10 Tips to Reduce the Risk of Coronavirus in the Workplace
Since the majority of businesses moved away from in-person workspaces or paused operations entirely, one of the main questions on people’s minds is how do we bring everyone back to work safely? While it may be hard to completely eliminate risk, there are many steps you can take to protect your work environment. Here are some ways employers can ensure they are doing their very best to reduce the risk of coronavirus in the workplace:
1. Assess Your Workplace
It is important for all employers to take a thorough look at both the physical office space and their business operations to identify potential risk factors. When possible, allow employees to work from home and if that is not possible, create ways to keep employees separated and protected from potential risks.
2. Develop an Infection Response Plan
Develop and publish your organization’s Infection Response Plan. Make sure that employees know how to find this information and that every member of your staff knows what to do if they believe they may have been exposed to coronavirus in the workplace.
3. Provide All Necessary Health and Safety Equipment
All workers must wear all personal protective equipment (PPE) required by their employer, and employers must provide all necessary equipment so employees can stay safe. Employers must also train employees on how to use the PPE.
4. Understand Your Responsibilities as an Employer
Employers have a responsibility to take all reasonable precautions to protect the health and safety of their employees. Make sure to keep your processes and procedures updated to meet current safety guidelines and ensure employees have the proper training and protective equipment to do their job safely.
5. Use Outdoor Spaces Whenever Possible
This is a great time to be creative with meetings and social time during the workday. When possible, try to conduct meetings outside or in larger rooms in order to give all attendees space. Limiting the time workers are in close proximity will limit the risk of exposure.
6. Designate a Health and Safety Rep or Committee
Ask for volunteers to create a committee or task a representative at your organization as a health and safety rep. This point person or committee can be responsible for tracking employee health assessments, communicating new policy or regulation details, and field questions from other staff members.
7. Know Your Policy for a Potential Exposure or Positive Employee Test
In your Infection Response Plan, you should already have outlined the steps your organization will take if someone believes they have been exposed or if they test positive for COVID-19. Encourage your employees to stay home and contact their doctor or a public health unit and immediately begin a risk assessment to determine who else may have also been exposed.
8. Conduct Health Screening for All Employees
Manage your employees’ risk before they come to work by requiring everyone to perform employee health screenings. Simple employee screening applications can quickly inform employers that their staff is healthy and not at risk to return to work, keeping both workers and the public safe.
9. Be Empathetic and Communicate Often With All Staff
Understand that this is a difficult time for everyone and the constant change and uncertainty of our current global situation may cause heightened emotions. Communicate with staff often and be as transparent as possible with any health and safety updates or procedures changes.
10. Know Where to Find Updated Information
Federal and local regulations are constantly changing and it is crucial that everyone in your organization is aware of all updated policies. Here are some additional resources that are updated regularly to help stop the spread of coronavirus in the workplace: