A safer reopening: 10 actions to take

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As many employees begin returning to a more typical work environment, employers must remember to prioritize safety. Here are 10 steps the National Safety Council – based on recommendations from its SAFER task force – says employers should take before reopening:

  1. Phasing. Create a phased transition to return to work aligned with risk and exposure levels.
  2. Sanitize. Disinfect the workplace and make any alterations needed so employees can easily practice physical distancing.
  3. Screenings. Develop a health status screening process for all employees.
  4. Hygiene. Create a plan for handling employees who get sick, and encourage good hygiene.
  5. Tracing. If workers get sick, follow proper contact tracing steps to curb the spread of COVID-19.
  6. Mental health. Commit to supporting the mental and emotional health of your workers by sharing support resources and policies.
  7. Training. Train leaders and supervisors at your organization on the fundamentals of safety. These fundamentals include risk assessment and hazard recognition, as well as the mental and wellness-related impacts of COVID-19. Your employees will feel the effects of the pandemic long after it’s over.
  8. Engagement plan. Notify employees in advance of the return to their pre-coronavirus workplace. Consider categorizing workers into different groups based on job roles and bringing back groups or departments one at a time.
  9. Communication. Create a communication plan that involves being open and transparent with workers about returning to work.
  10. Assessment. Outline the main factors you’re using as guidance to provide a simple structure for the extremely complex return-to-work decision.

SAFER: Safe Actions for Employee Returns – a group of experts from companies of all sizes, leading safety organizations, nonprofits, government agencies and public health organizations – is the first national task force focused on worker safety.

For more information, go to nsc.org/safer.