The COVID-19 crisis has disrupted various businesses across different industries worldwide. At the onset of the pandemic, many companies and even small and mid-size enterprises (SMEs) had a temporary shutdown.
It’s good that several businesses have already reopened, and employees have been gradually going back to the office. For this reason, health and safety measures must be set in place for your workplace in the new normal. Every employer should follow the COVID-19 guidelines set forth by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OHSA)
While the COVID-19 crisis is here to stay, the ultimate goal of every employer is to keep their workplace free of the novel coronavirus. Also, they are looking to prevent safety hazards in their working environments like they used to before the pandemic.
That said, here’s how to boost your workplace health and safety during the pandemic:
1. Set health and safety protocols in place
Before your employees return to the office, you should get your workplace ready for the COVID-19 pandemic. The initial step is to set health and safety guidelines in place. It’s best to follow the COVID-19 guidelines established by OHSA. However, be sure to sit down with your team and set protocols appropriate for your workplace. Here are some primary measures you can adopt in your workplace:
- Requiring vaccination of employees
- Perform COVID-19 testing and contact tracing for suspected employees
- Wearing masks and respirators
- Cleaning and disinfecting the workplace
- Having proper ventilation
- Maintaining social distancing
- Frequent hand-washing and sanitizing
- Monitoring health
2. Ensure entry of only vaccinated authorized personnel
The World Health Organization (WHO) is pushing through with mass vaccination, as it’s key to combatting the pandemic. When employees have complete vaccination and even booster shots, they will get less likely infected with the COVID-19 disease. For this reason, it’s best to allow only those vaccinated employees to go back to the office. Those who aren’t yet fully vaccinated can continue to work from home (WFH) in the meantime.
In addition, make sure that you only allow authorized personnel in your workplace to reduce the risk of COVID-19 infection. If your commercial space is open, consider installing composite fence panels and having security personnel in place.
3. Educate your employees about workplace health and safety
Once you’ve established the health and safety guidelines, you can have some employees go back to the office. But before taking the plunge, orient and train your employees on these critical guidelines. Inform them that everyone should strictly follow these protocols for the health and safety of all employees. Also, let them hold accountable for each and every action. If possible, have them sign a waiver for full compliance and accountability. In the end, everyone should do their part in promoting overall health and well-being in the workplace.
4. Have regular cleaning and disinfecting
Regular cleaning and disinfecting are all the more necessary during this pandemic. The goal is to keep your workplace free of the various strains of the novel coronavirus. While cleaning entails removing germs and particles in surfaces and objects, disinfecting involves killing these germs and other microorganisms.
You can either hire custodians to ensure regular cleaning and disinfecting or work with a robust cleaning service company. Make sure to work with professional cleaners specialized in COVID-19 cleaning and disinfection.
5. Don’t forget to declutter your workplace areas
Aside from cleaning and disinfecting, decluttering is a vital part of the overall equation. Its goal is to keep your workplace tidy and prevent safety hazards. Think of harmful chemicals that can cause illnesses and scattered objects that can cause injuries. It’s crucial to declutter your workplace and keep it safe all the time. The last thing you want to happen is for employees to get ill or injured and pay for their worker’s compensation. Hence, follow OHSA’s recommended practices for safety and health programs.
6. Report health and safety hazards and take immediate actions
The last is to have proper reporting and urgent actions concerning workplace incidents. In fact, you must have a team of trained individuals who know how to respond in case of an emergency. However, orient your employees about how to report and what actions to take in case of an accident. For suspected COVID-19 in the workplace, be sure to follow the health and safety protocols outlined by the CDC.
At this point, you now know what it takes to keep your workplace healthy and safe in the new normal. Be sure to consider the practical tips recommended above, from educating your employees to reporting health and safety hazards in the workplace. Ultimately, you can foster your employees’ overall health and safety during this pandemic.