As the world continues to reopen in the aftermath of the COVID-19 crisis, many of us are looking to the future and planning for a new normal. This includes inventing new policies and procedures to continue to prevent the spread of coronavirus in the workplace. Though this may seem like a daunting task with many components to remember, navigating our new normal does not have to be difficult. As you embark on the journey to provide your safety and security in your workplace in a time of anxiety and restlessness, consider the following safety precautions for coronavirus prevention at work:
Develop a detailed COVID-19 response plan.
The first thing you’ll need to consider when thinking about safety precautions to prevent the spread of coronavirus is your response plan. You will need a detailed COVID-19 response plan for both you and your workers that will cover not only precautionary measures to be taken against the virus, but also a plan in case one of your workers falls sick.
This response plan will lay the groundwork for all other safety precautions. It can work as a guide to continually reference when you or your workers have questions about how to handle coronavirus in the workplace.
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Think about how many workers you’ll have on-site.
As a safety precaution, you should consider limiting the number of individuals at each job site. This not only includes your own workers, but also outside contractors, vendors, visitors, and other personnel. Limiting the number of people on a job site and in the office will help avoid large gatherings of people.
To accomplish this, you might consider staggering shifts, workdays, and which employees are reporting to each job site. This will encourage your workers to remain in small groups to prevent the potential spread of coronavirus. Although this may take some maneuvering, it is essential in the creation of a safe work environment.
Follow social distancing guidelines.
On top of limiting job site personnel to small groups, it is important to remind workers to maintain proper social distancing. This means that individuals should stay a minimum of six feet apart while working. Social distancing should be maintained not only while working, but also during breaks. This helps prevent the direct spread of the virus from person to person.
These guidelines may need to be adjusted depending on the type of work that is being done. If this is the case, talk with your workers about when it is appropriate to social distance and what other preventative measures can be taken.
Implement regular cleaning procedures.
Be sure to implement regular cleaning procedures and protocols in and around your work area.
It is important to consider which guidelines apply to you and your crew, and what areas will need attention for cleaning. Bathrooms, trailers, break rooms, and lunchrooms will need to be thoroughly cleaned between uses as a precautionary measure.
Keep personal protection equipment (PPE) handy.
Personal protection equipment (PPE) includes face coverings or masks, gloves, gowns, foot and eye protection, and head and ear protection. PPE varies between different types of jobs and locations. The following list provides a few things to consider in regards to PPE in the workplace:
- What PPE is appropriate for each of your workers in each specific location.
- Consider if training will be needed to provide your workers with the proper knowledge of how and when to wear their PPE, as well as how to safely dispose of it.
- Decide if you will provide your workers with PPE or if they can provide their own. If you are providing the PPE, then you will want to be sure to have an ample amount for each of your workers.
Encourage cleanliness policies.
Ultimately, it boils down to the individual when taking preventative measures for coronavirus. You can encourage personal preventative measures by encouraging cleanliness and implementing appropriate policies. To help encourage cleanliness, you may want to provide the following at each job site or office location:
- An on-site hand-washing station
- Hand sanitizer or hand sanitizer stations
- Disposal areas for PPE You can also hang signs around the workplace reminding workers of your specific hygiene policies. ー
Making the decision on to return to work was difficult. Deciding on the best safety procedures so you and your workers can feel secure is the next step in this process. There are countless things to consider in regards to safety procedures and preventative measures in the workplace. Ultimately, you know the needs of your workers and how best to move forward with your reopening plan. When considering how to move forward, remember that with the proper knowledge and tools at your disposal, you can face the future without fear and your business can thrive.