Redefining Workplace Safety amid the COVID-19 Pandemic

Safety has always been an important concern for workplaces. However, the persistence of the COVID-19 pandemic has pushed it to the very forefront of business priorities. Businesses globally have had to reassess what it means to keep their offices a safe place.

As the world moves through 2021 with vaccinerolloutsand new COVID-19 variants, members of upper management must develop adequate safety measures. These measures should keep general safety in mind, with particular attention on mitigating virus spread.

What COVID-19 Has and Has Not Changed

The pandemic has shuffled the safety priorities of individuals and, inevitably, of organizations. While there are numerous changes, there are also security concerns that should still not be overlooked.

Standard Security Measures

Amidst the chaos brought on by the pandemic, some safety concerns remain relevant no matter the time. A solid security system is of utmost importance regardless of the virus.

To ensure workplace safety, have security alarms and sturdy locks installed in office premises. Additionally, internal security should be supported by external measures. Secure the building with analuminum fenceand gates that keep unauthorized persons away from the area.

Proper security measures are the first step in ensuring workplace safety.

Workers’ COVID-19 Concerns

Because of COVID-19, workplace safety is not limited to security measures and general hygiene anymore. Workers are now also paying particular attention to how a company promotes overall health through its practices.

Workplace solutions provider Envoy reports that 73% of workers are concerned about their health and safety upon return to the workplace. Now, employees want to know if their employers are enacting preventive protocols that tackle the virus from various angles.

Human resource solutions company Oasis held a survey for business leaders involved in different industries in the United States. It revealed that the priority of company leaders has shifted from hiring skilled workersto workplace safetydue to the virus. This reveals that both employers and employees share these concerns.

For the workplace, begin with the following questions to see if the current system is sufficient for staff size and work arrangements:

Does your workplace layout enable physical distancing?

How is the ventilation in your building?

Do you have a system to track daily foot traffic and a database to contact employees in the event of an exposure?

How stringent are your sanitation practices?

Importance of Cleanliness and Sanitation in Safety

The overwhelming emphasis on sanitation may be the biggest change caused by the COVID-19 crisis. When employers reassess their safety measures, many of the necessary adjustments are geared towards maintaining the cleanliness of office premises at all times. This is because despite the virus’s prevalence today, simple hygienic practices can eliminate it.

During this time and after COVID-19, workplaces should follow strict protocols. This means retaining physical distancing instructions, providing face masks for on-site employees, and performing regular temperature checks at entry and exit points, among other guidelines.

Employers must also keep in step with the goings-on and comply with thelatest advisoriesfrom their state’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration.

Safety Is Everyone’s Responsibility

One important factor in maintaining a safe workplace is the compliance of every party involved-from upper management to employees. Appropriate measures are vital for the resumption of office operations, but discipline is equally important.

Aside from stringent sanitation practices, the whole company body must be one in upholding agreed-upon practices. It is good to note that a workplace’s COVID-19 protocols are only as good as those who practice them.

When enforcing preventive protocols in the workplace, HR representatives should emphasize the involvement of each part of the team in keeping everyone safe. Safety guidelines should not be presented simply as rules but as productive practices to protect each other.

Maintaining Open Communication

In addition to emphasizing every team member’s role in workplace safety, management must also keep an open line of communication towards employees. Communication is key in making protocols and strategies work, as it enables quick response should on-site workers notice gaps in protocols.

An unpredictable season such as the current pandemic situation necessitates upper management that also empathizes with employee concerns. Different worries and problems can come up during such a time, so take time to listen to what employees have to say.

Employees who know they are being heard and listened to are also more encouraged to report to work. A practiced open-door policy promotes safety, builds team morale, and improves employee retention.

By realigning workplace safety standards towards COVID-19 prevention and maintaining communication in the company, workplaces can function during this time successfully.