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The coronavirus pandemic left many workers and employers with no choice but to adapt to the new normal. As a result, many companies had no choice but to transition to socially distanced and remote working. In some unfortunate cases, companies even had to furlough workers.
However, thanks to the effectiveness of COVID-19 vaccination, companies have begun to return to, if perhaps not normal, but the new normal of post-coronavirus life. This means emphasizing back to work safety for employees that haven’t been on-site for months at a time. Here’s what you need to know about getting your workers back up to speed on health and safety protocols.
First, it’s important to realize that your employees have been largely left to their own devices for several months. Whether they’ve been furloughed or they’ve simply been remote working during the pandemic, it’s been a prolonged period where they have not had to address safety concerns. This means that employees returning to on-site work will have to reacclimate to on-site safety rules and regulations.
It’s important to keep in mind that your workforce will need to become familiar with your site’s health and safety practices once more. Ensure that you remain patient while this process runs its course. While you can reasonably expect your workforce to grasp these best practices more quickly than a new hire, for example, your employees need to shake the rust off as they get back to work.
With employees returning to in-person activities, it’s important to ensure that your worksite is ready for them. This means that back to work safety includes a careful review of your worksite to ensure that they remain safe places to work. This is especially true if your worksite includes fabrication or production facilities. However, every place of work is likely to need at least a modicum of preparation work.
Even a corporate office needs to be cleaned and re-organized in order to be ready to receive workers; for example, lingering concerns such as the need for social distancing can be addressed by changing office layouts to spread out workstations. Such activity is best done well before your employees have returned to work, of course.
In order to help your employees back on their feet to full productivity, back to work safety requires a robust approach to training. This doesn’t just mean reviewing older safety training to refresh the memories of your workers, however; while revisiting older safety training is going to be necessary, it’s not the only necessary step to make. In fact, you can see a back to work safety initiative as an excellent opportunity to overhaul your company’s entire health and safety protocols.
Instead of just putting old safety rules and regulations back in place, you can use back to work safety initiatives to review old, existing policies and procedures to see if they’re still relevant or if they need overhauling. It’s the perfect opportunity to institute changes, as it will be easier for employees to learn a new set of best practices as they return to work than if you transitioned to different safety procedures after they had finished reacclimating to an in-person work environment.
Remember: it’s likely to have been several months since any of your employees have worked in a traditional workspace. It’s going to take time for them, and you, to get back into the swing of things. Use this time as an opportunity to revamp your safety policies for the better and you’ll be back to firing on all cylinders in no time.
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