As many people are getting back to work, many employers wonder how they can have their employees return safely. Employers are confronted with the complexities of returning employees to work in a manner that is safe and ensures operational continuity.
Now is the time administrators should be building policies and procedures so that when employees and the public return, you will have a plan in place.
- Conduct a Hazard Assessment for new protocols/equipment put in place consistent with OSHA rules.
- As with all policies and procedures, employers should ensure that any return-to-work protocols are implemented in a fair and non-discriminatory manner.
- Develop communication systems for returning workers, ensuring that they are aware of the safety measures in place and how to comply with them.
- Make sure that proper personal protective equipment (PPE) and general cleaning materials such as soap and hand sanitizer are available.
- OSHA recommends providing tissues, no-touch trash cans, hand soap, alcohol-based hand sanitizers, disinfectants, and disposable towels for workers to clean their work surfaces.
- Consider appointing a chief COVID officer responsible for ensuring that all public safety and health guidelines are implemented and that employees follow them.
- Intensify cleaning, disinfection, and ventilation.
- Stager breaks and recreation times.
- Close off common spaces where employees or others are likely to congregate.
- Consider what screening procedures are needed for visitors to the school.
OSHA requires employers to provide employees with a safe place to work. Employers may be responsible for workplace safety violations related to the coronavirus outbreak under OSHA’s “general duty” clause, which requires that each employer furnish to each of its employees a workplace that is free from recognized hazards that are causing or likely to cause death or serious physical harm.