Pinnacol Assurance does just one thing and does it better than anyone: provide caring workers’ compensation protection to Colorado employers and employees.
While every Southern Colorado business is making changes to reopen safely, there’s no single approach that will work for everyone. The evolving nature of the pandemic means employers must stay flexible and focused.
“This will be a continuous improvement process — not something where you set up your plan, open your doors and you’re ready to go,” says Jon Vonder Haar, safety consultant at Pinnacol. “It will be constantly evolving. Guidance may change based on the information coming in.”
Here are four questions to ask when preparing your reentry strategy:
Whom will the reopening impact?
Knowing who can report to work is critical to operations planning. Start by identifying vulnerable populations, such as workers over age 65 or those who have diabetes or heart conditions. You cannot compel these employees to return to on-site work, and you must continue to provide accommodations for them to work from home.
Flexible schedules or remote work opportunities can help employees with eldercare or childcare responsibilities and those who have a vulnerable individual in their household.
Where will the reopening occur?
Make your physical space a healthy environment where your team can thrive. Take actions like checking HVAC and water services and increasing fresh air with ventilation, disinfecting work areas, and introducing symptom monitoring and temperature screening before shifts. Physical barriers can help enforce social distancing. To protect customers, ask visitors to phone or text the receptionist from their cars when they arrive and to wait to be contacted before they enter the office.
When will the reopening happen?
“So much depends on the scope of the business’s operation,” notes Tom Jensen, OHST and senior safety consultant at Pinnacol. “Are they a small retailer with 1,000 square feet of space where everyone does the same job, or are they a larger business with multiple operations and types of work?”
You may need to set new hours of operation if you lack the staff to maintain your old hours. Staggered starts and shifts can reduce the number of employees on-site at any given time. Reduce peak traffic in and out of the facility by setting off-peak office hours, such as after 5 p.m. or before 8 a.m. This is one way to offer scheduling flexibility to vulnerable workers or those with a vulnerable person in the household.
How will you lead the reopening?
Determining how to implement changes may be the most challenging aspect for many businesses. “Give different things a try and see what works. As mentioned earlier, this is a continuous improvement process,” Vonder Haar says.
To promote the health and safety of employees, employers should consult the latest public health order. Recommended activities include appointing a workplace coordinator, posting signage promoting good hygiene, and ordering hard-to-find items like thermometers and hand sanitizer right away.
Find more resources to help you keep employees safe and schedule a free virtual safety consultation at covid.pinnacol.com.
— This branded content advertisement was paid for by Pinnacol Assurance.