If you’re a business owner, you’ve likely had to take measures to prevent the spread of Covid-19 in the workplace. And while there is positive news in regards to the availability of a vaccine, we’re likely to be dealing with the pandemic for most of this year unfortunately.
Therefore, it’s important to make sure there are precautions taken and policies in place for limiting your employee’s exposure to Covid-19 so we’re offering a bit of a refresher of the steps you can take in protecting staff as well as a reminder of new laws that have arisen in response to the coronavirus.
How to keep staff safe
First, if you have employees who can perform their duties at home (or even some duties) allow them to do so. The least amount of exposure to others an individual has, the better a workplace can avoid a positive Covid occurrence. But we know that remote work isn’t always possible, so here are some tips for keeping employees safe (more information can be found on the CDC website):
- Flexible schedules. If employees cannot perform their duties remotely, can their schedules be adjusted and/or staggered to allow for fewer employees to share space?
- Create space between employees. Ensure limited contact and as much clean air around employees as possible.
- Use partitions. If employees must interact with one another and/or customers, this added layer could help stop the transmission of respiratory droplets.
- Opening windows and doors and updating ventilation systems can help keep the virus from lingers indoors.
- Ensure proper usage of PPE/sanitation procedures. Examples of this would be correctly wearing masks as well as regular disinfecting of common areas, providing hand sanitizer, and ensuring that employees have easy access to hand washing stations.
- Make sure management provides regular PPE training, what to do if an employee develops symptoms or has a positive Covid test result (make sure you have a legal policy in place!), and that there is ample signage covering these topics in view of your staff.
- Lastly, keep up to date with new information. It seems there is a steady and fluctuating flow of information about Covid-19 and it can prove overwhelming to take it all in, but it’s important for employers to know and understand how to keep their employees safe. Regularly check local, state, and federal guidelines for any updates (and reach out to Eos HR for help understanding and/or coming up with an implementation plan!)
Recent changes to the law in response to the pandemic.
This past December, in parts one and two of our New Year, New Procedures: The Details! blog series we covered upcoming changes to state policies, including some pandemic-related. Here are a few of them:
AB 685: Covid Exposure Notice
Employers must notify their employee and report within one day if the workplace has been compromised by exposure to Covid-19. They must also provide information on the subsequent disinfection process. Multiple exposures may need to be reported to the Public Health Department.
AB1867 determines that if an employee must leave their home in order to perform their duties (therefore WFH employees are not eligible), than they are entitled to 80 hours of paid leave. This is required of employers with 500 or more employees and was created in response to the pandemic.
OSHA Covid Guidelines
OSHA Section 3205 outlines the steps to follow in reporting and handling an exposure to their employees including testing, training, and returning to work procedures.
You don’t want to have to manage a Covid exposure therefore it’s essential that employers and their staff know what measures to take in order to prevent exposures from happening in the first place. And Eos HR is here to help! We can assist with compliance procedures to ensure that your business follows necessary safety measures. We’re a team of HR professionals helping small businesses implement smart solutions to meet challenges, large or small. Schedule a free consultation today to learn more.
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