Health and safety protocols are more important than ever for businesses exploring options to bring staff people back into the office. Many of us think the first step toward keeping COVID-19 out of the workplace is employee screening, but The Centers for Disease Control suggests a workplace hazard assessment is the real starting point. Supervisory teams need to walk through every aspect of their employees’ workdays before being able to determine what protocols need to be in place before the doors open.
- Help Employees Maintain Physical Distance. Operations teams should identify when and where employees will face the most risk of proximity to others (small spaces, group meetings, bathrooms, etc.) and create mitigation plans like new seating arrangements, room closures, or staggered work schedules with the help of management, maintenance, and janitorial staff.
- Review of Infrastructure for Risks. Does the HVAC system recycle potentially virus-contaminated air? Every effort should be made to increase the flow of fresh air inside your building. Do bathrooms have working exhaust systems? Where are there water fountains, sinks, and other community watering holes? And do they require a sanitization plan, closure, or other protocol? Review the same for vending and coffee machines, shared office machines, etc.
- Identify Issues that Developed During Building Closure. Unless the maintenance and janitorial crews made regular visits during the shutdown, the facility will need to be examined for stagnant water systems, pest problems, mold/mildew growth, and other problems that developed and have to be corrected before reopening.
- Plan for Sick Employees. HR should establish an action plan for assisting employees who arrive to work with COVID-19 symptoms, develop them during the day, or have someone in their household who tests positive. A follow-up disinfection protocol should also be in place for these instances.
- Establish Visitor and Vendor Policies. A workplace that requires visits by outside contractors, customers, etc. must have additional safety protocols in place for health screening, physical distancing, and post-visit site sanitization needs, too.
Once the work environment is ready for action, the employee screening plan can move into place. If possible, each employee should be tested for COVID-19 and provide a clean bill of health before arriving on the first day back at work. Then, screen every worker for COVID-19 symptoms upon every arrival to the building (even after a break) and consider plans for random screenings during the workday. Temperature checks can be done on-site, but you may want to consider additional, virtual health checks performed by medical professionals.
A healthy and well-run workplace leans on experts in each area of business. From facility teams to administrative teams to executive officers, everyone will need to be included in establishing and maintaining COVID-19 safety. Teams that have been reduced, or redirected to new processes, may benefit from outside help in recruiting, hiring, and security. Start a conversation with ClearStar about how we can support you.