Do Your Workplace Health & Safety Protocols Measure Up? | August 2020 Newsletter
The world we live in today isn’t a safe one. From the Covid19 virus to violence, we must learn coping strategies to survive and thrive. In the workplace, management must create an environment of safety for all.
It goes without saying that a sanitary environment, proper testing protocols, flexible employee medical leave for anyone affected with covid-19 and proper social distancing are essential.
To create a successful safety program, consider the following suggestions:
- Choose managers dedicated to making the safety system work.
- Train them properly on safe workplace procedures.
- Comply with OSHA regulations.
- Cooperate and communicate.
- Look for continuous improvement.
Emphasize your company’s commitment to safety for all. Make sure your employees know that you expect them to follow safe work practices, and make sure your managers set a good example.
Review your company’s record of illnesses, accidents, etc. Review the OSHA logs and Workman’s Comp reports & any complaints. You can’t fix anything until it is identified. Develop your safety plan and conduct practice drills several times each year.
Make sure you establish procedures to follow for when an employee refuses to abide by health & safety restrictions in place. For example, if someone refuses to wear a mask, and your company requires them to do so, your employee manual should include any restrictions and the penalty for failure to comply.
Obviously, there will be exceptions when medically necessary or for safety reasons. If a mask causes harm for someone with an existing medical condition, they cannot be required to wear said mask, or they might be required to work from home. If wearing a mask causes someone’s eyeglasses to fog up, making a task impossible to see, then the mask must be removed for said task.
What is Your Return-to-Work Policy?
Do you have a policy in place for employees returning to work after testing positive for Covid-19?
If not, here are some suggestions:
- Consider a protocol based on CDC guidelines so they can return to work safely after proper quarantine & follow-up testing.
- Establish a baseline direction for testing.
- Conduct viral testing & set clear requirements for employees who test positive, as well as those who have been in close contact with the person.
The CDC estimates that about 40% of Covid-19 transmissions happen before people get sick & 35% never show symptoms at all. Temperature checks alone are not enough!
These numbers emphasize the importance of having a comprehensive testing strategy in place.
Source: ARCpoint Labs
In this unusual reopening of businesses, while Covid-19 is not controlled, leaders and employees must be tolerant and calmly anticipate that positive tests will occur that will disrupt the workforce.
In the post-pandemic workplace, we’ll see such changes as:
- Increase in remote working. A Gartner poll indicates 48% of employees will likely work at least part-time remotely after the pandemic.
- Employers are using increasingly more non-traditional employee monitoring tools. New technologies are increasingly being used to listen to employees in nontraditional ways.
- Organizations will continue to expand their use of contingent workers to maintain more flexibility in workplace management. They will consider introducing other models such as talentsharing & 80% pay for 80% work.