Even as we start to get a better handle on the COVID-19 pandemic, it’s clear that our lives, including the modern workplace, will never be the same. We may never be able to totally rid ourselves of the virus, and so we must remain vigilant against the potential spread of the disease. Fortunately, OSHA publication 3990 has outlined what employers need to do to keep employees protected from COVID-19. While company leaders should read through the entire document, here are the key takeaways from OSHA publication 3990.
Develop a Response Plan
The biggest takeaway from OSHA publication 3990 is the need for companies to develop a response plan to COVID-19. This requires a substantial review of employees, practices, and the overall workplace setting. Companies need to try to understand all of the ways that employees could potentially be exposed to COVID-19 or other types of germs and diseases. Once companies understand that, they will be able to create a plan for how they can reduce the risk of exposure.
Determine Risk Factors for Employees
It’s important for companies to not treat employees the same when it comes to risk factors for COVID-19. After all, different workers have different responsibilities and might work in different areas, so they are not all at the same risk level of spread. At the same time, the age and medical history of each individual employee will also play a role in how vulnerable they are to the disease. That will have an impact on what employers need to do to help protect employees.
Promote Smart Behavior
According to OSHA publication 3990, it’s up to employers to help promote smart and safe behavior among staff members. For example, encourage workers to wash their hands frequently and provide wash stations where they can do that. Along those same lines, discourage employees from sharing work tools and other equipment that can make it easy to pass along germs. Finally, make sure that your employees know to stay home if they feel any symptoms associated with COVID-19.
Make Housekeeping a Bigger Priority
In the post-pandemic world, OSHA publication 3990 makes it clear that housekeeping must become a bigger priority for all businesses. Work areas should be cleaned and disinfected at the end of the day or before new employees occupy that area. No matter the industry, regular cleaning needs to become an integral part of workplace safety.
Create More Flexible Work Schedules
For some companies, having employees working remotely will be a lot easier than with others. But even if remote work isn’t possible, OSHA publication 3990 stresses that employers need to be more open to flexible work schedules. Is there a way to have fewer employees working at the same time? Is there a way to allow employees to stay at home if they have a sick family member? Company leaders should explore creative solutions to these types of situations.
Improve Air Quality
Much like cleaning, air quality will now become a bigger priority after COVID-19. Employers should look into installing air filters or other forms of ventilation in the workplace. This should have been important before the pandemic, but it’s even more important now because good ventilation and high air quality can help prevent the spread of the virus.
Organize Workplace Safety with Software
Coming out of the pandemic, the best way to keep employees safe from all potential hazards is with a workplace safety system. For example, the software offered by EHS Insight will make it easier to manage all aspects of occupational health and safety. Our system makes it easier to monitor hazards and communicate important information with employees, among all other safety-related tasks.
If you need a little extra help organizing workplace safety, let us know and we’ll be happy to become your new safety partner.