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Ways to Limit Exposure to COVID-19 in the Workplace (with posters from OSHA)

These last few months may have been some of the most challenging you have ever faced as an employer. Not only has this pandemic caused financial difficulties for many businesses and individuals, it has also forced us to question the ways in which we take responsibility for the safety of ourselves and others. As the restrictions on business operations begin to lift here in Florida, it is important to consider the steps you can take to make, and keep, your workplace a safe and healthy environment for everyone.

The first step you can take to ensure your workplace will stay safe is creating a plan that specifies how your business will deal with infectious disease. The plan you make to limit exposure to COVID-19 will look different for your workplace than for others, based on your industry. This is because every environment and industry has its own particular dangers and risks of exposure. (OSHA has guidelines on where your type of business is rated in terms of hazard.) Most of us are in workplaces that are classified low to medium hazard. This means that we are in work environments where we do not expect to regularly come into contact with people who are knowingly infected with COVID-19. This knowledge will dictate the types of measures you put in place to promote safety.

For all employees:

For your employees, you want to add to the general public guidelines to:

  1. Train workers on the signs and symptoms

  2. Setup policies and procedures for employees’ duties to limit potential Covid-19 exposures and provide in writing to employees.

  3. Beginning of the day

  4. During the shift

  5. End of shift

  6. End of the day

  7. Encourage the importance of staying home if they are sick

  8. Take the temperature of each employee when they report for work each day

  9. Provide employees with personal protective equipment (PPE) of masks, and gloves.

  10. Establish personal cleaning workstations at each location.

  11. Report any safety and health concerns

For employees on construction projects:

On Construction projects, you will want to take further protective actions:

  1. Others on the jobsite:

  2. As much as possible, limit the number of subcontractors working on the jobsite when your employees are working.

  3. Recognize the symptoms of Covid-19 and report any concerns

  4. Housekeeping

  5. Clean and disinfect portable toilets regularly

  6. Disinfect frequently touch items (work truck interiors, door pulls, toilet seats, etc.) regularly.

  7. Hygiene

  8. Frequently clean hands by either:

  9. Wash hands with soap and water for at least 20 seconds,

  10. Use 60%+ alcohol-based hand sanitizer and rub hands until dry

  11. Alternatives to shaking hands upon entry

  12. Cover coughs and sneezes – into a tissue or their elbow.

  13. Setup tasks that allow employees to remain distant

  14. Stagger work schedules when able

  15. Keep employees 6 feet apart from each other