As the coronavirus (COVID-19) continues to loom over the U.S. and other countries, conversations of businesses returning to work are more frequent as we inch closer to May and the end of many stay at home orders. Though this may seem promising, it does not eliminate the possibility of a new wave of cases arising as areas reopen.
Some of the major points that will need to be addressed in order to avoid unintended consequences will include having a balance of readily available healthcare resources and facilities, workplace procedures in place and personal accountability from individuals when it comes to social distancing and staying home when sick. From a workplace perspective, employers will also need to leverage protecting employees on the job, continuing operations without putting employees at risk, encouraging sick employees to stay home and integrating procedures for workers with high risk conditions. This can be a huge challenge, especially with so many unknowns about the future of the pandemic.
Businesses should start with consulting their own state government for clear guidelines on how to safely integrate workers back into the workplace. From here, a return to work program should be implemented in order to formalize a process for effectively conducting business in the midst of the current pandemic.
Some of the challenges that will need to be reviewed include, but are not limited to:
- Accounting for workers dealing with high-risk conditions
- Revisiting subcontractor programs to address safety procedures
- Training employees
- Implementing an effective cleaning/disinfecting routine
- Integrating controls in areas where PPE may no longer be readily available
- Maintaining social distancing measures while at work
- Determining how to support employees who may be physically/emotionally affected by the pandemic, etc.
The decisions you make and policies you implement will vary depending on where you are and the severity of the pandemic. Here at SafetyPro, we've created a return to work checklist that businesses can use to prepare for when they reopen or help reintegrate employees and manage the part of your workforce that may not be returning to the physical workspace right away. For help with your organizations return to work plan, contact us at 800-941-0714 or click below to secure your checklist today!