Written by Trisha Wagner
Farms have unique challenges with the rapidly spreading COVID-19. Make sure your employees understand that your primary concern is their health and the health of their families, and measures are in place to ensure long and productive careers at your farm.
Organize your communication to keep employees informed on local developments, staffing shortages, shipments and deliveries. Provide information at set times and (or) a central location to ease anxiety and ensure employee questions are answered. Keep your message simple and inform employees of what is happening, what the farm is doing and what employees need to do. Take these steps now to minimize the impact COVID-19 has on your farm and minimize risk to family and friends.
- Actively encourage sick employees
to stay home, emphasize respiratory etiquette, and hand hygiene by all
employees and provide special attention to workers at high risk (older
workers and underlying health conditions):
- Farm workers who arrive at work feeling ill or become sick while at work should be isolated from other employees and sent home immediately.
- Place posters that encourage staying home when sick, cough and sneeze etiquette, and hand hygiene at entrances and within your workplace where they are likely to be seen.
- Perform routine cleaning:
- Routinely clean all frequently touched surfaces in the workplace, and visit the detailed cleaning and sanitizing recommendations.
- Take extra sanitation precautions in employee breakrooms, rest rooms, and other areas where your team meets. Wipe down surfaces like countertops, light switches, food preparation areas, commonly used equipment, time clocks, tool handles, steering wheels, and doorknobs.
- Encourage employees to wash their hands with soap and warm water for at least 20 seconds and provide hand sanitizer that contains a minimum of 60% alcohol.
- Provide accurate information and instructions from trusted sources:
- Wisconsin-specific information about COVID-19 including fact sheets in English, Chinese, Spanish, Hmong (WI Department Heath Services)
- Employees who are well but who have a sick family member at home with COVID-19 should notify their supervisor and refer to CDC guidance for how to conduct a risk assessment of their health.
- If an employee is confirmed to have COVID-19, employers should inform fellow employees of their possible exposure to COVID-19 in the workplace but maintain health record confidentiality and refer to CDC guidance for how to conduct a risk assessment of their health.
- Information on medical attention and health insurance including telemedicine (a doctor’s visit on a computer, smart phone or tablet) fact sheets in English and Spanish (UW-Madison)
- COVID19 is caused by a novel coronavirus (unique to other coronavirus) and there is no approved vaccine for COVID-19. This pandemic disease has caused a global crisis. Discourage all travel at this time and encourage “social distancing” as the best way to show concern for family and friends here or in a different country.