Essential Worker Safety and Support: Keeping Employees Safe

Essential workers who must return to in-person jobs are at higher risk of contracting COVID-19 due to increased contact with others. Scientific studies have shown that a large percentage of COVID-19 cases were likely contracted at work. Therefore, teleworking is the safest option, especially for employees that belong to a high risk group for COVID-19, but it is not always possible. If employees must return to in-person employment, follow these recommendations to reduce the risk of COVID-19 spread in the workplace.

What your EMPLOYER can do to protect YOU while at work:
SUGGESTED WORKPLACE MANDATES
✓ IMPLEMENT DAILY HEALTH SCREENINGS
Have employees take their temperature and report if they are having symptoms before arriving at work each day. If they do report symptoms, have them stay home.
✓ IMPLEMENT PHYSICAL DISTANCING PROTOCOLS
Employers may add stickers or markings on the floor to indicate 6 feet separation.
Space out workspaces / work areas by 6 feet.
✓ IMPLEMENT SANITIZING PROTOCOLS
Employers may install hand sanitizing / washing stations, and increase workplace sanitizing practices.
✓ IMPLEMENT TESTING MANDATES 
If an employee has been exposed to COVID-19, or are showing symptoms of the virus, mandate that they get tested (at least 4-5 days after their exposure).
✓ PROVIDE FACE COVERINGS FOR EMPLOYEES
Employees may have difficulty obtaining face coverings. It is especially important to provide face coverings to employees whenever possible. Supplying 2-3 cloth face coverings that can be washed, instead of disposable face masks is highly recommended.
✓ MANDATE FACE COVERINGS IN THE WORKPLACE
This will ensure that employees will follow the protocol and wear a face covering while in the workplace.
If employees wear disposable masks, be sure that they are disposed of properly. 
✓ REDUCE TRAVEL
If an employees position requires travelling, consider limiting this for the time being.
PHYSICAL ENVIRONMENT
✓ INSTALL PROTECTION SCREENS, IF POSSIBLE AND RELEVANT
Installing protection screens is important if the employees have regular contact with the public.
✓ STAGGER BREAKS
Space out breaks for eating and resting so that the least amount of people are in the same area.
✓ CLOSE OFF COMMON SPACES
This will reduce congregation of multiple people, where COVID-19 is more likely to spread. 
✓ IMPROVE BUILDING VENTILATION
If possible, improving ventilation within the building will reduce the risk of COVID-19 spread while indoors. Employers may install fans, or increase outdoor air circulation.
BEHAVIOR
✓ EDUCATE EMPLOYEES ON COVID-19 PRECAUTIONS
Employers should provide employees with information about how to prevent COVID-19 at home. For daily precautions to take, please visit this link. 
✓ AVOID PERSONAL ITEM SHARING AMONGST EMPLOYEES
Whenever possible, avoid sharing items amongst employees. If this is unavoidable, ensure that the equipment and/or personal items have been properly sanitized after each use.
If you believe that your employer is not taking necessary precautions to protect employees at your place of work, you can file a complaint through the Occupational Safety and Health Administration or you may contact your county’s health department.

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