Now that vaccines are starting to be rolled out and lockdowns are being lifted, many Americans find themselves going back to work. However, many worksites are going to look and operate differently than before the pandemic.
Because Covid-19 is still prevalent in society, it’s crucial that you keep your employees safe when they’re on the job. This might appear to be easier said than done.
Luckily for you, we’re here to help. So keep on reading and we’ll take you through everything that you’re going to want to know.
1. Provide Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) and Training
As an employer, it is your responsibility to provide your employees with a safe working environment. While there aren’t any OSHA safety standards specific to Covid-19, employers are strongly encouraged to provide extra personal protective equipment (PPE) resources to protect workers. This includes respiratory protection, face shields, masks, goggles, and gloves.
Although PPE shortages are an ongoing issue in the United States, availability is improving. Many manufacturers are converting their factories to produce more PPE. If you’re looking for a reputable source of high-quality PPE, you should visit this website.
After you’ve received PPE, you should assign these items to workers based on their positions and how likely they are to be exposed to the virus. Training should be provided to make sure that PPE articles are properly worn and fitted as required.
You should regularly clean and inspect reusable equipment and make sure that it is properly stored. Single-use items should be disposed of in ways so as not to spread the virus further.
PPE won’t replace other prevention techniques, including cleaning surfaces and washing hands.
2. Develop an Infectious Disease Preparedness and Response Plan
It’s important that you develop a plan that outlines your protective actions against the coronavirus for your employees. The plan should be informed by guidance and instructions from state and federal health agencies. The plan should analyze where and how workers are most likely to get exposed to the virus.
You want to layout the impact that viral exposure will have on the company. This can include interrupted supply chains, reduced operations, increased employee absence, and associated delays.
Mainly, the plan should contain comprehensive instructions for all of the employees regarding procedures and policies during the ongoing pandemic.
3. Assess Your Employees on a Case-by-Case Basis
The fewer people who come into the workspace each day, the less likely someone will get infected. Any person who can carry out their job successfully from home should do so.
People who need to be on-site should wear proper PPE and follow other cleaning and safety guidelines.
When you decide which of your workers are critical to have on-site, you also need to consider the health concerns of each individual. People who have underlying health conditions or are older are at a much higher risk of getting serious Covid symptoms and being hospitalized.
You should conduct an analysis of your workers. Try to establish who is the most vulnerable and think about how you can protect them even further. Ask yourself if those employees really need to be at the workplace.
4. Stagger the Employees
After you have figured out who your critical employees are, you need to figure out how frequently they will need to be in the workplace. In order to limit contact between employees, and to make sure that the entire workforce doesn’t get exposed at once to the virus, you need to consider implementing staggered working.
You could stagger shift times throughout the day. You can also have employees come in on alternate days or weeks. You want to allow for time between shifts so that you can sanitize and clean the space before the next team comes in.
After you have implemented an overall reduction in the number of workers who come to the worksite, you should have extra space available so that you can increase the distance between employees.
You want to do your best to reduce off-site visits. When it’s necessary to travel, you should monitor and follow all travel updates via the CDC website.
5. Improve Sanitation and Hygiene in the Workplace
There are a number of simple measures that you and your employees could follow to improve hygiene in the workplace and reduce the spread of the virus.
As an employer, you should:
- Regularly disinfect and clean the workplace, including all production machinery operating panels, handles, doors, and surfaces
- Provide plenty of equipment (tools, desks, phones, etc.) so employees do not need to share
- Provide tissues and trash cans throughout the workplace
- Provide soap and alcohol-based hand sanitizer throughout the workplace
- Encourage all workers to practice good hygiene and talk about the importance of frequent, thorough handwashing
- Observe the six-foot rule when interacting with colleagues
- Not share any equipment with colleagues
- Cover mouth when coughing and sneezing and use tissues provided
- Regularly use the alcohol-based hand sanitizer provided
- Wash hands thoroughly for at least 20 seconds
You might even want to assign someone to focus on sanitation and make sure that areas are being cleaned regularly.
Following This Guide to Keep Your Employees Safe
Hopefully, after reading the above article, you now have a better idea of how to keep your employees safe during Covid-19. Many of these steps may seem simple or obvious. However, it’s crucial that your workforce follows them in order to greatly reduce the chances of contracting and spreading the virus.
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