As many employees begin returning to a more typical work environment, employers must remember to prioritize safety. Here are 10 steps the National Safety Council – based on recommendations from its SAFER task force – says employers should take before reopening:
- Phasing. Create a phased transition to return to work aligned with risk and exposure levels.
- Sanitize. Disinfect the workplace and make any alterations needed so employees can easily practice physical distancing.
- Screenings. Develop a health status screening process for all employees.
- Hygiene. Create a plan for handling employees who get sick, and encourage good hygiene.
- Tracing. If workers get sick, follow proper contact tracing steps to curb the spread of COVID-19.
- Mental health. Commit to supporting the mental and emotional health of your workers by sharing support resources and policies.
- Training. Train leaders and supervisors at your organization on the fundamentals of safety. These fundamentals include risk assessment and hazard recognition, as well as the mental and wellness-related impacts of COVID-19. Your employees will feel the effects of the pandemic long after it’s over.
- Engagement plan. Notify employees in advance of the return to their pre-coronavirus workplace. Consider categorizing workers into different groups based on job roles and bringing back groups or departments one at a time.
- Communication. Create a communication plan that involves being open and transparent with workers about returning to work.
- Assessment. Outline the main factors you’re using as guidance to provide a simple structure for the extremely complex return-to-work decision.
SAFER: Safe Actions for Employee Returns – a group of experts from companies of all sizes, leading safety organizations, nonprofits, government agencies and public health organizations – is the first national task force focused on worker safety.
For more information, go to nsc.org/safer.