How can employers best protect employees from exposure in the workplace?

Businesses that remain open during this time need to take precautions in order to protect employees from exposure to the COVID-19 virus. The ideal way to do this is to have all employees work from home. Of course, this is not possible in most situations. For employees who must come into the office to perform their essential duties, the following are some COVID-19 best practices recommended by OSHA, the CDC, and other experts:

  • Minimize Interaction with the Public – Any non-essential visits from people outside the company should be canceled or rescheduled. When possible, require customers to use curbside pickup or delivery of products. Limit the number of people permitted in the facility at any given time.
  • Encourage Employees to Call in with Symptoms – If any employee shows any signs of coronavirus, they should stay home. This also applies if the employee has been exposed to someone who has been confirmed to have coronavirus.
  • Adjust Workspaces to Accommodate Social Distancing – Moving desks, changing work assignments, and taking other steps to keep employees further away from each other is an essential form of social distancing.
  • Adjust Work Schedules – If possible, stagger shifts or allow people to come in after hours to do their tasks. For example, many supermarkets are stocking shelves only while the store is closed to reduce customer and employee interaction.
  • Increase Cleaning Routines – Frequent cleaning should be the norm during this time. This should especially include the regular disinfecting of doors, light switches, and other frequent touch points.
  • Encourage Hand Washing & SanitizingEncouraging employees to wash their hands frequently and use hand sanitizer often can be helpful. Installing hand sanitizer stations and supplying the sanitizer is a great way to do this.
  • Provide Cloth Masks – The CDC has recently recommended wearing cloth masks to reduce the spread of COVID-19. Providing employees with these masks, and requiring that they wear them, is appropriate.

Making these types of basic protections mandatory will help ensure employees are doing everything they can to keep themselves safe and protect others.

 

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