WEDNESDAY, APRIL 15, 2020
Preventative action toward stemming the COVID-19 (coronavirus) spread has taken over the world, including your business. You and your employees (who make your business successful) face challenges never before experienced. So, what do you do?
As a safety professional with Alliance Insurance Group, I follow recommendations from the Occupational Safety Health Administration (OSHA). OSHA’s primary goal is the safeguarding of employees at work. OSHA suggests the following:
Develop an infectious disease preparedness and response plan. The plan may only be a page or two long, depending on the size and complexity of your business. The plan should identify the potential sources of allowing this disease to spread, such as surface tops (tables) and walking areas (floors, counter tops, furniture etc.). Look at walking/travel paths employees or clients may use. Next, list the means of avoiding or cleaning such contact points.
Examine the common means by which your business carries out its business operations. Does your business involve interaction with the general public on a frequent basis or only occasionally? If the nature of your service to your clients includes more than occasional person to person contact (face to face) then consider the following:
1) Examine the workplace; can you rearrange or remove furniture so allow face to face but distance from everyone?
2) Can you limit the areas in which your clients access your business? (This will help limit the physical area that needs to be disinfected. Improves efficiency of disinfection, reduces disinfection costs, time, etc.)
3) Can you use other means than face to face meetings to service your clients and carry one business? Putting into writing numbers 1 and 2 above is your plan. I strongly encourage you to get input from your employees, they will likely have good suggestions and observations as well. Once this writing is complete, review it with your employees.
When examining means of serving your clients, you should seriously examine remote contact tools. There are apps and other tools available for doing so. Once you have selected these tools, reach out to your clients using these tools and explain how to use them. Note: While I have a smartphone, I’m of the age that it is still smarter than me, but can navigate well and learn about effective apps with instruction. I’m pretty sure I’m not the only one digitally challenged.
Consider holding meetings via the internet. I recently received an invitation to join an electronic business meeting and all I had to do was to click “yes” to join and I was instantly and conveniently entered into the meeting. With no effort on my part all participants could see and hear the others. If you make joining meetings electronically easy for your clients, they will use this tool. There are dozens of such “E” tools, that will allow you to meet and talk with your clients safely. Stay in touch with your business clients without the touch.
Employees. Does the nature of employee work for your business support remote working? If yes, arrange it. Train/discuss with your employees how remote work will be carried out. The work rules don’t change, only the location of work effort. Remember: Your employees have families to support. If remote working can be implemented do so. Employees are your single most important and valuable asset. Take every reasonable step to protect that asset both economically and health wise. This will serve your business and clients well.
If employees come to the office to work, discuss frequent hand washing. Make hand sanitizer readily available to workers. Provide hand sanitizer and wipes for surfaces. Discuss social distancing.
Discuss and encourage “respiratory etiquette”. Cover your mouth/nose if youcough or sneeze. Face masks will/can also help.
Discourage use of phones, desks, copiers, etc. by multiple employees where possible. If multiple employee use is unavoidable, have antimicrobial wipes conveniently within reach of the device for users of common equipment.
Consult the EPA web site for find disinfectants known to kill viruses.
For more detailed information, please check out this handbook, which OSHA put together specifically for business and COVID-19: Guidance on Preparing Workplaces for COVID-19.
If you have questions on any of this material, or if you would like to discuss ways in which we can help you with your insurance, payroll, benefits, human resources, or capital access needs at this time, please contact us today.
Posted 10:06 AM
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