Not long after the start of 2020, the media and the public more generally became more sharply focused on the issue of infectious disease. This largely occurred as the result of the discussion about – and confusion over – the coronavirus.
Business owners and managers need to take heed to the potential dangers they face in regard to infectious diseases, including the coronavirus. Specifically, business owners need to understand their legal responsibility when it comes to protecting employees and customers or clients from infectious diseases on the premises of their enterprises. Business owners further need to understand what steps need to be taken to protect against and respond to an infectious disease situation.
Infectious Disease and the Legalities of Keeping Your Employees and Patrons Safe
As a Southern California business owner, you have a specific legal responsibility when it comes to keeping your employees and customers or clients safe. According to California law, which is the law across the country, as a business owner or manager, you have a legal duty to take all reasonable steps to protect employees and customers or clients from harm.
The classic example used to illustrate this legal responsibility involves a slip and fall situation. For example, if a container of milk spills on the floor, the merchant has a legal duty to clean up the spill in a reasonable period of time. In the case of a spill, that really translates to cleaning up the mess immediately to protect a worker or patron from slipping, falling, and injuring his or her self.
The legal responsibility extends beyond dealing with obvious hazards like milk on a floor. It includes protecting your employees and customers or clients from other dangerous situations. This includes protecting your workers and patrons from exposure to infectious diseases.
Historically, most business operations didn’t spend a good deal of time worrying about the potential risk of their employees or patrons being exposed to an infectious disease at their venues. There were obvious exceptions like hospitals.
All of that has fairly significantly changed in recent months, in part due to concern about the coronavirus. With the facts now known about the coronavirus, and despite the level of confusion associated with the dynamics of this infectious disease, businesses have a legal obligation to protect their workers and customers or clients from exposure to an infectious disease like the coronavirus.
Reasonable steps to protect a worker or patron from an infectious disease doesn’t mean that a place of business must be kept in a pristine condition. That simply is not possible, even in the hallways and most types of patient rooms at a hospital. What it does mean is that a business must be proactive in taking reasonable steps to protect against an infectious disease in the first instance and to appropriately respond to the possible presence to an infectious disease at a business site.
What a Business Owner Must Do to Protect Employees and Patrons
In this day and age, an essential step towards a reasonable plan of action to protect workers and patrons from infectious disease is to identify an infectious disease cleaning company that will be available promptly to address a potential contamination situation on the premises of a business enterprise. A business needs to identify an infectious disease cleaning company that has the experience and reputation for thoroughly remediating a biohazard situation.
If a business learns that an employee or patron has been on the premises and was carrying some sort of infectious disease, immediate action must be taken. COVID-19 and its spread is illustrative.
At this time, experts believe that the coronavirus can live on surfaces for up to 3 days. Because of this, an infected worker or patron can be at a business and potentially contaminate others directly but also by leaving the virus on surfaces that others end up touching.
Bear in mind that there is a myriad of other types of dangerous pathogens that can also end up at a business and risk the health and wellbeing of workers and patrons alike. For example, salmonella poisoning is something that the public does hear about with some frequency. There are also pathogens like hantavirus, found in rodent droppings. Hantavirus is a pathogen that can become airborne and infect unsuspecting business employees and customers or clients with potentially devastating results.
A business needs to seek the professional assistance of an infectious disease cleanup company to immediately address suspected contamination. An experienced infectious disease cleanup company has the experienced team, tools, and resources necessary to eradicate an infectious disease contamination at a business.