Late last week, the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) released updated information and a new tool to assist employers in making (re)opening decisions during the COVID-19 pandemic, especially to protect vulnerable workers. First, a Workplace Decision Tree advises employers to first review state and local orders and directions to determine the most appropriate actions that meet any unique needs and circumstances of the local community. Florida employers have guidance from the Governor’s Safe, Smart, Step by Step Plan for Florida, and your county/city may have other guidelines.
The CDC’s Decision Tree recommends to:
- Put certain Health and Safety actions in place to include: hygiene practices, handwashing, wearing face coverings, cleaning/disinfecting, social distancing, modifying business travel and training; and
- Implement ongoing monitoring, including procedures to check for signs and symptoms of employees coming to work, encourage sick employees to stay home, a procedure for sick employees, monitor updates from local employers, and monitor employee absences.
There are additional decision tree tools on Cleaning and Disinfecting for workplaces and businesses – and the steps to keep common surfaces clean and disinfected.
Second, there were also updates to the Interim Guidance for Businesses and Employers Responding to Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19), May 2020. As an employer, if your business operations were interrupted, resuming normal or phased activities presents an opportunity to update your COVID-19 preparedness, response, and control plans. All employers should implement and update as necessary a plan that:
- Is specific to your workplace,
- identifies all areas and job tasks with potential exposures to COVID-19, and
- includes control measures to eliminate or reduce such exposures.
Some of the highlights of the recommended actions to include in your plan are:
- Sick employees should follow the CDC-recommended steps. Employees should not return to work until the criteria to discontinue home isolation are met, in consultation with healthcare providers.
- Consider conducting daily in-person or virtual health checks (e.g., symptom and/or temperature screening) of employees before they enter the offices. Employers may use social distancing, barrier or partition controls, or personal protective equipment (PPE) to protect the screener.
- Conduct a thorough hazard assessment to determine if workplace hazards are present, or are likely to be present, and determine what type of controls or PPE are needed for specific job duties.
- Remind employees and customers that the CDC recommends wearing cloth face coverings in public settings where other social distancing measures are difficult to maintain.
- Maintain policies and practices for social distancing.
- Give customers, guests and visitors what they need to clean their hands and post signage to cover mouths during sneezes and coughs.
- Follow the Guidance for Cleaning and Disinfecting to develop, implement, and maintain a plan to perform regular cleanings to reduce the risk of exposure to COVID-19.
- Minimize non-essential business travel and follow recommended guidelines for essential travel
Consultstu is developing a template COVID-19 Preparedness, response, and control plan for small businesses.