Simple Steps to Implement Safety Procedures and Reduce Employee Risk

By Chip Phillips on May 1, 2020
Tags: Business Operations, COVID-19 Resources, Safety

Across businesses and communities everywhere, new guidelines and protocols are rolling out in an effort to keep people safe. But keeping up with the latest recommendations and ensuring that your team is practicing these precautions can be challenging. Making sure your team follows safety procedures is critical to reducing employee risk during the coronavirus pandemic. 

Know Your Company’s Risks and Plan to Address Them

While there are baseline recommendations for hygiene and sanitizing spaces, the level of risk and ways to mitigate them will vary across organizations, depending on several factors. 

Businesses with employees who can work remotely are going to face different risks than companies who work with the public. This is especially true for those with customers and employees from high risk groups and those in an environment where strict physical distancing is not always possible.

To reduce these risks, establish a plan to protect your employees and customers. Start by identifying the levels of exposure for your team and where to find the applicable recommendations:

There may be additional guidelines and protocols based on your state and even county or city.

(Over) Communicate Your Plans and Policies

Once you establish policies based on the level of employee risk, it is important to document and distribute them. Ideally, this should be done through a combination of methods: 

It’s also helpful to let customers know in advance what to expect when they encounter your staff. Workplace signage and digital advertising (emails, website banners, etc.) or your regular channels of communication (email, phone, or SMS) are great ways to speak directly to the people you serve. Customers will appreciate that you are prioritizing the safety of your team and community. 

Implement Processes that Keep Your Team Safe

After formal policies are distributed to your team, it is vital to ensure everyone is following these procedures. Checklists, employee health screenings, and waivers are great ways to share and enforce new precautions to protect your staff and customers. 

  • Daily cleaning and sanitizing routines can include checklists for tasks, worksite maps as reference, means to capture images and verify sanitized spaces, and signature spaces for both employee and manager approval.
  • Employee health screenings can be conducted by a set of designated staff members to share guidelines and collect health information for multiple employees in one place. This is often done at a workplace entrance or a single check-in station, where PPE can also be provided and proper usage verified.
  • Release forms and waivers can be provided to employees to acknowledge understanding of risks and steps they need to take to avoid them. 
  • Consider inspections during working hours and spot checks to make sure team members are adhering to the policies and protocols they agreed to.

These methods can also protect you and your business in the event you need to provide documentation that an employee has completed a checklist, signed a waiver, or participated in an employee health screening.

Keeping team members informed of changing procedures and ensuring they follow best practices will help you reduce employee risk and promote the safety of your team and customers.