QHSE COVID-19 FACE MASK PROTOCOL
The COVID-19 Virus is spread via respiratory droplets when an infected person coughs, sneezes, or speaks. Hence, in accordance with the guidelines of the World Health Organization (‚ÄúWHO‚ÄĚ) and the Nigeria Centre for Disease Control (‚ÄúNCDC‚ÄĚ), it is advisable to adopt the following proactive measures:
- ¬†Practice social distancing ‚Äďphysical distancing is encouraged as an inhibitor to the spread of the COVID-19 Virus. At Notore, this is currently in practice by the avoidance of large gatherings and close body contact and at all times, maintaining a distance of two metres.
- Frequent washing of hands with soap under running water and the use of an alcohol-based hand sanitizer which have been provided at all entrances to our offices and facilities.
- As a precautionary measure, prior to the entry into any of Notore‚Äôs premises, temperature will be checked before admittance to ensure that anyone with temperature of 38¬įC or above is not permitted entry into our offices and or facilities.
- Frequent cleaning of surfaces with soap and water or disinfectants in accordance with our protocols on cleaning.
Further to the gradual easing of the lockdown in line with the Federal Government directives, Notore is conscious of the need to maintain strict precautionary measures to prevent or curtail the spread of the COVID-19 Virus. Consequently, as we transition from the full lock-down, in addition to the existing protocols established before the lock-down as enumerated above, additional protocols are being put in place to safeguard the health and wellbeing of staff in the work place as we work towards a phased resumption in the office. One of the additional measures is the compulsory use of protective Face Masks for all staff, 3rd Party Contractors, Service Providers and Visitors to all our offices and facilities. The Face Masks to be used by Notore staff will be provided by Notore. In the event that Visitors at any of our offices and facilities do not have a Face Mask, if Disposable Masks are available, same will be provided for their use. Where same is unavailable, the Visitor will be denied entry into the premises.
Face Masks are personal protective equipment used to prevent the spread of respiratory infections. Face Masks provide a physical barrier to fluids and large particle droplets. These masks are designed to cover the mouth and nose of the wearer and, if worn properly, may be effective at preventing transmission of respiratory viruses and bacteria. Masks must adopt the standard three-layer protection design which includes an outer fluid-repelling layer, a middle layer which serves as a barrier to germs, and an inner moisture-absorbing layer.
To ensure the use of Face Masks are deployed at all Notore offices and facilities, to prevent/curtail the spread of the COVID-19 Virus.
2.0 Deployment of Face Masks.
2.1 Deployment of N95/N99 Respirator Face Masks and Disposable Face Masks.
Notore is providing all its permanent employees with N95/N99 Respirator Face Masks (‚ÄúRespirator Face Masks‚ÄĚ) with accompanying additional filters and will also provide Disposable Surgical Masks for interfacing stakeholders. The Respirator Face Masks are effective for the filtering of dust, pollution, germs and viruses in the air and both masks conform to the standard three-layer protection design and will be mandatory at all work stations, in all the Company‚Äôs offices and facilities.
All permanent employees will be issued with a Respirator Face Mask by QHSE/HSE Focal Point, prior to resumption at Notore‚Äôs offices and facilities. Each employee will be responsible for his/her assigned Respirator Face Mask. Any loss will be replaced (depending on available stock) at a cost to the employee.
Contractors/Service Providers/Customers and interfacing Stakeholders are required to have their own Face Masks upon arrival at any of Notore‚Äôs offices or facilities. In the event that such Contractors/Service Providers/Customers and interfacing Stakeholders do not have a Face Mask that complies with the standard three-layer design, entry will be denied.
However, first time Visitors to Notore‚Äôs facilities who do not have a Face Mask will be issued a Disposable Face Mask by QHSE/HSE Focal Point/Security Personnel, where same is available and same will be duly acknowledged as received. Where same is not available, the Visitor will be denied entry into our offices or facilities.
With regard to 3rd Party Contractors not directly engaged by Notore, it is expected that their companies will in compliance with Notore‚Äôs protocols issue Face Masks to all their employees working at Notore‚Äôs offices, sites and facilities. The Face Masks should conform to the three-layer design as defined herein and if disposable, should be issued on a daily basis.
Failure to use a Face Mask will result in the employee of the 3rd Party Contractor being denied entry into Notore‚Äôs facilities.
