice throughout the year.
As the state’s leading workers’ comp provider, Texas Mutual Insurance Company is deeply committed to protecting the health of Texas workers. For Texans still on the job, we advise following current Center for Disease Control (CDC) guidelines, along with safety measures designed to prevent workplace accidents. And as more businesses resume regular operations, we strongly suggest updating policies and procedures regarding hygiene, cleaning routines and virus transmission.
Viruses and germs are transmitted between individuals through person-to-person contact, airborne contact, or contact with a surface or object. Workplaces are particularly vulnerable because personnel are in close proximity and share materials. According to the CDC, seasonal flu costs U.S. businesses approximately $10.4 billion a year in hospitalization and outpatient care alone. Add to that diminished productivity due to employee absences, and the need for an effective, ongoing policy is clear.
The coronavirus pandemic is a critical situation that has required an unprecedented response. For much of the state, that means:
- Shutting down all but essential businesses
- Sheltering in place
- Prohibiting public gatherings
- Self-quarantining for those who are sick or have been exposed to an infected person
- Using proper hand-washing procedures, and washing hands frequently and thoroughly
- Maintaining six feet of space in locations where other people are present
Even in normal circumstances, businesses can help keep their people healthy by making sure they have access to flu shots, keep their work areas clean and disinfected, wash their hands, cover coughs and sneezes, and stay home when they’re sick.
Texas Mutual is a strong proponent of policies that promote wellness in the workplace, and we’re working hard to support you and your people during the current crisis. For resources and information related to the coronavirus, visit our page about the coronavirus. To learn more about keeping your employees healthy throughout the year, view our industrial hygiene webinar.