Returning To Work Safely Amid A Pandemic

More than ever, ensuring a clean and safe work environment is critical. Everyone has a role in making sure our communities are as safe as possible to reopen, and most importantly, remain open. This means continuing to practice safe social distancing and other daily habits such as cleaning and disinfecting. While it is not possible to create a one-size-fits-all policy for returning to work, most businesses will benefit from taking the following measures and acting in accordance with state and federal mandates.

Staffing And Operations

Keeping your employees and customers happy and healthy is of utmost importance to your business. In these times, maintaining the health and safety of your staff may require more flexibility and possible changes to your operations. Overall it is important to make your employees feel safe and to provide them with the tools they need to remain on track and continue their work under the new conditions where possible.

Evaluate Remote Work Opportunities
  • When possible, consider allowing employees to work from home some of the time or most of the time
  • Continue to provide stability through consistent rituals to ensure predictability and structure
  • Bridge the distance through regular connections and check-ins
Remain Flexible With Scheduling
  • Stagger or adjust shifts to minimize the number of people working together simultaneously
  • Consider doing a hybrid schedule of remote and non-remote working days/hours
  • Consider altering employee start and stop times to reduce the flow of traffic entering and leaving the facility
Stay Home When You’re Sick
  • Reiterate your sick time and paid time off policies to employees and discourage them from coming to work if they feel ill
  • Employees who are displaying COVID-19 like symptoms should notify their supervisor and not report for work
  • Sick employees should not return to work until the criteria to discontinue home isolation are met, in consultation with healthcare providers
  • Employees who are well but who have a sick family member at home, should also notify their supervisor and follow recommended precautions

Safety And Social Distancing

All businesses should establish protocols to ensure that employees can pratice adequate social distancing. A social distancing policy should also evaluate how and whether visitors can safely come to the work place. Here are some tips to get you started:

Remain at least 6 feet apart
  • Adjust desks and chairs to be six feet apart
  • Mark the floor to denote six-foot distances
  • Separate chairs and tables in break rooms
  • Install physical barriers where necessary
  • Designate and post the direction of foot traffic in narrow areas
  • Create a possible elevator usage plan
Avoid groups and gatherings
  • Reduce access to common areas
  • Hold virtual meetings when possible
  • Postpone large company events or make them virtual
  • Minimize or eliminate shared equipment
  • Limit non-essential travel
Establish PPE policies as needed
  • Especially when social distancing requirements can’t be met, masks face shields and/or other PPE should be made available to all employees
  • Train employees on how to wear masks properly and keep them clean
  • Consider whether visitors will be required to wear protective face masks

Hygiene Protocols

The CDC and OSHA emphasize the need for good hygiene rituals in the workplace. From a business perspective, there are a few things you can do to encourage good hygiene practices.

Encourage frequent hand washing or sanitizing
  • Source and stock up on soap and sanitizers and make them available to all your employees and customers
  • Ensure hand sanitizers are FDA-regulated by checking for the FDA number on the label
  • Place hand sanitizers in multiple locations around the business or create prominent hand sanitizing stations as needed
  • Provide employees sufficient time to conduct proper hand-washing
  • Install posters to encourage proper hygiene practices
Promote other hygiene protocols
  • Encourage coughing/sneezing into a tissue or elbow
  • Encourage safety measures recommended by health officials such as signalling to your employees that nobody should shake hands in the workplace
  • Provide sufficient time for regular sanitation practices for individual workspaces including small personal objects such as phones, computer mouses, keyboards, and more

Cleaning & Disinfecting

As bacteria and viruses can live on surfaces for hours or days, well-defined disinfecting protocols should be developed and implemented. Plans should include more frequent cleaning than was previously implemented, such as routine cleaning protocols of high-touch surfaces like doorknobs, workstations, keyboards, handrails, and smaller items throughout the day.

Ensure adequate supplies of cleaning and disinfecting agents
  • Secure stock of commonly used items such as cleaners and disinfectants¬†
  • Ensure surface disinfects are EPA-approved and on the EPA’s List N for recommended products against SARS-CoV-2, the cause of COVID-19
  • Create prominent cleaning stations or areas, equipped with all cleaning supplies and inform all employees of these areas
Establish and maintain cleaning & disinfecting protocols
  • Educate all employees on the importance of cleaning AND disinfecting. Cleaning is about removing contaminants from a surface, disinfecting is about killing the pathogens
  • Create a plan to clean and disinfect all common areas, and prioritize areas that see more visitors throughout the day
  • Post cleaning rules for areas and equipment about how to disinfect between uses to keep multi-users safe
  • Ensure your employees are following the directions on the labels for effective cleaning and disinfecting
Focus on disinfecting high touch areas
  • Prioritize disinfecting frequently touched items throughout the workplace such as light switches, door knobs, countertops, hand rails, faucets, toilets and more
DetraPel sanitizers and disinfectants can help keep your workplace clean and healthy

While sanitizers and disinfectants are critical to maintain a safe work environment, these products have been harder to come by these days. Fortunately, many companies have stepped up to utilize their existing manufacturing capabilities to pivot their offerings and make the required items available. At DetraPel we’ve used our resources to expand our product line-up to support the fight against the global pandemic. Today, DetraPel offers products that can help keep your workplace clean while helping to stop the spread of illness.

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