With businesses across the country reopening amid the COVID-19 pandemic, employers must ensure that measures are in place to prevent worker exposure to the virus as they return to their regular work environments.
A new document from the Safe Actions for Employee Returns (SAFER) Task Force provides a framework for businesses to prioritize initiatives as employees return to work facilities. The recommendations in the document are based around current corporate and public health protocols and guidance for addressing COVID-19 exposure.
The framework focuses on six key areas of the workplace:
- Physical Environments: Developing procedures for building maintenance, maintaining physical distance and mitigating the risk of exposure for employees who come in contact with the public.
- Medical Issues: Monitoring and promoting worker health, ensuring social distancing, and encouraging good personal hygiene and infection control.
- Stress, Emotional and Mental Health: Addressing concerns, anxieties and uncertainty that workers may be feeling, as well as any instability they may be experiencing with their finances, housing, employment and other concerns.
- Employment and Human Resources: Proactively identifying potential problems workers may face in transitioning back to their regular work environment and developing solutions through cross-functional partnership at the leadership level.
- Communication Needs: Providing effective, timely and frequent communication to address employee questions and concerns, ease the process of returning to work and convey details of the transition.
- External Considerations: Developing flexible protocols around environmental and societal conditions that an organization can adjust based on shifts in local, state and federal guidelines, medical guidance and levels of community risk.
The SAFER Task Force is first national task force focused on worker safety and includes experts from safety organizations including ASSP, NSC and AIHA, nonprofits, public health organizations, government agencies and Fortune 500 companies.
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