Businesses that are able to operate during this outbreak should plan to respond to varying levels of disease transmission in their community with the flexibility to refine their plans as required.
Businesses should follow the Centers for Disease Control’s recommended strategies for decreasing the spread of COVID-19 and lowering the impact in their workplace. Specifically, you must implement policies and procedures designed to protect your employees and your business while maintaining a healthy workplace environment.
To protect your employees and your business:
Actively encourage sick employees and employees with sick family members to stay home until the discontinue home isolation criteria are met.
Identify where and how workers could be exposed in the workplace. Go to OSHA’s COVID-19 webpage for more information on how to protect your workers from possible exposures.
- Sick employees who appear to have symptoms should be separated from other employees and sent home immediately.
- If an employee or one of his or her family members is confirmed to have an infection, inform your other employees of their possible exposure while maintaining confidentiality as required by the American with Disabilities Act.
- For employees who may have been exposed to a co-worker, refer them to CDC guidance for how to conduct a risk assessment of their potential exposure.
Educate your employees on the CDC’s steps to protecting themselves and other people.
- Strictly, follow OSHA requirements for maintaining a safe workplace, instructing your employees on clean hand hygiene and cough and sneeze etiquette.
- Make sure to provide adequate supplies of soap, water, and hand sanitizers.
- Follow the CDC cleaning and disinfection recommendations to clean and disinfect frequently touched surfaces and objects.
- Practice social distancing by avoiding gatherings of more than ten people and keeping a distance of at least six feet between people, which may include encouraging more telework, flexible work hours, and conducting virtual meetings.
- Ensure your sick leave policies are flexible enough to accommodate the situation and that your employees are aware of the policies.
- Have a plan to deal with increased employee absenteeism, including cross-training employees to perform critical functions.
To ensure the successful implementation of these policies and procedures, gather your staff to prepare a plan that includes the assignment of roles and responsibilities. FEMA has a website that offers tabletop planning exercises that simulate potential scenarios you and your staff may encounter. It’s an effective way to ensure everyone is on board with this most critical initiative.
For more information on recommended strategies, go to CDC’s Guidance for Businesses and Employers.
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