Up-to-date information, guidance and tips on dealing with the Corona situation

Keeping safe distances at work!

Working in times of Corona – How can the employer protect his employees?
Doing without many of our social contacts and staying at home is currently the best protection against an infection with the Coronavirus. But how can we protect ourselves at work if „home office” is not an option?
Adhering to the generally recommended protective measures is a cornerstone of infection prevention:

Other measures

Safe distance:
Based on current medical knowledge, the safe distance between two employees / workers should be at least 2 m. Additionally, the workplace ordinance and the workplace regulation ASR A1.2 (room dimensions and movement areas) have to be complied with. The number of employees working at the same time has to be reduced if the minimum distance between the workstations cannot be observed. This is the best way to ensure that production can be maintained for as long as possible.

Hygiene rules:
Before starting their activities at the workplace, employees have to ensure proper hand hygiene such as washing and disinfecting the hands. Sufficient time for this has to be set aside during working hours as well. The employer has to provide the products required for this, such as water, soap, paper towels and closed bins. Furthermore, reminders to adhere to the hygiene measures regarding coughing and sneezing (into the elbow, paper tissue, hand washing) are also necessary.

Start and end of work:
Reasonable measures should be taken to reduce the number of employees meeting up at the start and end of work (clocking in/out, changing rooms etc.). Instructions by appointed persons or defining/separating standing and walking areas with adhesive tape can be helpful for this.
Staggered break times will help ensure that employees can maintain safe distances. This is also true for break rooms and smoking areas.

When food is served the number of employees present at the same place at the same time must be sufficiently small so that safe distances can be maintained. The number of chairs at the tables has to be reduced to ensure there is sufficient space to maintain safe distances. Staggered time slots or instructions by appointed persons are useful measures for this purpose.

Cleaning / cleaning schedule:
The employer has to ensure that all surfaces / objects that are touched at the workplace are cleaned or disinfected on a daily basis. In case of shift work such hygiene measures have to be taken at every shift change.

Protective equipment:
In addition to the measures described above, the employer has to check whether personal protective equipment such as face masks or protective clothing might be necessary and appropriate. As a potential additional measure, PPE should nevertheless be considered (also see: source DGB – German trade union federation).

Protective equipment – breathing protection is of central importance

Here, the main focus is on breathing protection – but why?

According to experts, the wearing of a face mask can be one important way of reducing the transmission of Covid-19. It is important to know that so-called ”community masks” or ”DIY masks” can, at most, reduce the respiratory flow and the exhalation of droplets, but they should not be confused or compared with respiratory masks and their special functions.

As there has been an increase in fraudulent transactions recently it makes sense for all users of masks to be aware of the differences between these masks (Robert Koch Intitute).

Note: Beware of non-certified respiratory masks

Special care should be taken when purchasing face masks on the internet: A lot of sites are offering respiratory masks that are advertised as filter class FFP. In reality, these do not conform to the current standards. Get more information before purchasing such a mask and err on the side of caution.

Availability of respiratory masks and SARS-CoV-2 relevant PPE products

The situation that arose in Europe as a result of the Coronavirus outbreak in China has made it impossible for us, until further notice, to meet the increase in demand for respiratory protection and other SARS-CoV-2 relevant PPE products in the usual manner.

Specifically, this applies to our complete range of FFP-2 and FFP-3 respiratory masks and medical face masks. We have to deal with an extreme bottleneck in the supply of these products. Furthermore, our suppliers of these products can currently not make a binding statement as to when the ordered quantities will be available.
Due to this dependency, the market participants cannot predict when the situation will ease or go back to normal. Currently it can rather be assumed that the worldwide delivery bottlenecks will get worse.

Putting face masks on and removing them correctly

The wearing of face masks only makes sense if they are handled correctly. This is how to put on a particle filter mask correctly:

  • Even when wearing a mask the minimum distance to other people of 1.5 metres should be maintained.
  • Before fitting the mask make sure you wash your hands and do not touch the inside of the mask.
  • There should be no gaps between the mask and your face, and it should cover both mouth and nose.
  • Avoid touching the mask while wearing it – and also do not wear it around the neck!
  • Replace the mask with a new one as soon as it is damp.
  • To remove the mask grasp the strings or straps at the side and do not touch the front of the mask. After removal thoroughly wash your hands.

On our pages about personal protective equipment you will find additional information on the subject of "safe working with the correct breathing protection".

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