Steps to Take to Help Ensure the Safety of Your Employees

The Coronavirus (COVID-19) crisis requires us all to take steps to ensure the safety of our employees. While our region is less impacted than many others, from a liability standpoint, your company should do its best to be prepared. The following was prepared by Printing Industries of America (PIA), culled from a variety of national agencies and resources.

Precautions:

  • Purchase supplies to have on hand in every meeting room and department, with extras for replenishment.
    • Hand sanitizer – 60%+ alcohol content
    • Boxes of tissues
    • Anti-bacterial wipes
  • Identify the nearest medical center equipped to handle anyone experiencing COVID-19 symptoms.
  • Designate one staff person per shift to interact with anyone who is feeling unwell, to keep the spread down.
  • Make a kit for the designated staff person(s) to use.
    • Gloves
    • Masks
    • Thermometer
    • Alcohol swabs
    • Hand Sanitizer/wipes
  • Create signage/slides to direct people what to do in case they start to show symptoms/who to see/etc.
  • Create CDC slipsheets on symptoms/prevention.
  • Create a communication plan for staff.

If you are hosting a public event:

  • Designate an area away from the rest of the main participants to isolate anyone who comes to registration and says they aren’t feeling well.
  • Make an announcement each day about the protocol.
  • Hand out CDC slipsheets and have out on the reg desk.
  • All staff should avoid touching any participants and should make sure to hand wash/use sanitizer frequently.
  • Openly communicate any situations to attendees.

Sample communication guidelines for staff:

  • Do not offer any personal opinions on the cause, spread or outcome of the virus, or make presumptive statements, verbally or in writing, like “Your chances of getting COVID-19 are very low.” There is currently no accurate prediction as to what extent the virus will continue to spread. Making statements like these put your organization at risk for liability.
  • Provide guidance if staff asks about HR policies, but do not advise in a way that falls out of your area of expertise. Direct people to the World Health Organization (WHO) and the Center for Disease Control (CDC) for information. These are the only two authorities on the disease we should be recommending.
  • Reference the WHO and CDC when talking about symptoms, prevention and containment. For example, “According to the CDC, the best forms of preventing the spread of COVID-19 are…” and cite references.
  • Do not make light of the situation. While the situation may not have reached you, it is very real for many people across the nation. Be compassionate to others who are experiencing fear.

For additional support for questions related to HR, contact PIA HR Director, Adriane Harrison.

In the coming days, I will follow-up with additional insights on the potential economic impact and recommended response to the crisis. For questions related to the economy, contact David Wilaj or Ron Davis.