Visitors/Contractors/Service Providers/Customers/interfacing Stakeholders and 3rd Party Contractors will be responsible for their Face Masks in compliance with the QHSE Protocol.
A NO MASK, NO ENTRY INTO ANY FACILITY POLICY WILL BE ADOPTED.
2.2 When Should a Face Mask Be Used?
- When interfacing with other staff, vendors and other intra and inter stakeholders to prevent possible exposure. However, where the employee is in his/her individual office or at home, he/she is not expected to wear a Face Mask.
- During Departmental/Unit meetings or other scheduled meetings where there is more than one employee in the meeting room.
- When taking care of or in close contact with people who have respiratory infections, or otherwise as directed by a Doctor.
- Face Masks should be used in crowded places or where the staff is in close contact with other persons (e.g. offices and public transport).
- When visiting the canteen, canteen/kitchenette seating arrangements and the food service points where employees queue should strictly comply with the 2-meter social distancing rule.
- In order to reduce the spread of infection, when staff are visiting clinics or hospitals during the pandemic or during the influenza peak season in order to reduce the spread of infection
2.3 When Should a Face Mask not be in-use?
- When staff are in their individual offices or when they are at home.
- Alone in the car.
- While eating in the canteen/kitchenette, whilst ensuring the 2-meter social distancing rule is maintained
- As advised by a Medical Practitioner
2.4 How to wear a Face Mask
When using a surgical Face Mask or the Respirator Face Mask, the wearer should follow the manufacturers‚Äô instructions on the package for putting on the respirator and ensuring a tight seal. The Face Mask must be worn correctly to provide protection. Avoid resting/wearing the Face Mask on the chin and do not allow the Face Mask to dangle from your face.
2.4.1 Wearing the Face Mask
Respirator Face Masks. The wearer should ensure that he/she performs hand hygiene before wearing the Respirator Face Mask:
- It is important to wash your hands with soap and water for at least 20 seconds prior to wearing the Face Mask. An alcohol-based sanitizer that contains at least 60% alcohol can also be used where soap and water are unavailable. Ensure your hands are properly dried so that the Mask does not get wet and you do not contaminate the Mask before it is worn.
- Fitting Your Mask Properly: The wearer should follow the manufacturers‚Äô instructions on the packaging.
- To ensure the Respirator Face Mask fits properly, shave off all facial hair, as this may cause an obstruction and prevent a tight, sealed fit, which will compromise the effectiveness of the Face Mask.
- The Respirator Face Mask will not work if air leaks around the sides.
- When handling the Respirator Face Mask, avoid resting/wearing the Face Mask on the chin. Do not allow the Face Mask to dangle from the face.
The Disposable or Surgical Face Mask should fit snugly over the face:
- After observing hand hygiene protocols, the wearer should place the Face Mask over the nose and mouth, ensuring that there are no gaps between the Face Mask and the face.
- Avoid touching the Face Mask when wearing it. In the event that the wearer touches the Face Mask whilst wearing it, it is necessary to repeat the hand hygiene protocols i.e. washing of hands for at least 20 seconds or the use of an alcohol-based hand sanitizer where soap and water are unavailable.
2.4.2 Removal of the Face Mask
During the process of removing the Respirator Face Mask or the Disposable Face Mask, avoid touching the exterior of the Face Mask as it may be covered with germs/virus. Removal of the Respirator Face Mask:
- The wearer should take the respirator off at close of work.
- Clean your hands after removing the respirator.
- Hang it to dry in a clean area, so that it will not be crushed.
- Saturated filters should be disposed of in a designated trash bin.
Removal of Disposable/Surgical Face Masks: For disposable Face Masks with the ear loop designs used within the offices and facilities, the wearer should hold both ear loops and gently remove the Face Mask from the face, without touching the front of the Face Mask, and safely discard it upon returning to his/her residence. The wearer should ensure that they wash their hands again after discarding the Face Mask.
For the strap design disposable Face Mask, the wearer should lift the head band and gently remove the Face Mask from the face without touching the front of the Face Mask, and safely discard it upon returning to his/her residence. The wearer should ensure that they wash their hands again after discarding the Face Mask.
3.0 Spread Prevention
- Hand hygiene is one of the most important ways to prevent acquiring and spreading respiratory infections. It is important to wash your hands often.
- Avoid touching your nose, eyes, or mouth after washing your hands.
- Avoid close contact with others who are sick.
- Clean household surfaces and objects with wipes or cleaning spray when available.
