We’ve spent the last few weeks answering questions for clients planning a plant closure, curtailment, or reduction of hours due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Navigating the shut-down process is especially difficult, so we shared our “COVID-19 Shutdown Regulatory Checklist” to help.
Now we’re beginning to hear questions from clients about how to safely return employees to work, resume operations, and settle into a “new normal.”
Here’s our top three pieces of advice for reducing risk and protecting workers:
1. First and foremost, customize your back-to-work plan to minimize the potential for the continued spread of COVID-19.
Now’s not the time to use a generic plan. Your back-to-work plan needs to address the unique business logistics of your specific operations. Evaluating your onsite operations is essential in addressing the obvious and not-so-obvious workday practices to ensure that the possibility of additional cases of COVID-19 is minimized. A thorough evaluation should provide customized answers to your questions and concerns, such as:
- Managing safe entry of your employees into your place of business each day
- Ensuring employee risk to COVID-19 exposure is managed while they are performing their work
- Managing employee transition between their work and routine break periods during the day
- Identifying the appropriate PPE required for specific circumstances and determining if PPE will need to change based on activity or task
- Managing waste PPE to minimize possible exposures to COVID-19
- Developing training to provide to employees, supervisors and managers
- Creating procedures to clean and disinfect your place of business
2. Include best practices from a diverse range of industries.
Once you’ve carefully analyzed your specific operations, research other industries’ operational best practices to pinpoint tried-and-true, as well as outside-the-box, procedures such as:
- Internal and external communications
- Written policies and procedures
- Employee, supervisor, and visitor training
- Routine cleaning and disinfecting practices
- COVID-19 Pandemic Response Plan in the event of a positive case
- Determinations of highest areas of concern for risk of contraction or transmission of the virus
- Sensible engineering controls to isolate, contain, and protect workplaces of highest concern
- PPE recommendations based on task and locations
- Administrative controls regarding interaction of personnel
- Decontamination plans based on equipment, task, and location
3. Address work-to-home-to-work guidance.
Keeping your employees safe on the job is crucial to keep your operations going after restart. It’s also important to offer guidance on staying safe while away from work so as not to introduce risk when back on the job. Return-to-work plans should address procedures and precautions such as these as well:
- At-home, pre-work procedures to address potential risks during the workday
- Post-work procedures to complete before returning home to minimize the potential contamination risk
- Procedures to minimize the risk of exposure to the virus when filling your automobile
- Precautions for procuring groceries and medical supplies
- Procedures to reduce exposure when receiving deliveries of packages and U.S. mail at home
- Precautions to implement for business travelers
Need help? Our team of safety professionals are standing at the ready.
See a complete list of our COVID-19 resources HERE.