Right now, our world is going through some unprecedented changes. We are facing a health crisis, and consequently, many companies are making new decisions about the ways they do business. If you own a contractor company, you cannot simply choose to work from home or interact with clients online. As your work requires multiple people working together in a fixed location, it is up to you to protect your employees and make sure they feel safe. In times of stress, people need to feel like they can look to a leader for reassurance, and this is the perfect opportunity for you to step up to the plate.
There are many conflicting reports about the dangers of COVID-19 online, and therefore your employees may be operating from different knowledge bases and anxiety levels. As the leader of your company, you are in a position to communicate accurate and current information to your employees and ensure that everyone has the same understanding of the present situation.
If you haven’t already, schedule a company-wide meeting to discuss the coronavirus. This meeting should be held online if possible, to avoid a large gathering of people. In this meeting:
- Go over the present facts of the coronavirus, and ask your employees if they have any questions about the virus, how it spreads, or its effects. According to current data (April 4, 2020) from the Johns Hopkins University Coronavirus Resource Center, the coronavirus is spread in droplets that are released when an infected person coughs or sneezes. The main symptoms are coughing, fever, and shortness of breath. ALWAYS use a medical or university site, or the CDC website, as a source for your information regarding the virus.
- Discuss the use of face masks. There is currently conflicting data surrounding the effectiveness of face masks. As of April 4, 2020, the CDC has suggested that all people wear face masks in public, but there is not a necessary mandate in place. As an employer, you can choose whether or not to make masks a job site requirement or to let each employee decide for himself or herself.
- Go over the principles of social distancing, and explain what this means on the job. Employees should maintain a distance of approximately 6 feet between one another unless a task requires them to be closer. Employees should refrain from shaking hands or any other kind of physical contact.
- Go over the rules of proper handwashing — warm water and soap for 20 seconds — and tell employees to use hand sanitizer when access to running water is not available. Tell employees whether you have hand sanitizer available at job sites, or if they need to purchase their own.
- Discuss any changes to your work schedule, opening hours, or services you are offering to clients.
- Reassure your employees that you are committed to their health and safety, and tell them to stay home if they suspect that they are ill.
- After the meeting, be available for one-on-one meetings if any employees have individual questions or concerns regarding the coronavirus.
Keeping Up to Date with Certification Requirements
If you have an account with a certification service, such as Avetta® or ISNetworld®, you may be asked by your hiring clients to update your safety programs. Many clients are now requiring contractors to include new programs to ensure that all contractor employees abide by a standard operating procedure in times of public health crises. A few safety programs we can provide to your company are:
- Respiratory Protection
- Personal Protection Equipment (PPE)
- Pandemic Preparedness
Our experienced safety consultant team can assist you in crafting customized safety programs to suit your clients’ needs. By communicating to your clients that you have an action plan in times of crisis, such as our current coronavirus crisis, they will feel more secure in their decision to work with you.
Remember, we are all responsible for protecting one another in these uncertain times. Give us a call today for help writing your new health and safety programs.