Covid-19 Update - TIC Guidance for Reopening
As TIC prepares for reopening, it is important that we operate in a manner that mitigates risk for our team members, family members, clients and their families and the community at large. We need to keep in mind that there are vulnerable people in our sphere that may be more susceptible to serious outcomes. Vulnerability is known to increase for individuals over age 65 and those with underlying medical conditions. Such underlying conditions include, but are not limited to, chronic lung disease, moderate to severe asthma, hypertension, severe heart conditions, weakened immunity, severe obesity, diabetes, liver disease, and chronic kidney disease that requires dialysis. Vulnerable workers are encouraged to self-identify, so TIC can avoid making unnecessary medical inquiries. This information will allow TIC to take particular care to reduce vulnerable workers’ risk of exposure to COVID-19, while making sure we are compliant with relevant ADA and ADEA regulations. First and foremost, this means following CDC’s and the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) guidance for reducing workplace exposure for all employees.
All decisions about following these recommendations will be made in accordance with local health officials and other State and local authorities who can help assess the current level of mitigation needed based on levels of COVID-19 community transmission and the capacities of the local public health and healthcare systems.
The guidance offered below applies to workplaces generally; specific industries may require more stringent safety precautions. TIC will be posting these guidelines so that client companies know what we are doing to mitigate risk to our team members and theirs. We will ask clients to conform to (or exceed) these best practice standards to the extent possible. There may be workplaces in which the recommended mitigation strategies are not implemented or adhered to. In that case, please let us know immediately so we can discuss those issues with the client before you begin work in their environment.
In all Phases:
o We will monitor communication from Federal, State and local authorities to determine mitigation levels in
client communities. If you become aware of any regulations/guidelines that exceed those listed below, please notify us immediately so we can adapt our practices.
o Where possible, we will continue to work remotely.
o If you have a medical condition that makes you more vulnerable to having a serious outcome if infected with Covid-19, please self-disclose that information. Compliance with ADA and other government regulations prevent us from asking about health conditions. But employees are free to self-disclose pertinent information so that we can adapt work assignments to minimize risk.
o We will ask client companies to disclose their guidelines, but it is the responsibility of each engineer/employee entering a client company workspace to ensure they have guidelines and follow practices that meet or exceed recommended guidance. You should report any concerns you have regarding client company practices immediately.
o Phase 1 Requirements for TIC Employees:
- You should take your temperature twice a day. If you have a temperature of 100.4 degrees Fahrenheit or higher, you should not report to work. You should call your doctor or go a Covid-19 test site to be tested.
- If you have symptoms that align with the Covid-19 symptoms listed by the CDC or local health department, you should call your doctor or go to a Covid-19 test site.
- You should not report to work if you are sick with Covid-19 or have symptoms of other communicable diseases. If you have symptoms of Covid-19 or other communicable disease, you should notify the TIC help desk and leave the client site. You should contact your doctor. You should follow CDC guidelines and self-quarantine until you can be tested. If you test positive, you need to self-quarantine until your doctor releases you from quarantine or based on CDC guidelines.
- While working at client sites
- Maintain social distancing – a minimum of 6 feet from others.
o MA Guidance - All persons, including employees, customers, and vendors should remain at least 6 feet apart to the greatest extent possible, both inside and outside workplaces.
- Must wear a mask when you are at client sites and in any situation where you are unable to social distance.
o Keep a spare mask (or a few) with you so you can swap it out if the one you’re wearing becomes contaminated.
- Properly clean and disinfect your car and equipment (using disinfecting wipes or wipes that contain 60% or higher Isopropyl alcohol). Avoid using public transportation whenever possible.
- Wash your hands when you arrive at a client site and as needed throughout the day.
o Before and after eating
o After using the rest room
o Before leaving the building to return to your car. Take care when exiting the building not to contaminate your hands when opening doors, operating elevators, etc.
- Carry disinfecting wipes/hand sanitizer to use if hand washing is not an option.
- Use gloves when touching equipment that has been touched by others (keyboards, mice, monitors, power buttons, etc.).
- Use gloves when touching any workplace surfaces that might have been contaminated.
o NOTE – some places are asking people NOT to wear gloves because people do not know how to use them properly. You have to be careful not to contaminate gloves.
- Don’t shake hands and avoid elbow/fist bumps – you violate the 6’ distancing rule when you bump elbows, fists, etc.
- Avoid eating with others. Handle food, containers, utensils, etc. with caution.
- Avoid gathering in groups and if you must, maintain physical distance and wear a face mask.
- Carry your own Kleenex, hand soap, water, equipment, pens, paper and notebooks, tools, etc.
- Carry your own water, coffee, snacks, etc. and avoid using machines or dispensers shared by others.
- Sanitize your cell phone and avoid using telephones at client sites.
- Write down the names of people you work with and of any computers you touch. This info should be noted in your ticket. This will be the best way for us to assist with contact tracing efforts if you or someone you come into contact with is diagnosed with Covid-19.