- If you become ill, stay at home to avoid making other people sick.
- After taking off the used Face Mask (Respirator Face Mask or Disposable Face Mask), safely discard same and perform hand hygiene immediately.
- Compliance with the mandatory use of issued Respirator Face Masks and Disposable Face Masks at all work locations in Notore‚Äôs offices and facilities shall be closely monitored by QHSE, HSE Focal point and line Managers and the non-application, wrong use or disposal of the Face Masks as laid down in this Protocol shall result in a contravention. Defaulters shall be issued a Face Mask Deviation Notice followed by consequence management as provided by Human Resources.
Visitors/Contractors/Service Providers/Customers and interfacing Stakeholders
- Compliance with the mandatory use of Face Masks at all Notore‚Äôs offices, sites and facilities shall be closely monitored by QHSE, HSE Focal point. Failure to wear a Face Mask in line with the provisions of this Protocol, or the wrong use of the Face Mask will result in a contravention.
FAILURE TO ADHERE STRICTLY TO THE PROTOCOL AND INSTRUCTIONS GIVEN ON THE USE OF FACE MASKS WILL RESULT IN THE VISITOR/CONTRACTOR/SERVICE PROVIDER AND INTERFACING STAKEHOLDERS BEING ISSUED A WARNING. THEREAFTER, THE OFFENDER WILL BE ASKED TO LEAVE THE PREMISES IN THE EVENT OF A SECOND CONTRAVENTION. APPROPRIATE SANCTIONS WILL BE PLACED ON CONTRACTORS AND SERVICE PROVIDERS WHO FAIL TO COMPLY, INCLUDING THE TERMINATION OF CONTRACTS.
3rd Party Contractors
- 3rd Party Contractors and their staff who are visiting Notore‚Äôs premises and facilities on a one-time basis or with infrequent presence on site and operators who have not been issued Face Masks by their principals, will be issued with a Disposable Face Mask by Notore. Contract operators also fall into this category.
- 3rd Party Contractors with daily presence at Notore‚Äôs offices and facilities with operational contracts are expected to be provided with the necessary Face Masks by their companies, on a daily basis. Failure to comply with this will result in non-admittance to Notore‚Äôs premises, sites and facilities.
FIRST DEFAULT WITH NON-APPLICATION, WRONG USE OR DISPOSAL AS LAID DOWN IN THIS PROTOCOL SHALL QUALIFY THE OFFENDER WITH A REMOVAL FROM SITE. THE NAME OF THE OFFENDER WILL BE REGISTERED AND THE EMPLOYER OR SUPERIOR AGENT (E.G. CONTRACTOR, COMPANY) SHALL BE NOTIFIED IN WRITING.
SECOND DEFAULT WILL RESULT IN AN AUTOMATIC BLACKLIST FOR A PERIOD OF AT LEAST 6-MONTHS. DURING THIS PERIOD, THE OFFENDER WILL NOT BE PERMITTED TO ENTER NOTORE‚ÄôS OFFICES, SITES OR FACILITIES. A LIST OF NAMES OF THE BLACKLISTED PERSONNEL SHALL BE WITH ALL SECURITY UNITS AT THE POINT OF ENTRY INTO NOTORE‚ÄôS OFFICES, SITES AND FACILITIES.
APPROPRIATE SANCTIONS MAY BE PLACED ON CONTRACTORS WITH 2 OR MORE 2ND DEFAULTERS.
5.0 Disposal of used Face Masks
- All Disposable Face Masks should be self-disposed safely, after the close of work when the wearer has arrived at his/her residence.
- Spent filters of Respirator Face Masks, that are damaged or cannot retain a tight seal should be self-disposed at the designated areas.
- The final disposal of all trashed Face Masks will be monitored by QHSE/HSE Focal Point.
- The Face Mask should be removed when the wearer is alone in his/her individual office, car or at home.
- Proper care of beards or other facial hair is very important, since this could prevent the respirator from fitting correctly.
- Respirator Face Masks should not be used if oil aerosols are present, as oil damages the filter.
- Immediately dispose of Respirator Face Masks if same has been used in a medical setting.
- Employees with chronic heart or lung conditions (e.g. congestive heart disease, asthma) should inform Human Resources/QHSE, then consult their health care provider before using a Respirator Face Mask.
- All employees should be observant, promptly correcting any team member who is inadvertently in default of this Protocol.