Business as Usual? COVID-19 and Getting Employees Safely Back to Work

COVID-19 and Getting Employees Safely Back to Work
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BY:
Todd Pollock

Senior Vice President

June 29, 2020

As government authorities implement company reopening measures, employers are busy leveraging changes to ensure that employees can return to a safe work environment as COVID-19 business restrictions expire or are modified.

While not an all-inclusive list, the following are key considerations for employers that are reopening physical work locations while trying to keep employees safe, stay in compliance with recommended guidelines and mitigate risks:

  • Develop and communicate standard safety policies aimed at keeping the workplace clean and reducing the spread of the virus. All policies should be consistent with public health recommendations, existing laws and safe operating guidelines established by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the U.S. Occupational Safety and Health Administration, and state-specific departments of labor or local authorities.
  • Initiate symptom-screening standards for employees reporting for work. This can include taking temperatures and assessing symptoms.
  • Maintain a written record with details regarding employees who experience health incidents while on the job.
  • Report any suspected COVID-19 cases to the local health department. Confirm the communication in writing and log any guidance received.
  • Ensure that public safety notices for customers and vendors are posted, communicated and enforced. Record information on those who may not be in compliance.
  • Keep communications open and ask employees whether they feel safe at work. Be flexible and, when possible, consider alternative work arrangements such as telecommuting and modified/staggered work schedules that will allow employees to work without exposing themselves or others to the virus.
  • Request that employees notify their employer if they have a family member who has tested positive for COVID-19 or if they have been in direct contact with someone who has been exposed to the virus. If appropriate, direct them to the CDC website for guidance on how to conduct a risk assessment regarding their potential exposure.
  • Encourage employees to stay home if they feel ill. The CDC recommends that employees wait at least 24 hours after they are free from or have shown signs of a fever or other symptoms. Never pressure workers who feel ill to return to work before they feel ready, and inform them of the company’s paid time off or sick leave policies.

After weeks of closing the doors, your business clients are understandably eager to reopen. And while they begin to make the transition, they’ll be relying on and enforcing health and safety protocols to keep their employees and customers as safe as possible. This includes monitoring guidance from health officials and developing/updating policies and practices that will help prevent the spread of COVID-19.

Resources for Employers
The CDC, OSHA and the World Health Organization have each created dedicated webpages with information on COVID-19 that your business clients can access. In addition, they should check with their respective state department of health, as they are continually developing helpful guidelines and resources regarding the pandemic.

Worldwide Facilities is committed to assisting our retail brokers during this uncertain time. As a resource, we’re here to help address Workers’ Compensation issues that can impact businesses and employees, so you and your clients can better safeguard the workplace.

For information, please contact Todd Pollock at 508-625-3547 or tpollock@wwfi.com.

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