Before workplaces reopen, one of the top responsibilities of leaders is to ensure employee safety.
Unfortunately, leaders need to make safety and protection decisions based on ever-changing data regarding the transmission, testing and symptoms of COVID-19.
There are no pandemic laws or standards yet, so what constitutes compliance and legal violations is murky.
Don’t make it easy to pile on charges
As of May 4, 2020, OSHA is already investigating COVID-19-related cases, involving 96,000 workers in 24 states.
If an employee contracts COVID-19 and suffers permanent injury or dies, and the employer doesn’t comply with existing federal and state laws and standards for employee safety, the injured party can pile on additional charges in a negligence lawsuit.
This is more expensive, time consuming and demoralizing than most can stomach. It can also destroy your reputation and brand.
Before reopening, review this checklist
- Do we accommodate social distancing by changing our layout, adding shifts, bringing back employees in phases, rotating who works from home, or applying a combination?
- How do we use the shared kitchen so everyone is protected?
- How do we enforce social distancing where people congregate, such as the photocopy room, break room, coffee bar?
- What are our visitor policies for deliveries, clients, employee friend/family?
- Are children allowed in the workspace when schools are still closed?
- How can we tighten control over who enters our workspace? Will our landlord and other building tenants comply?
- Is the HVAC system equipped with up-to-date HEPA filtration?
- Where should we install sneeze guards?
- Who provides masks that meet protection standards? What are the replacement and inventory requirements? Who replaces/launders? Enforces correct use?
- How do we screen employees for COVID-19 symptoms and manage the data? Should we demand tests for COVID-19 or antibodies? If so, how recent? How frequent? How do protect employee privacy?
- What if someone refuses testing? What legal issues apply to ensuring our employees are healthy?
- Do we have everyone’s emergency contact information? Is it current? Are there privacy protections? Who has access to this information?
Employee safety and concerns
- Does our employee health insurance include mental health? Do we provide paid time off for medical appointments?
- If we add shifts, what do off-hour shifts mean for employee security when coming into and leaving the building? Employee transportation and safety?
- How are employees getting to our workspace—mass transit, carpooling, private car with family member? What is their commuting exposure to COVID-19??
- Do we provide employees with disinfectant wipes and depend on them to clean their surfaces, keyboards, phones, chairs? Are wipes available to buy?
- What if an employee states they don’t feel safe returning to the workspace—do they continue to work remotely? Are they told to come in or resign? Something else?
- How do we decide which travel is essential? Do we insist on a 14-day work-from-home quarantine after travel?
Cleaning and sanitizing
Collaborate with your landlord and other building tenants.
- Who cleans and sanitizes building entry doors, lobby, elevators, stairwells? How frequently? What equipment, cleaning products and personal protection equipment are needed?
- Who cleans and sanitizes the workspace’s common areas and workstations, and how frequently? What equipment, cleaning products and personal protection equipment are needed?
- Who cleans and sanitizes the restrooms and entry doors? How often? What cleaning materials and personal protection equipment are needed?
- Who cleans the refrigerators, microwaves, sinks, faucets, counters, handles, and how often? What cleaning materials and personal protection equipment are needed?
- Who is responsible for removing trash from workstations, shared kitchen, restrooms? What personal protection equipment is needed?
Organization safety and compliance
- Is our Emergency Action Plan compliant, and have we trained everyone within the last 12 months, or at hire?
You and your employees have faced enough trauma and risk
Let’s work together so you can safely reopen, and help your employees feel secure and valued.
To get started, download our four-page “Reopening Your Workplace Checklist.”
I’ll customize this checklist to your workspace, location, employees and culture. Call me at 203 563 9999 or email BoMitchell@911Consulting.net.
Construction companies: email me for a construction reopening checklist.