What Rail Transit Operators Need to Know about COVID-19
Coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) is a respiratory illness (see list of symptoms). It is caused by a virus (SARS-COV-2).
COVID-19 can sometimes cause serious health problems. People at increased risk for severe illness include:
- Older adults
- People of any age who have certain underlying medical conditions
COVID-19 is a new disease and we are still learning about it. Here’s what we currently know:
- It mainly spreads from person-to-person
- Between people who are in close contact with one another (within about 6 feet)
- Through respiratory droplets produced when a person who has COVID-19 coughs, sneezes, or talks
- You can get the virus from people who don’t seem sick or have symptoms.
- You might be able to get COVID-19 by touching a surface or object that has the virus on it and then touching your face, mouth, nose, or your eyes.
As a rail transit operator, you might come into contact with the virus at your job when
- In close contact with passengers and coworkers
- Touching frequently touched surfaces or handling items and then touching your face, mouth, nose, or eyes
Stay home if you are having symptoms of COVID-19.
- Follow CDC recommended steps if you are sick.
- Do not return to work until you meet the criteria to discontinue home isolation.
- Talk with your healthcare provider about when it’s safe for you to return to work and coordinate with your employer.
- Follow CDC recommended precautions.
- Tell your supervisor if you are well but someone you live with or someone you have had recent close contact with has COVID-19.
Stay at least 6 feet away from customers and coworkers, when possible.
- Request that passengers avoid standing or sitting within 6 feet of each other and the driver’s seat.
Wear a cloth face covering or mask in public, and at work, when other social distancing measures are difficult to maintain. Face coverings or masks may prevent people who don’t know they have the virus from spreading it to others.
- Be careful when putting on and taking off cloth face covering or mask:
- Wash your hands before putting on and after taking off the cloth face covering or mask.
- Don’t touch your cloth face covering or mask while wearing it.
- Don’t touch your face, mouth, nose, or eyes while taking off the cloth face covering or mask.
- Wash the cloth face covering or mask after each use.
- Cloth face coverings or masks should not be worn if their use creates a new risk (for example, if they interfere with driving or vision, or contribute to heat-related illness) that exceeds their COVID-19 related benefits of slowing the spread of the virus. Cloth face coverings or masks should also not be worn by anyone who has trouble breathing or is unable to remove the covering or mask without assistance. CDC provides information on adaptations and alternatives that should be considered when cloth face coverings or masks may not be feasible.
- Consider carrying a spare cloth face covering or mask.
- If you are concerned about the use cloth face coverings or masks at your workplace, discuss them with your employer.
- Communicate with passengers about the importance of wearing cloth face coverings or masks.
Be aware of contact with frequently touched surfaces.
Wash your hands regularly with soap and water for at least 20 seconds. You don’t need to wear gloves if you wash your hands regularly (unless they are already required for your job).
- Use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer containing at least 60% alcohol if soap and water aren’t available.
- Wash your hands at these key times:
- Before, during, and after preparing food
- Before eating food
- After using the toilet
- After blowing your nose, coughing, or sneezing
- After putting on, touching, or removing cloth face coverings or masks
- Before and after work and work breaks
- After touching frequently touched surfaces, such as fareboxes and handrails
Do not touch your face, mouth, nose, or eyes.
- Use tissues to cover your mouth and nose when you cough or sneeze.
- Throw used tissues in the trash.
- Wash your hands with soap and water for at least 20 seconds.
Mental health is an important part of worker safety and health. The COVID-19 pandemic has created new challenges in the ways many people work and connect with others, which may raise feelings of stress, anxiety, and depression.
Information and resources about mental health, knowing signs of stress, taking steps to manage stress, and knowing where to go if you need help are available here.
Your employer should develop a COVID-19 response plan and share it with you. CDC has created a fact sheet to help your employer.
Talk to your employer or supervisor, or whoever is responsible for responding to COVID-19 concerns. Use these sources for more information on reducing the risk of worker exposures to COVID-19:
- CDC Interim Guidance for Businesses and Employers to Plan and Respond to Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19)
- CDC Cleaning and Disinfecting Your Facility
- CDC Reopening Guidance for Cleaning and Disinfecting Public Spaces, Workplaces, Businesses, Schools, and Homes
- NIOSH Workplace Safety and Health Topic: COVID-19
- CDC COVID-19
- OSHA COVID-19external icon
- OSHA Guidelines on Preparing Workplaces for COVIDpdf iconexternal icon
- General Business Frequently Asked Questions
- CDCINFO: 1-800-CDC-INFO (1-800-232-4636) | TTY: 1-888-232-6348 | website: cdc.gov/info
- For passenger-related questions, please refer to the Interim Guidance for Mass Transit Administrators.