Remember that many of these guidelines are intended to protect you AND they are also intended to protect others. Familiarize yourself with the client’s policies and be respectful of any additional guidelines they are imposing. For TIC Staff working at client companies, these TIC guidelines are not optional, you should be following them to the best of your ability.
Understand that you will be leaving your home office to travel to client sites and will be going back home. You want to be sure that you follow guidelines to avoid infecting anyone at home.
o Phase 2: Date and guidelines to be determined based on best practices at the time.
o Phase 3: Date and guidelines to be determined based on best practices at the time.
Safety Actions – CDC Recommendations for Office and Workplaces (there are additional guidelines for childcare facilities, schools and day camps, communities of faith, restaurants and bars, mass transit, etc. These guidelines are applicable to most general businesses and office environments. Additional information from the CDC is available if needed. In all cases, more stringent rules imposed by a State or Local Government agency should be followed.
Please review these guidelines and be alert to the practices employed by client companies. If you are concerned that the client is not following best practice standards, let us know. Also understand, that you have a HOME OFFICE and that you do not want to make anyone else in your home sick. So, think about the practices listed below as they relate to cleaning, sanitizing and good hygiene at home.
Promote healthy hygiene practices (Phases 1-3) – including handwashing, covering sneezes and coughs, wearing face masks, etc.
Cleaning, disinfecting and ventilation (Phases 1-3)
o Clean, sanitize, and disinfect frequently touched surfaces at least daily and shared objects between use.
MA Guidance - Provide regular sanitization of high touch areas, such as workstations, equipment, screens, doorknobs and restrooms throughout work site.
o Avoid use or sharing of items that are not easily cleaned, sanitized, or disinfected.
o Ensure safe and correct application of disinfectants.
o Ensure that ventilation systems operate properly and increase circulation of outdoor air as much as possible by opening windows and doors, using fans, or other methods. Do not open windows and doors if doing so poses a safety risk to individuals and employees using the workspace.
o Take steps to ensure that all water systems and features (for example, drinking fountains, decorative fountains) are safe to use after a prolonged facility shutdown to minimize the risk.
Ensure social distancing (Phases 1-3)
O Ensure all individuals remain at least six feet apart. Where possible, require the use of face masks in areas where there is more than one person present.
o Close communal spaces, such as break rooms, if possible (Phase 1) or stagger use and clean and disinfect in between uses (Phases 2 & 3).
o Encourage telework for as many employees as possible.
o Consider rotating or staggering shifts to limit the number of employees in the workplace at the same time
o Replace in-person meetings with video- or tele-conference calls whenever possible.
o Cancel all group events, gatherings, or meetings of more than 10 people (Phase 1), of more than 50 people (Phase 2), and any events where social distancing of at least 6 feet cannot be maintained between participants (all Phases).
o Restrict (Phase 1) or consider limiting (Phase 2) any nonessential visitors, volunteers, and activities involving external groups or organizations.
o Limit any sharing of foods, tools, equipment, or supplies.
Limit travel and modify commuting practices (Phases 1-3)
o Cancel all non-essential travel (Phase 1) and consider resuming non-essential travel in accordance with state and local regulations and guidance (Phases 2 & 3)
o Ask employees who use public transportation to consider using teleworking to promote social distancing.
o Train all managers and staff in the above safety actions. Consider conducting the training virtually, or if in-person,
Monitoring and Preparing
Checking for signs and symptoms (Phases 1-3)
o Consider conducting routine, daily health checks (e.g., temperature and symptom screening).
o If implementing health checks, conduct them safely and respectfully, and in accordance with any applicable privacy laws and regulations. Confidentiality should be respected. Employers may use examples of screening methods in CDC’s General Business FAQs as a guide and in accordance with any applicable privacy laws and regulations. Confidentiality should be respected.
o Require employees who are sick to stay at home.
Plan for when an employee becomes sick (Phases 1-3)
o Employees with symptoms (fever, cough, or shortness of breath) at work should immediately be separated and sent home.
o Establish procedures for safely transporting anyone sick to their home or to a healthcare facility.
o Notify local health officials, staff, and customers (if possible) immediately of a possible case while maintaining confidentiality as required by the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA); other information on civil rights protections for workers related to COVID-19 is available here.
o Close off areas used by the sick person until after cleaning and disinfection. Wait 24 hours to clean and disinfect. If it is not possible to wait 24 hours, wait as long as possible before cleaning and disinfecting. Ensure safe and correct application of disinfectants and keep disinfectant products away from children.
o Inform those who have had close contact with a person with COVID-19 to stay home and self-monitor for
symptoms, and follow CDC guidance if symptoms develop.
Maintain healthy operations (Phases 1-3)
o Implement flexible sick leave and other flexible policies and practices, such as telework, if feasible.
o Monitor absenteeism of employees and create a roster of trained back-up staff.
o Designate a staff person to be responsible for responding to COVID-19 concerns. Employees should know who this person is and how to contact them.
o Create and test communication systems for employees for self-reporting and notification of exposures and closures.
o Check State and local health department notices daily about transmission in the area and adjust operations accordingly.
o Be prepared to close for a few days if there is a case of COVID-19 in the workplace or for longer if cases increase in the local area.