In a follow-up to COVID-19: your top questions answered, we asked WSPS experts for their insights on four more questions. Here's what they told us.
Wearing a mask sometimes affects my field of view, causing me to look down and bend my neck more. The mask also makes my safety glasses fog up, so I end up twisting my neck to see better. What can be done about this?
The fit of your PPE is key. If your mask doesn't fit your face well, warm air is likely to escape and fog up your lenses. A mask that doesn’t fit well or juts out too far from your face may impact your vision while looking down. A few considerations:
- Use a mask that sits close to your face and provides a good seal around your nose, cheeks and chin. Masks with a wire insert at the bridge of the nose may help improve the seal. This should in turn improve your field of vision and reduce forward neck bending.
- Consider your work layout by moving frequently viewed or accessed items that are low or close to the body to within a comfortable field of view that allows for neutral neck postures.
- Consider placing your glasses on top of the mask nose bridge to prevent fogging up. Use dish soap to prevent water droplets from forming on the lenses: rub a drop of soap onto each side of the lens, and buff once the soap has dried.
— Nathan Birtch, Specialized Consultant (Ergonomics)
One of our employees had a severe case of COVID-19 and some symptoms are lingering. What can we do to help this person?
Studies show that up to 80% of patients continue having symptoms months after the onset of COVID-19,* so it’s important for you and the employee to have reasonable expectations of what the person is capable of. Start by understanding what COVID "long-haulers" may be experiencing. Symptoms include having no energy, experiencing achiness, headaches, difficulty concentrating, difficulty sleeping, and more. These symptoms could affect productivity and safety. Involve the person and their supervisor in how to best manage their work responsibilities while recovering. Suggest teleworking if that’s possible and the person is not already doing so. Encourage teleworking long-haulers to work at their own pace and take breaks and naps if helpful. Offer the possibility of working part-time, if that's doable. Avoid long meetings, and keep communications brief. Read up on how other workplaces are responding to their long-haulers. Above all, be patient.
— Stephen Shaw, Director of Integrated Operations
I'm concerned that the pandemic is taking a toll on the mental health of my workers. Would I be overstepping my boundaries as a manager if I took steps to address this?
You would not be overstepping if you keep it simple and it comes from a place of genuine concern from an employer-employee relationship perspective. When speaking with your employees, talk together about the pandemic's impact on work and home life, ask them genuinely how they are doing, listen actively without judgment, try to understand and seek clarification on areas of concern, and connect them to resources. Encourage them to maintain meaningful social connections with others. As a manager, recognize and celebrate individuality, employ multiple forms of communication (e.g. coffee chats, one-on-ones, group calls, virtual face-to-face, phone calls), look for ways to simplify rather than complicate work, accommodate individual needs when possible, be reliable, accountable and consistent, recognize signs of conflict, and quickly address them.
— Danielle Stewart, Mental Health Consultant
Will we still have to take precautions against COVID-19 after we've been vaccinated?
Yes, for several reasons. First, vaccinating everyone who's interested will take months. Second, vaccinations take time to build immunity. Third, no vaccine is 100% effective. Fourth, the vaccines may not be as effective against new variants of the virus. Fifth: some people may not wish to be vaccinated, and could help transfer the virus to others, or even catch it from someone who has been vaccinated. Bottom line: it's in everyone's best interest to continue observing precautions, such as wearing face coverings, maintaining physical distancing, and more. Vaccines are just one tool in our pandemic toolbox.
— Wagish Yajaman, Manager, Specialty Services
How WSPS can help
- Looking for critical information and resources to answer your own questions? Explore our COVID-19 Hub.
* Here are two of many articles on this topic: Angelo Carfì, Roberto Bernabei and Francesco Landi, "Persistent Symptoms in Patients After Acute COVID-19," Journal of the Americal Medical Association, August 11, 2020; https://jamanetwork.com/journals/jama/fullarticle/2768351 • Christine Yu, "Study Probes the 'Long-Haul' Effects of COVID-19," The HUB, Johns Hopkins University, March 22, 2021; https://hub.jhu.edu/2021/03/22/long-covid-long-haulers/
The information in this article is accurate as of its publication date.