The Environmental Health Department will be monitoring the practices of businesses operating within the domestic industry to ensure their safe management and operation during the COVID-19 crisis.
This is one of the measures outlined in Government’s COVID-19 Framework for the Recommencement of the Domestic Industry in Barbados.
The document states that the Environmental Health Department will “review, strengthen, and monitor the Health and safety policies and processes of the domestic industry”.
This includes surveillance of areas such as personal hygiene (hand washing, respiratory hygiene); the cleaning of contact surfaces; infection prevention and control (particularly the use of standard precautions such as personal protective equipment and social distancing); and monitoring of illness among employees.
However, employers are encouraged to conduct their own risk assessment to determine the risk of exposure and eliminate those risks where possible. And, where the risk cannot be eliminated, then administrative controls, such as social distancing, should be the next option.
The document outlines that where these are not possible, the requisite personal protective equipment (PPE) must be provided for employees. It also states the proper protocols for deliveries, facilities and general work practices.
Persons making deliveries are required to wash or sanitize their hands before and after every delivery, where practical.
Additionally, if possible, employers should ensure that lunchtimes are staggered to avoid crowding in lunch rooms. Persons at lunch or break must also observe social distancing guidelines.
As it relates to facilities, all surfaces must be cleaned and sanitized at the beginning and end of each work day, as practical. Surfaces, according to the framework, include high contact and food contact surfaces, door knobs, handrails, telephones, etc.
As a requirement, posters displaying handwashing guidelines should be placed in key areas, such as the lunch room and bathrooms. Employees should also consider taking bottled water to work as well.
In terms of general work practices, employers are urged to consider staggering work hours in an effort to prevent workers crowding on public transport.
Employees are also encouraged to go straight home at the end of the work day. And, they are reminded that they are not allowed to take any intoxicating substances while on the job.