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Employer’s Guide: Best Practices for Returning to Work Safely During COVID-19

Posted Feb 24th, 2021 in Media, General, Insurance Tips, Commercial Insurance, Did You Know?, In the News

As a business owner in Ontario, you probably feel overwhelmed with how often you’ve had to adapt over the past year. As businesses are starting to open, we’re providing a list of best practices to help prevent the spread of COVID-19 in the workplace.

Best Practices for Returning to Work Safely During COVID-19, Youngs Insurance, Ontario

Parts of Ontario have moved into zones where businesses can begin to reopen which means having employees and/or clients back in the workplace. As a business owner, you have a duty to provide a safe and healthy workplace even though we are still battling the COVID-19 pandemic. That’s why we’ve shared helpful best practices for returning to work safely during COVID-19.

Returning to the Workplace Safely During COVID-19 – Our Six Best Tips!

#1 Training and Communications

You must consider how you will inform employees regarding your return-to-work plan. You should communicate all procedures with employees prior to them returning to the workplace, so they are informed and know what to expect. One of the most important things to communicate to your employees is that you will continue to adapt and make changes to the plan as necessary.

Signage throughout the workplace is very valuable as it ensures employees understand their obligations and it acts as a reminder for everyone. In addition, it would be beneficial to provide training on new workplace expectations in terms of sanitizing, physical distancing, use of personal protective equipment (PPE), etc.

#2 Sanitizing the Workplace

Before employees return to work, ensure thorough cleaning of the workplace has been completed and advise employees this has been done. Once employees have returned, you may want to consider adapting the cleaning schedule to allow for additional cleanings. If you’re providing hand sanitizer and disinfectant wipes to employees ensure they are either at each station or easily accessible.

#3 Personal Protective Equipment (PPE)

It is important that your return-to-work plan clearly communicates your position on PPE and whether employees are expected to wear PPE and if it will be provided for them.

#4 Change in Shifts and Work Hours

Determine if your operating hours will resume as normal or if you plan on making changes. You might want to consider staggering start times to reduce the number of employees working in the building at the same time or have a skeleton schedule.

#5 Entry and Exit Points

If employees use third-party access points to enter the workplace, you might want to consider communicating with the landlord to determine what safety measures have been put in place and then ensure your employees are aware of them.

#6 Visitors

Once you are open for business you must consider how visitors will be received. Ensure you have protocols in place for clients and customers. You must also consider protocols for delivery people and other visitors.

As Ontario gradually reopens, business owners must take responsible steps to ensure a safe and healthy workplace. The risk of a workplace outbreak increases if proper preventative measures are not in place. For additional resources to prevent COVID-19 in the workplace, you can visit the Government of Ontario’s website.

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