It’s no secret that COVID-19 has shut down many facilities in almost every industry, but as orders are lifted and business returns, we must do our part as employers to keep our workplaces safe, and continue to mitigate the spread of the Coronavirus. If you are reopening your facility,warehouse, or any other commercial space, proper planning and the right safety measures should be enforced to ensure the safety of your workers and everyone involved with your place of business. Here is how we at McLean Company recommend opening your facility up safely, as well as some tips from OSHA concerning workplace safety and COVID-19.
Before You Open
Ensure You Are Legal to Reopen
COVID-19 orders are not enforced federally (so far), therefore, you need to check with your state and local orders to ensure your business is even eligible to reopen. Many states are still restricting orders that only essential employees can legally operate, and many local governments have their own regulations when it comes to reopening your facility.
Create a COVID-19 Response Plan
Per OSHA recommendations, companies planning to reopen should have a solid plan in place to help avoid, contain, and prevent the spread of the Coronavirus. A Covid-19 response plan should include procedures to take when an employee has become exposed to COVID-19, updated employee sick leave policies, preventative measures, PPE inventory, and anything else you can think of that would aid in the effort to keep your employees safe. A proper response plan could be your strongest ally in preventing the spread of the Coronavirus.
Sanitize Your Facility
You owe it to your employees to make sure that they are not entering into a place of business that is already contaminated. Hire a professional sanitization team to do a full wipe-down of your facility, and consider updating your facility flooring to an antimicrobial flooring solution.
After You Open
A good employer will always be prepared with extra materials that are necessary to perform essential job functions. When it comes to stopping the spread of COVID-19, all employers should keep a healthy stock of hand sanitizer, disposable face masks, hand-washing soap, and other preventative equipment. This preventative equipment is your best defense against the spread of the virus, so ensuring that you keep your inventory stocked is crucial.
It’s all well and good to be prepared as an employer, but preparation means absolutely nothing if you don’t enforce the guidelines set in place by the CDC and other health organizations. This means ensuring that masks are worn at all times, employees are washing their hands regularly, and social distancing is observed when possible. The quickest way to failure in the prevention of the spread of COVID-19 is treating the guidelines put in place as mere suggestions, rather than directions.
Consider Screening Before Entry
Screening your employees for COVID-19 related health issues may seem a bit invasive, but it is a great way to stop the virus from ever entering your facility. You can check temperatures before entry, and also ensure your employees have not had any COVID-19 related symptoms. Another thing to keep in mind is to ask your employees if they could have been exposed to the virus, and not necessarily have symptoms. Employees that have potentially been exposed should be directed to a testing facility, and then directed to quarantine until results have come back. Once this occurs, they should follow the direction of the physicians and CDC concerning quarantine protocol.