Depending on the “expert” providing their insight via an article or appearance on a news network, businesses are either ready to resume operations or a long way from turning their “closed” signs on their doors to “open.” Even those deemed essential are encouraged, if not ordered, to follow specific safety measures that seem to change day by day, headline after headline.
Workers are gradually returning to their day-to-day professional routines. Curves have shown signs of flattening and the number of people afflicted with the coronavirus drop. Yet, many lack the assurance that they will be safe in their workplace, particularly in the face of a possible “second wave.”
A Post-pandemic Plan to Protect the Well-Being of Workers
“A Safe and Just Return to Work” is the title of a report recently released by The National Council for Occupational Safety and Health. The document provides extensive guidelines that help ensure not only safety in work participation but also ways to provide compensation for those who suffer illnesses and injuries. Contributors to the report ranged from attorneys to industrial hygienists.
What they refer to as “elements” to ensure a safe return to workplaces includes:
- Health and safety protections with input by all parties that are effective, stringent, and, most important, enforced
- Organized and detail-driven screening, testing, contact tracing, and, if necessary, isolation
- Job protection and compensation for those able and not able to work
Proactive steps in what is currently a “reactive” environment can help facilitate safe work settings. Employers welcoming back staff must take steps to build and maintain confidence that the highest standards of safety are the rule, not the exception. Their plans should not be created in a vacuum as workers should have a say in procedures and policies to ensure their well-being.