PREVENTION IS KEY IN WORKPLACE SAFETY

More than ever, it is vitally important for companies to focus on their employees’ health at the workplace. ER24 provides answers to the following general COVID-19 related questions and concerns that will help companies to ensure that they operate within the South African government’s health regulations and protocols.

HAVE AN EMPLOYEE WHO HAS THE FOLLOWING SYMPTOMS OF COVID-19 SEEK MEDICAL ADVICE:

  • Coughing (or difficulty in breathing)
  • Sore throat
  • Fever
  • Loss of taste or smell
  • Body pains
  • Redness of eyes
  • Shortness of breath
  • Body aches
  • Nausea
  • Vomiting
  • Diarrhoea
  • Fatigue and weakness

Frequently Asked Questions

WHAT TEMPERATURE IS CONSIDERED A HIGH FEVER?

For screening purposes in certain industries, 37.5°C has been set as the level at which point entry to work is prohibited.

WHAT TO DO WHEN EMPLOYEES HAVE COVID-19 SYMPTOMS?

Employees with COVID-19 symptoms will have to self-isolate, and/or seek medical attention. In some instances, COVID-19 testing may be required.

SHOULD I CALL ER24 IF AN EMPLOYEE HAS COVID-19 SYMPTOMS?

Yes, you can call ER24 and we will screen and triage the employee telephonically and will advise on further necessary steps to take.

CAN I CALL ER24 FOR TRANSPORT OF AN EMPLOYEE WITH SYMPTOMS OF COVID-19 TO THE HOSPITAL, ISOLATION CENTRE OR HIS/HER HOME?

The ER24 Contact Centre is available for telephonic COVID-19 screening. They will advise according to the case definition as set out by the NICD. Due to the need for ER24 to attend to emergency cases, transport by ambulance to hospital will only be done for the purpose of further emergency care. A call-out fee may be rendered for non-emergency response.

WILL ER24 TAKE ME HOME AFTER THE TESTING HAS BEEN CONDUCTED?

No, all employees are responsible for their own transport.

WILL ER24 PAY FOR THE TESTING?

No, ER24 does not carry the cost for testing. A general practitioner will need to refer a patient for testing. ER24 provides no transport to testing facilities, unless specific arrangements were made for a client. We always prioritise life-threatening emergencies first.

IF AN EMPLOYEE TESTS NEGATIVE FOR COVID-19, BUT THEY HAVE SYMPTOMS, ARE THEY ALLOWED BACK AT WORK?

No, employees with symptoms should remain at home and need to self-isolate for at least 72 hours after the symptoms have dissipated.

CAN MY EMPLOYEE CALL ER24 FROM HOME IF THEY SUSPECT THEY HAVE COVID-19 SYMPTOMS?

Yes, the standard ER24 COVID-19 screening process will apply. In an emergency, an ambulance will be dispatched.

DOES OUR MEDICAL AID OR WORKERS COMPENSATION ADMINISTRATION (WCA) COVER THE COST FOR AMBULANCE TRANSPORTATION, TESTING AND ADMISSION TO A MEDICAL FACILITY?

Treatment of a person with symptoms of COVID-19 is considered a Prescribed Medical Benefit by the Council for Medical Schemes and should therefore be covered by an employee’s medical aid. ER24 recommends that this be clarified by the employer and the medical aid main member, as some medical schemes will only fund a positive test.

SHOULD MY HIGH-RISK EMPLOYEES GO FOR TESTING AS A PRECAUTIONARY MEASURE?

Due to limited testing kits worldwide, testing is only done if an employee has symptoms of COVID-19 as listed by the NICD. Provincial guidelines (example the Western Cape) may suggest patients with minor symptoms should stay at home and self-isolate. Testing is re- served for healthcare workers and sick patients admitted to hospital.

CAN I HAVE MORE THAN ONE PERSON IN MY HOUSE WHILE I AM SELF-ISOLATING AT HOME?

Yes; however, social distancing and Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) rules and regulations apply. Self-isolation (especially if your family tests negative) is usually in isolation. Check with your healthcare practitioner on the necessary self-isolation measurements to take at home for example separate bedroom and ablution facilities.

WHILE WAITING FOR AN AMBULANCE, WHAT STEPS SHOULD BE PRACTISED DURING THE MONITORING OF EMPLOYEES IN THE ISOLATION AREA?

Unless the employee requires first aid or medical treatment, a distance of 1.5 metres should be maintained and access to the area restricted.

WILL AN AMBULANCE TRANSPORT MORE THAN ONE PERSON AT A TIME TO HOSPITAL?

No, because the COVID-19 status of an employee is only revealed after testing, we cannot transport employees together. In order to protect the health of our ER24 staff members as well as the health of patients, we follow government restrictions and regulations on social distancing and only transport one patient per ambulance. An exception to this may be made for family members living together.

WHEN IS AN EMPLOYEE CLEARED TO RETURN TO WORK?

We suggest that you familiarise yourself with the guidelines and protocols from the Department of Labour. These guidelines may change throughout the pandemic. Employees who tested pos- itive for COVID-19 may only return to work after they have self-isolated for 14 days and been cleared by a medical practitioner.

ARE THERE ANY ADDITIONAL MEASURES AN EMPLOYER CAN TAKE WHEN EMPLOYEES RETURN TO WORK?

The employer needs to ensure that personal hygiene, wearing of masks, social distancing, and cough etiquette is strictly adhered to by each and every employee as well as visitors or clients. Hand-sanitation facilities should be readily available. Work space should be cleaned with deter- gent every three to four hours.

Note: Access to the ER24 consultancy services will be dependent on the company requirements, geographic location and availability of ER24 medical staff at the time of the request.

For more information on our COVID-19 services.

ER24 is considered an essential service under the South African Health Act. Our 24-hour Emergency Contact Centre and Road Ambulance Operations are available during the nationwide lockdown. As an ER24 client, you are able to access our services by calling 084 124.