With evolving COVID situation, it is incredibly important for industries that are reopening to stay informed, aware, and active. All the decisions taken by various global and national agencies to combat Covid-19 are based upon limited information from previously occurred coronavirus strains. However, this novel coronavirus is most infectious strain of all known corona virus. Since COVID has taken a toll on global and national economies, it has become inevitable for the functioning of industries to take proactive steps towards safe work environment. With superfluous information about COVID on various interfaces, it becomes difficult for professionals looking for information that can help make the reopening workplaces to be safe for employees returning for work. This article discusses some of the key points to be focused upon by companies while planning their reopen after Covid.
MAINTAINING SAFETY IN WORKPLACE AFTER RE-OPENING
Even if the halt seems to be never-ending, activities will return to normal eventually. And it wouldn’t be easy for people in managerial positions to take decisions in a situation that presents various new challenges. Though it is a nightmare for the industrial and business world, there are ways to approach the problem in a diligent way to cost-efficiently handle the situation. This is a situation where safety is to be considered with more priority than usual. Here are some ways a workplace could be made safer.
Disinfecting before reopening of the workplace. This creates a safe atmosphere for employees to enter. Disinfection must be done at regular intervals by housekeeping employees with appropriate PPE. Only disinfectants approved by the EPA for use against SARS-COV-2. 1/3 cup of bleach in 1 gallon of water can be used when disinfectants are not available due to shortage.
Management must make sure as many operations reasonably practicable must be carried out in open areas with enough ventilation. In cases where this is not possible mechanical ventilation of appropriate efficiency must be provided for each workstation.
- SOCIAL DISTANCING
Effective administrative control for the practice of social distancing among employees. And enough area must be provided for the employees to move freely.
It is not easy for a workplace to follow social distancing. Even more so when the objective of the occupation is activities such as manual handling, construction, etc.
A minimum of two hand distances must be practiced in the company.
Workstations should be separated as much as possible to social distancing with ease.
Every worksite must have enough good quality PPE made available and accessible to the employees. It is mandatory by OSHA for an employer to pay for the masks, gloves, and other relevant PPE.
It can be beneficial for the management if the workplace is divided into zones where a certain activity is to be carried out. This can help in managing the number of employees for a particular zone or work.
- MINIMIZE EMPLOYEE COUNT
It is important for the management of the company to make sure employees working in a certain zone is the bare minimum possible. This can be achieved by using a system of shift.
- HEALTH SURVEILLANCE
Even if the workplace is squeaky clean, just one infected employee can cause clusters. This is the reason that health surveillance is of utmost importance. It must be done by certified professionals with all the necessary precautions.
- HAND WASH REGIMEN
Strict and regularized regimen for hand wash is the best way to combat the virus.
- SICK LEAVE
Keeping sick workers at home is of prime importance for protection of workers against an outbreak. Anyone with higher than set temperature must be sent home immediately with leave until recovered fully.
- IN OFFICE-ADJUSTMENTS
Installations such as doors that can be opened using forearms, sanitization stations, etc., must be provided.
- INFORMATION MADE AVAILABLE TO EMPLOYEES
Provide information in a step by step procedure with visual cues and explanation in a local language known by the majority of employees in bullet-in boards in every workstation of the company.
Thinking ahead buys more time to handle the situation effectively even if the worst-case scenario happens. The management of each company must be proactive and inspire other companies to create a healthy and conducive atmosphere for employees. Companies must take responsibility for reducing the transmission of this pandemic within the workplace not only for legal compliance but also to demonstrate leadership, reliability, credibility, and moral responsibility to the community for the greater good.