Risk & Business Magazine JGS Insurance - Summer 2020 - Page 26

WORKPLACE SAFETY RESPONDING TO AN EMPLOYEE’S POSITIVE CORONAVIRUS TEST Employers are responsible for handling an employee’s positive coronavirus test swiftly to protect the health of other employees while preserving the affected employee’s confidentiality. In addition to notifying the company and its customers, employers must also disinfect the office and evaluate next steps. If you are in this situation, you may be wondering what you need to do. This article provides an overview of how you can respond to finding out an employee has COVID-19. RESPONDING TO THE EMPLOYEE When an employee notifies you that he or she is sick with COVID-19, you should respond calmly and empathetically. In these uncertain times, it can be easy to overreact, but you need to ensure that the infected employee is treated with compassion. Reassure the employee that their identity will remain confidential and be sure to help them coordinate taking leave or paid time off until they have recovered. You will also need to ask the employee some potentially difficult questions, including whom the employee has been in contact with in the last two weeks. Obtaining this information is essential so that you can directly notify customers and other employees that they may have been directly exposed to COVID-19. NOTIFYING EMPLOYEES AND CUSTOMERS Without disclosing the identity of the infected employee, you need to notify their coworkers, customers, and the rest of the company. 26