Pandemic Transition – How to Reopen, Bring Staff Back to Work Safely – July 2020
IF YOUR business is reopening after a relaxation of shelter-in-place orders, you should proceed with caution and make sure you have safeguards in place to protect your workers, as well as customers if they are entering your premises.
Here are some recommendations from the Los Angeles Department of Public Health and other sources that can apply to any municipality anywhere in the country.
Measures to protect employees
• If someone can continue working from home, let them do so.
• Tell employees not to come to work if sick.
• If any employee tests positive for, or has symptoms that are consistent with COVID-19, you should:
– Ask that they isolate at home, and
– Ask all employees who may have come in contact with that colleague to immediately self-quarantine at home.
• Check employees for symptoms or a fever before they enter. This must include a check-in concerning cough, shortness of breath or fever, and any other symptoms the employee may be experiencing.
• These checks can be done remotely or in-person upon the employee’s arrival. A temperature check should be done at the worksite, if feasible.
• Offer at no cost to your employees cloth face coverings if they are going to have contact with the public during their shift. If they are disposable, masks should be thrown away at the end of every shift. If they are reusable, they should be washed after every shift in hot water.
• Instruct employees not to touch their masks.
• Disinfect break rooms, restrooms, and common areas frequently.
• Place hand sanitizer in strategic locations.
• Allow employees to take frequent breaks to wash their hands.
Place signs at each public entrance of your facility to inform all employees and customers that they should:
• Avoid entering if they have a cough or fever.
• Maintain a minimum 6-foot distance from one another.
• Wear a mask for their own protection, as well as for the safety of others.
Controlling crowds, lines
Limit the number of customers on the premises at any one time, to allow customers and employees to easily maintain at least 6-foot distance from one another at all practicable times. Post an employee at the door to ensure the maximum number of customers in the facility is not exceeded. If people are queueing up, mark the ground outside to ensure proper social distancing.
Spacing between employees
• Require employees to work at least 6 feet apart. You may need to reorganize workspaces to ensure proper spacing.
• In jobs where workers are on their feet, mark spots on the floor where they should stand to ensure social distancing.
• Space out tables, chairs, and microwaves in break rooms.
• Another option is to use partitions made of plexiglass so workers can communicate and make eye contact.
• In addition, you may want to abandon the popular open workspace concept and revert to using cubicles, which gained popularity in the 1980s and 1990s as a way to increase productivity by putting barriers between office workers. Having that divider will make your staff feel safer and can offer some protection.
• Reconfigure furniture placement in offices, public seating areas, and other work areas to support physical distancing.
Cleaning and circulation
Take steps to minimize air from fans blowing from one worker directly at another. Also, consider opening windows for circulation.
Also important are:
• Disinfecting surfaces in workspaces, as well as doorknobs, buttons, and controls. Pay special attention to areas that are frequented and touched more often.
• Providing workers and customers with tissues and trash receptacles.
• Employees who are cleaning and disinfecting should wear disposable gloves.
• Cleaning surfaces using soap and water, then using a disinfectant.
• Sanitizing any other personal protective equipment such as hardhats after every shift.