A safer reopening: 10 actions to take

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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:
  1. Phasing. Create a phased transition to return to work aligned with risk and exposure levels.
  2. Sanitize. Disinfect the workplace and make any alterations needed so employees can easily practice physical distancing.
  3. Screenings. Develop a health status screening process for all employees.
  4. Hygiene. Create a plan for handling employees who get sick, and encourage good hygiene.
  5. Tracing. If workers get sick, follow proper contact tracing steps to curb the spread of COVID-19.
  6. Mental health. Commit to supporting the mental and emotional health of your workers by sharing support resources and policies.
  7. 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.
  8. 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.
  9. Communication. Create a communication plan that involves being open and transparent with workers about returning to work.
  10. 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.

Mental health and your employees

Employees returning to the workplace amid the COVID-19 pandemic may be experiencing mental health distress in several ways. Let the National Safety Council help you provide support. Use the Stress, Emotional and Mental Health Considerations for Return-to-Work Guidance playbook, developed as part of the SAFER initiative.

NSC announces task force on safely bringing employees back to work

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Itasca, IL — The National Safety Council has launched SAFER: Safe Actions for Employee Returns, a comprehensive, multifaceted effort to help guide employers through the process of safely resuming traditional work and operations now and in a post-COVID-19 pandemic environment.

The task force comprises nonprofit organizations, businesses, medical professionals, government agencies and trade associations – all with the intention of sharing their expertise to develop industry- and risk-specific resources and recommendations for U.S. employers of all sizes.

The task force will issue recommendations and develop guidance for employers as they navigate the changed work environment and determine the most critical needs to ensure the safety of their workers.

SAFER also will:

  • Identify complexities with reengaging the workforce by partnering with human resources, legal, labor, health care and workers’ compensation providers
  • Develop general and sector-specific playbooks for America’s businesses to help them align worker safety with business objectives

“The manner in which employers bring people back to work will define our national response to the pandemic,” Lorraine M. Martin, president and CEO of NSC, said in an April 23 press release. “For more than a century, NSC has been helping employers put safety at the forefront of all their decisions, and we are once again taking action to continue serving this important role. With SAFER, we are confident we’re bringing the best minds together to ensure Americans have the safest transition back to work so we can truly flatten the curve and enable people to live their fullest lives.”