To help limit the spread of COVID-19 at the height of the pandemic, many businesses worldwide temporarily closed or curtailed operations. As governments allow businesses to reopen, there are steps organisations need to take to protect their employees, customers, and contractors. It’s important to keep in mind that guidance in this area is constantly evolving—if you’re considering policies surrounding worker safety, make sure to consult official government and public health protection sources for the latest information. Here are some general tips to get you started.
Empower your employees to protect their own health and the health of their co-workers by providing what they need to stay safe, including:
If possible, provide your employees with facemasks and gloves—or encourage them to bring their own. Require employees to wear facemasks and gloves in accordance with the guidance of government public health authorities.
Ask your employees to clean their work areas and disinfect frequently touched surfaces at the end of each shift. Provide sufficient supplies to complete this task.
When employees take breaks—especially for lunch—provide them with enough time to thoroughly wash their hands before and after eating. Recommend that employees wash their hands at the start and end of their shifts as well.
Encourage employees to stay home—and seek medical care—if they feel ill or have COVID-19 symptoms by providing sufficient paid sick leave.
Returning to work may be especially stressful for some employees. Offer your employees convenient access to services for both mental and physical health.
In addition to empowering your employees to protect and care for themselves, consider making operational changes that will support employee health.
Before reopening, clean and disinfect all work areas—and determine whether you are required to comply with industry-specific disinfection and sterilisation requirements. Ventilate work areas as well. Routine cleaning and disinfection should continue once you reopen.
When employees arrive for their shift, screen them for fever before they enter the workplace. Employees with elevated temperatures should be sent home and encouraged to seek medical care if needed. Screen customers, contractors, suppliers, and other site visitors as well.
Take steps to ensure that employees keep 1.5 metres away from other people, including co-workers and customers. To maintain social distancing, consider taking the following actions:
The transition back to work may be challenging for some employees. You can help address fear and morale—and promote safe operations—by communicating openly and frequently with employees. Educate employees about practices that will help maintain a safe and healthy workplace and let them know about available resources.
While general precautions and safety steps will help all employees, you may want to take additional steps to meet the needs of certain members of your workforce.
Ensure that employees who contract COVID-19 have—and take—a sufficient amount of time off work to aid their recovery and protect their co-workers. Provide additional paid time off if needed. Encourage employees to closely monitor their health and seek medical advice if symptoms recur.
When you reopen, many employees may still need to work from home. Continue to provide resources to support the health and well-being of your work-from-home employees.
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