5 safety protocols all businesses should implement

As restrictions are gradually eased and businesses prepare to reopen offices, staying diligent and informed about workplace safety remains crucial for controlling the spread of COVID-19. Even states in advanced reopening phases are maintaining social distancing rules and requiring face coverings in public and shared spaces and on public transportation. Whether or not your city is entering a new phase, the summer-to-fall transition is a good time to renew and refresh best habits, particularly if your city is entering a new phase of reopening. With that in mind, here is a checklist summarizing 5 Safety Protocols for offices and businesses to keep in mind as they prepare to open their doors once again.

1. Provide Face Masks

The importance of face masks cannot be overstated. Keeping PPE supplies on hand for staff and visitors not only demonstrates care for their wellbeing, but is an effective safety measure for everyone. Ordering face masks and sanitizer in bulk enables you to keep plenty of equipment on hand for employees and customers. 

2. Increase Distance Between Employees

If your office has an open floor plan, consider installing plexiglass dividers and pushing desks six feet apart at minimum. Place floor decals marking six feet of distance in communal areas or where lines may form (e.g. near restrooms and elevators). If possible, keep windows open for fresh air ventilation throughout the day.

3. Rotate schedules

One way to make physical distancing significantly easier is to institute rotating shifts for employees. This proactive measure minimizes not only the sharing of equipment, but of air.

4.Provide Daily Temperature checks

At this point, employees likely know better than to come into work feeling sick. Nevertheless, health assessments are a good precaution and are mandatory in many states. Use contactless thermometers to check employee temperatures upon arrival to the workplace.

5. Provide Hygiene Supplies and Institute Routine Cleanings

In addition to soap and paper towels at sinks, set up hand sanitizer stations throughout the office. According to CDC guidelines, hand sanitizer should contain 60% or more alcohol. Provide cleaning supplies for shared surfaces and objects. Encourage staff to disinfect shared surfaces before and after use and to wash hands frequently .

Surface Cleaning

Clean and disinfect the workplace at least every day, with multiple cleanings throughout the day when possible. This includes cleaning and disinfecting shared objects (e.g. tools, registers) and high transit areas (e.g. restrooms, common areas) multiple times per day. Keep a cleaning log that lists the date, time, and scope of cleaning for each area. Have a plan for cleaning, disinfection, and contact tracing in the event of a positive COVID-19 case.

Finally, stay informed.

Follow public health messages from reliable sources like your State Health Department or the CDC, and implement good personal and public health practices to prevent the spread of COVID-19. Don't rush to reopen, and allow workers to work remote if they feel unsafe. Post signs to remind personnel to follow proper hygiene, social distancing rules, appropriate use of PPE, and cleaning and disinfecting procedures. Train all personnel on procedures and frequently communicate safety guidelines. Nominate an office contact tracer to maintain a log of guests and contact information. Here in New York, it's been encouraging to see people of all ages adhere to guidelines, wearing masks indoors and out and protecting each other. But that doesn’t mean it’s time to let our guard down. No matter where you are, we’re in this together - as locals, as a country, and as a global community.

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