Employers face many considerations when restarting operations and reopening businesses after the unprecedented COVID-19 pandemic. In planning for the return to full operations, employers will need to take steps to avoid new workers’ compensation issues.
First and foremost, employers will need to conduct additional safety training. It may be appropriate for an employer to conduct virtual safety training prior to returning employees to the workplace. Given that social distancing practices may have altered workspaces, employees may require additional training on how to safely perform their duties. Employers should also consider increasing the frequency of safety training and performing training consistent with social distancing recommendations.
Secondly, employees may have been away from the workplace for an extended period of time and may not be as attentive to avoiding injuries. Employers will need to reiterate the need for a safe workplace. Everyone’s focus may be on cleanliness, but employees will also need to focus on avoiding physical injuries.
Further, attention should be given to evaluating operations. For instance, operations may be running faster or slower in response to supply chain disruptions. Focus should be given to evaluating what areas of the workplace may be susceptible to workplace injuries. With an increase in operations, employers may need to hire new employees who will not be familiar with processes. In addition to following CDC and OSHA recommendations, employers can implement operations that will reduce risk of employee injuries.
There is no question that the pandemic has been disruptive. Employers should use this disruption to re-evaluate workplace operations and improve employee safety.
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