Three Steps to Prepare Your Workforce for Office Re-Entry
Even as COVID-19 vaccines become more widely available, re-opening offices and businesses isn’t as simple as unlocking the doors and returning to normal operations. If you want to re-open as safely as possible, you need to first re-examine your approach to workplace safety. These three steps provide a straightforward place to start.
How to Prepare Your Workforce for Office Re-Entry
As an employer, you’re federally mandated to provide “employment and a place of employment which are free from recognized hazards that are causing or are likely to cause death or serious physical harm to his employees” (OSH Act of 1970). Since COVID-19 has proven to be a serious hazard to employees, you’re obligated to do all you can to protect them from the threat of infection in the workplace.
As offices and workplaces begin re-opening, many employers aren’t sure where to begin. While this guide is far from exhaustive, every employer should have these precautions in place to mitigate workplace hazards before re-opening.
Step 1: Employee Health Screening
All employees and visitors need to be screened daily before they’re allowed to enter the workplace. Some workplaces even require employee health screening to take place multiple times a day as an extra precaution. No matter how frequently you plan to do it, screening stations should be set up at all facility entrances to ensure no one gets into the building without being screened.
The health screening should include a preliminary temperature check and a questionnaire that ensures no one is allowed entry if they may have been exposed or infected with COVID. It’s also essential to provide health screeners with proper personal protective equipment (PPE) to protect themselves from potential exposure.
If your team doesn’t have the time to conduct health screenings, a day porter can handle the task while also ensuring touchpoints remain disinfected throughout the day.
Step 2: Exposure-Response Planning
Along with implementing a health screening plan to prevent the entry of infected individuals at your workplace, you need to be prepared to respond when potential exposures happen. Your exposure-response plan should include an actionable plan for how to quarantine individuals if they test positive, as well as how to clean and disinfect your facility when someone tests positive for COVID. You should have an exposure tracking and communication plan to inform staff who were potentially exposed. Lastly, develop a stay-at-home plan, so employees know when it’s safe to return to work after recovering.
When your team has a defined exposure-response plan in place, everyone knows exactly what to do in the event of a positive test result, and you can minimize the risk of your workplace turning into an infection hotspot.
Step 3: Implement a Detailed Disinfection Plan
When faced with a positive COVID case at your workplace, you need to know how you plan to disinfect any potentially contaminated areas, so other employees can safely return to work as quickly as possible. While you’ll always need to thoroughly clean and disinfect any areas an infected employee was in direct contact with for an extended period of time, you can significantly expedite the COVID disinfection process merely by having an ongoing cleaning plan in place.
The reason? The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends that you clean common areas and shared space following a positive COVID diagnosis only if you don’t already have a regular cleaning and disinfection program in place. Simply by regularly cleaning and disinfecting your facility, you can minimize the risk of disease transmission at your facility while simultaneously getting your workplace back up and running sooner should a COVID exposure occur. That means if you didn’t have a detailed cleaning plan in place prior to the pandemic, now’s the time to implement one before you reopen your office.
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Whether someone tested positive at your workplace and you need to disinfect the facility, or you need help developing an ongoing disinfection program, The Cleaning Company is here to help with same-day response times. Plus, we designed our approach to deliver cleaning services that only get better with time as we get to know your building better. Call us today to discover our commitment to consistency for yourself.