The Coronavirus (COVID-19) has instilled global fear, especially in the workplace. For those working office jobs, it can be daunting to be in close quarters with others. But how has COVID-19 impacted workers in manual labor industries, such as trucking, warehouse, agriculture, manufacturing, and construction?
While they may not be frontline workers, their work is integral to other industries’ operations. For example, manufacturers might make boxes for supplies, such as food and medicine. Other manufacturers create parts for aircraft carriers and submarines. Construction workers might work on roads or new buildings that help the economy flourish. Agriculture workers provide food supplies. Implementing safe work environment policies and procedures can enhance the defense against COVID-19 in the workplace.
Here are a few best practices for workplace safety.
Stagger start times to reduce contact. Modifying start times to reduce contact with other employees can assist in decreasing exposure. Have employees wait in their vehicles before a shift instead of congesting the time clock area. Remaining at a specific workstation unless needed elsewhere can also reduce traffic through the workplace.
Practice personal hygiene. It might seem like stating the obvious but practicing proper handwashing and other healthy hygienic routines can help prevent the spread of illness in the workplace. Some employees may change clothes or shower, if the option is available, before leaving the workplace to decrease the chances of bringing any exposure risk to their homes.
Utilizing and proper handling of personal protective equipment (PPE). Wearing a mask is one of the best ways to reduce the spread of illness. Ensuring the mask is worn properly also increases the chances of not spreading illness. Wiping down equipment after each use and implementing regular cleaning of PPE (i.e., washing cloth face masks) will aid in decreasing the exposure of illness.
Incorporating formal company policies regarding these best practices can assist in enforcing them in the workplace. If you don’t have these policies and procedures already in place or would like to have an HR professional review your employee handbook for improvements, please contact Harbor America. Our safety and risk management team can also evaluate and mitigate workplace risks, as well as provide resources and support for implementing solutions for your business. Whatever you may need, Harbor America is your select PEO partner in developing a safer work environment.
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