There are 10 universal actions the National Safety Council says all employers must take to ensure workers are safe from the coronavirus as they return to their jobs following state lock-downs.
The NSC’s Safe Actions For Employee Returns (SAFER) task force identified 10 actions employers must consider before re-opening and released playbooks offering in-depth recommendations for doing so safely.
Reopening businesses and getting employees back to work post-quarantine “will be the most nuanced and complex actions American employers will undertake in the coming months,” according to an NSC news release.
Because of that challenge, the organization’s SAFER task force – a group of experts from companies, safety organizations, nonprofits, government agencies and public health organizations – devised these 10 universal actions employers must take to re-open safely:
- Phasing. Create a phased transition to work aligned with risk and exposure levels.
- Sanitize. Before workers return, disinfect the workplace and make physical alterations needed for physical distancing.
- Screening. Develop a health status screening process for all employees.
- Hygiene. Create a plan to handle sick workers and encourage safe behaviors for good hygiene and infection control.
- Tracing. Follow proper contact tracing steps if workers get sick to curb the spread of the coronavirus.
- Mental health. Commit to supporting mental and emotional health of workers by sharing support resources and policies.
- Training. Train leaders and supervisors not only on fundamentals of safety – such as risk assessment and hazard recognition – but also on impacts of the coronavirus on mental health and well-being as workers will feel the effects of the pandemic long after it’s over.
- Engagement plan. Notify workers in advance of the return to work, and consider categorizing workers into groups based on job roles, bringing back one group at a time.
- Communication. Develop a communications plan to be transparent with workers on the return-to-work process.
- Assessment. Outline the main factors your organization is using as guidance to provide a simple structure to the extremely complex return-to-work decision.
The NSC and SAFER previously released a framework for developing re-opening action plans with considerations involving six key areas.
From that framework, NSC researchers created playbooks with detailed recommendations for four specific environments:
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COVID-19 continues to be a real concern for public and occupational health. Even as businesses can resume operations, employers have serious concerns about their obligations to protect employees, especially in the face of shifting guidance from OSHA, the CDC, EEOC, and state governments.
What are the current requirements, and what do the standards mean for employers and their liability? Join us for a webinar to learn what’s required now, and how you can best protect your workers.
The speaker: Adele L. Abrams, Esq., CSMP is a nationally recognized authority on Occupational Safety and Health law. She represents employers in OSHA and MSHA litigation and provides training and safety consultation.
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