Updated 7 October 2021. (published first time in January 2020).
This instruction is not being updated at the moment, workplaces should instead follow their own instructions. This instruction can provide guidance in a situation in which the epidemic grows worse again in Finland or the infection situation in the workplace becomes worse. The most important ways to prevent infections are getting the vaccine, washing hands, and ensuring good ventilation.
The employers can moderate their restrictions now. The Finnish Institute of Occupational Health advices the employees to follow the instructions of the employer in order to avoid infections at workplace. The best way to reduce the infections is to take a vaccination.
When is protection necessary?
Protection is important. The best way to protect yourself is to take a vaccination and to wash your hands often and properly. Try to keep a distance to clients and colleagues. When greeting other people do not shake hands.
Your employer can reduce restrictions according to the general guidelines in Finland. Read the possible new instructions and follow your employer’s guidelines regarding safety, hygiene, personal protective equipment (PPE), face masks and other orders and restrictions.
Download the App Koronavilkku to your phone.. Through the app, people exposed to the virus can be reached and infection chains can be stopped faster.
See also the regional situation. It can be checked out here (Finnish institute for health and welfare, THL).
How is coronavirus transmitted?
The novel coronavirus (SARS-CoV-2) primarily spreads by droplets when an infected person coughs, sneezes, sings or speaks loudly. When in close proximity to others, coronavirus can also be transmitted via contact if, for example, an infected person coughs in his hands and then touches another person.
Infection via aerosols in the air is possible inside a building but it is much less probable as the infection by droplets in close proximity to others.
Use the Koronavilkku and answer your phone if a covid-19 tracer calls you
- Download Koronavilkku app to your phone. The Koronavilkku will let you know if you have been exposed to COVID-19.
- If you have been infected you can inform about the infection anonymously via Koronavilkku. The use of Koronavilkku makes it faster to reach people who have been exposed to the virus. See the instructions: App Koronavilkku
- It is recommended that you also tell your employer if your have been infected. This helps the employer to take care of the safety at the workplace and also fulfill the statutory obligations the employers have.
- The primary precaution is remote work. If it is not possible to work remotely, other precautions need to be agreed at workplace. The surgical masks can be used especially at the health and social care.
- Two doses of vaccine will protect you very well from the serious form of covid-19. But even though you are vaccinated you might still get infected so you should follow the instructions for prevention carefully.
- The rate of vaccinated employees can influence the schedule on which the restrictions can be cancelled at your workplace.
- It is good to speak openly about vaccinations at your workplace, because that is the only away the employer will know if the employees have been vaccinated.
What do I do if I suspect I have contracted coronavirus?
- Make a symptom assessment in the Omaolo service or contact your health care provider. In the feedback from this assessment, you will receive instructions on how to request a test and how urgently you should seek treatment.
- You can also contact you occupational health care unit or a health centre in order to get information on tests.
- Symptoms among coronavirus patients include fever, cough, sore throat, shortness of breath, muscle pain, fatigue, runny nose, nausea, diarhoea. Loss of the sense of smell and/or taste have also been reported as symptoms of a COVID-19 infection.
- It is not obligatory for the employee to tell information of his/her health conditions for the employer. However it would be important for employer to get information on your covid-19 infection or a suspicion of covid-19 because otherwise it is difficult for the employer to protect other workers.
- See THL website What are the symptoms of a coronavirus infection?
Follow your employer’s instructions regarding sick leaves
- Contact your superior and tell them that you are sick. Tell also if you have COVID-19 infection or if you have been exposed to covid-19 n order to help you employer to protect other workers. If your employer wants a certificate from a physician, contact your occupational health services unit or health centre by phone or via the internet.
- Keep some distance from your family members if possible. If you need to be close to them use face mask if possible. Wash your hands frequently and use your own towel. Clean the door handles, taps and other surfaces often. Wash the cleaning cloths and bedclothes in 90 Celsius degrees programme.
- Use paper handkerchiefs and throw them away immediately after using them.
- Do not welcome visitors while you are sick.
- If you cough, cough into a handkerchief or your sleeve. Do not cough into your hands.
What can I do to avoid infection?
- Follow the regional and official instructions to keep yourself updated on the latest recommendations.
- Follow all the instructions given by your employer.
- When greeting do not shake hands.
- Work remote if possible.
- Keep a distance of 1–2 meters from those people who do not belong to your household or closest friends.
- If you work in a small team, keep working with the same team. and have also the coffee breaks with the same team.
- Keep away from people who cough or sneeze.
- Clean the commonly used equipment by wiping it with soapy water or a detergent containing a with disinfectant. If possible, use disposable gloves, when working with shared devices. You can protect the controls and keyboard of a shared device with disposable plastic which you should place in the waste bin after use.
- Try to keep at least a distance of at least one meter from people who cough or sneeze.
- Keep your hands clean. Always wash your hands when you arrive at work, before eating and smoking or using snuff, and when you leave work.
- The best way to wash your hands is to use soap and warm water. See Finnish Institute for Health and Welfare’s Hand Washing Video. (in Finnish).
- Only use hand sanitizer as an extra precaution or if you are unable to wash your hands with soap and water, unless you have been instructed otherwise at work.
- When using a sanitizer, use enough to be able to rub it all over your hands thoroughly.
- If using disposable gloves, remove them without touching their outer surface: Correct removal of disposable gloves. (in Finnish).
- Do not touch your mouth or nose area with protective gloves or dirty hands.
- Wash your hands after removing protective gloves.
- Instructions: Hand washing and coughing (THL)
- Washing hands frequently can cause problems with skin e.g. too dry skin. Take good care of your hands.
Personal protective equipment (PPE)
- If your employer tells you to wear face masks, visors, surgical masks or other personnel protective equipment (PPE), you need to use them according to the law. The employer will give you the PPEs free to you. Use them and take care of them according to the instructions.
- In other times follow the recommendation for face masks of THL. Do not forget the safe distances when using face masks.
- If you cannot use a face mask because of your health or job, use a visor.
- The mask can be polluted, if you use the mask without taking care of the hand hygiene or there has been an infected person close to you. That is why the face masks are disposable and are used during shopping or at work from break to break.
- The mask can be used several time only if they are washable. Wash a cloth mask in a hot cycle (60 °C in minimum, but preferably 90°C) or boil it for five minutes in water with a small amount of detergent. Rinse and dry the mask in a place with fresh air.
- Put on the face mask or PPE with clean hands. Do not touch the face mask while wearing it. When you take off the mask, do it with clean hands and do not touch the outer surface of the mask itself. Wash or disinfect your hands after taking off your mask. Put the used masks in mixed waste.
- The expenses caused by the masks used during the trips between home and work place can be deducted form the taxes.