Not all businesses have the opportunity to have all employees work from home. Manufacturing, laboratory, food service and other essential services must find ways to help reduce the risk of transmission of illness within their physical locations.
We've compiled a list of best practices to help you think of protocols that you can implement in your workplace. Above all, remember to communicate often. There is no playbook that tells a business owner how to act or react in this situation. You have an obligation to ensure that the workplace is safe and to take reasonable precautions in order to protect workers.
Best Practises for Workspaces
- Implement a “no external visitors” policy.
- Mandate that essential service providers must have approval in advance and complete a VISITOR DISCLOSURE prior to being allowed inside.
- Create Signage that indicates we are “closed to visitors”. Include instructions regarding shipping/receiving or other pertinent customer information and post at all entrances and exits.
- Identify where shipping and receiving should be picked up/dropped off. All packages should be sanitized prior to coming into company property. This includes mail. A requirement for signatures should be waived whenever possible.
- Provide options for people using public transit.
- If travel is required during the workday, only 1 employee per vehicle.
- Use Slack or Skype for Business to reduce in-person conversations.
- Stagger employee lunch breaks.
- Re-configure the lunchroom to create space between individuals. For example, remove chairs from tables.
- Anyone who is returning from out-of-country travel must remain out of the office and self-quarantine for 14 days.
- Anyone who has an individual within their household who is returning from out-of-country travel must disclose it and may be required to remain out of the office for 14 days.
- If an employee is sick with any type of cold or flu symptoms, they are required to stay home until they are symptom-free. If they suspect that they may have contracted the virus, suggest that they reach out to www.ontario.ca/coronavirus for an online assessment.
- If an employee’s family member is sick with cold or flu symptoms, we ask them to use common sense judgment as well as disclose this situation prior to coming into the office.
- Create an increased cleaning schedule in the office.
- Leave doors open whenever possible (lunchroom, offices, etc).
- Implement daily safety measures such as:
- Taking and recording employee temperatures 2-3x daily,
- Mandatory hand sanitizing (including all handheld items such as bags and phones) upon arrival, lunch, and exit of the building
- Eliminating shared keyboards, POS systems, workstations, and tools.
- Additional sanitization of items where there are multiple persons using the equipment.
- If employees’ jobs require them to interact with the public, create barriers such as counters, desks or screens that separate the employee from the public by 2 meters. Also, provide them with hand sanitizer and disinfectant wipes to frequently disinfect surfaces touched by the public.
- Separate workgroups. Can field staff be separated from admin staff?
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