Not Back to ‘Normal’ Yet: 10 steps to Re-open Businesses Safely

As employees return back to their jobs after the coronavirus lockdowns, a coalition headed by the National Safety Council recommends employers take 10 essential actions to keep workers safe. The Safe Actions For Employee Returns (SAFER) task force identified 10 actions employers must consider and released playbooks offering in-depth recommendations for doing so safely.

Reopening businesses “will be the most nuanced and complex actions American employers will undertake in the coming months,” the NSC said. Because of that challenge, the SAFER task force – a group of experts from companies, safety organizations and government agencies – devised these 10 universal actions employers must take to re-open safely:

  1. Create a phased transition to align with risk and exposure levels.
  2. Before workers return, disinfect the workplace and make physical alterations needed for physical distancing.
  3. Develop a health status screening process for all employees.
  4. Create a plan to handle sick workers and encourage safe behaviors for good hygiene and infection control.
  5. Follow proper contact tracing steps if workers get sick to curb the spread of the coronavirus.
  6. Mental health. Support mental and emotional health of workers by sharing resources and policies.
  7. Train leaders and supervisors on fundamentals of safety – such as risk assessment and hazard recognition – and on impacts of the coronavirus on mental health and well-being as workers will feel the effects long after it’s over.
  8. Engagement plan. Notify workers in advance of the return to work, and consider categorizing workers into groups based on job roles, bringing back one group at a time.
  9. Develop a communications plan to be transparent with workers on the return-to-work process.
  10. Outline the main factors your organization is using as guidance to provide a simple structure to the extremely complex return-to-work decision.