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Critical Steps And Considerations For Returning To Work In A COVID-19 Landscape

As we enter May, counties around the world continue to battle the COVID-19 virus which has infected over 3 million people and claimed over 200 thousand deaths worldwide. While the pandemic continues to escalate in certain counties, many regions are beginning to see flattening curves, and with it, begin to re-open businesses and lessen restrictions. While industries and individuals may be eagerly anticipating a return to work, firms need to act to adequately prepare its workers and the workplace to prevent exposure during this still-active pandemic.

The latest news cycle shows that businesses are going to be subject to many expectations from the government, employees, and unions. Before re-opening a facility to its workers, a business needs to take key steps to protect workers from exposure. Workplaces may require engineered or reconfigured spaces and workflows to abide by suggested 6-foot social distancing requirements. Firms should utilize industrial hygiene and occupational health software to help manage critical PPE supplies and track employee illnesses. Many EHS software firms are leveraging mobile applications to conduct employee self-assessments to monitor worker systems and control infected worker exposure. For example, EHS software vendor Cority’s “staff exposure questionnaire” helps firms identify at-risk employees remotely and the “subsequent patient under investigation questionnaire” acts as a screening tool for detailed assessments of identified at-risk workers. If an infected worker is discovered to have been present in the worksite facilities must undergo sanitation as suggested by regulatory agencies. To help, service firms like Veolia and Arcadis are offering decontamination and sanitation services to facilities who have experienced an exposure event.

With numerous businesses scrambling to put together a back-to-work plan there are key considerations to remember. The key component of any successful procedure is the worker themselves. Workers will be worried about their health, their family’s health, and their positions. Change management will be essential through communication, training, and reassurance to keep workers on board and engaged in trying times. The COVID-19 pandemic has been a consistently shifting situation with new information arising on a weekly, if not daily basis.

Ultimately, the hardest part will be planning with sufficient agility since many unknowns – a resurgence of the pandemic, a second seasonal wave, longer-than-planned global recession – can threaten to topple any hastily developed plan. 

To learn more about the key actions to take for protecting workers while returning to work please see Verdantix Eleven Critical Actions To Take For Returning To Work Post COVID-19 or listen to the Verdantix webinar addressing COVID-19 with Technology.  

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