Preparing Your Business to Reopen Post COVID-19

As cases of COVID-19 have continued to decrease across the United States, the federal government has released “Opening Up America Again”, a set of guidelines detailing a three-phased approach to relaxing restrictions across the country and many industries. The relaxation is certainly a breath of fresh air for the country’s economy and people who’ve spent the better part of 2020 tightening personal boundaries. 

However, because opening up will likely cause a resurgence of COVID-19 cases, businesses of all sizes and industries must consider adjusting procedures as more employees come out of isolation and return to work. 

Specifically, physical workplace employers need to consider the following practices to promote a safe work environment. 

Physical Employer Considerations for Return to Work

Employers and safety managers should develop procedures and policies for building maintenance, maintaining physical distance, and mitigating risks for employees returning to work in physical environments. The following actions should be considered before re-opening.

Buildings, Facilities, and Operations

  • Complete full disinfection of facilities and equipment before return to work dates. Safety managers and building maintenance should coordinate efforts to ensure all cleanings meet any local authority requirements before a facility may be allowed to re-open.
  • Develop and reinforce site cleaning guides that specifically address heavily trafficked areas and frequency of cleanings.
  • Assess all spaces to determine maximum capacity. To maintain social distancing, divide the square footage by 36 for 6 feet of physical distance between occupants. 
  • Train and post signage for proper PPE usage.
  • Establish protocols for proper PPE cleaning and disinfection if it will be reused.

See more COVID-19 facility and operations safety suggestions.

Physical Distancing

  • Find alternative methods to clock in for work hours.
  • Stagger break times.
  • Use audio/visual tools for meetings and gatherings.
  • Establish and communicate when face coverings need to be used or not.

Public Workspace

  • Implement policies to limit the number of workers needed at one time to complete tasks outside of company property.
  • Set extended perimeter around the work area and limit physical distance with customers/clients.
  • Provide training on how to operate safely in public spaces outside company control.
  • Provide a method for employees to report unsafe behavior by fellow employees or exposure-related incidents.

Employee Pre-Screening 

Modifying the workplace to prevent the spread of COVID-19 when re-opening will go a long way, however, employers need to consider the health of employees before they are approved to return to the office or job site. A pre-screen assessment is an option for employers to check if workers show signs of the COVID-19 virus by conducting temperature checks and logging any changes in day-to-day symptoms like a cough or chest congestion. 

Logging this amount of information for each employee can create a challenge. A pen and paper system is likely to confuse, be misplaced, and records may go unfiled. Using a tool like Safety Reports Scan App ensures that information gathered is accurate and accessible to all risk management parties. 

Demonstration of Employee COVID-19 Pre-screening Assessment

Final Thoughts

As employers move to get back to normal and open their workplaces, they must devise COVID-19 return to work policies that support local and state requirements per CDC and OHSA guidance. Most importantly, those policies must work towards reducing the spread of COVID-19 while maintaining healthy work environments to protect employees and customers alike. 

Need COVID-19
resources for your workplace?

During this pandemic, Safety Reports has collected and created articles and resources to make safer workplaces across the country. Visit our COVID-19 resource page to help get your company through this time safely.

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