As more businesses resume office work or adopt a hybrid work approach, COVID-19 safety at work becomes of utmost importance.
Businesses must inform everybody about any changes in the health and safety regulations. Additionally, workers should be empowered to report any misconduct in following these.
For this, offices need a centralised platform where employees can view new announcements including new positive cases in the office and quarantine orders.
Here, we will explore how to ensure important safety at work announcements during the pandemic reach all employees, and what information to include. Plus a few tips on empowering communication.
Put rules in place
Companies must inform all office-based employees of the new safety at work practices. They should display these across multiple platforms and regularly revisit and emphasise the outlined precautions.
For more information on health and safety in the workplace during this time, give this WHO article a read.
Use a digital platform
Consider investing in and using a digital platform for relevant announcements. Going digital will ensure that employees receive announcements in real-time and can access them from anywhere. These announcements can for example include:
- Any positive cases in the office
- Employees that need to quarantine
- Important protective measures to be adhered to
- Communal, high-risk areas to be avoided
Make sure sick people stay at home
Any employees feeling sick should report their symptoms to their immediate manager. They should stay at home until they test negative for the virus. Upon a positive test result it should be shared as an announcement to the rest of the company to ensure that any people in contact with the person in focus will get tested, and self-quarantine.
Implement protective measures
Offices should invest in protective equipment such as face masks, gloves, and protective screens as needed. Employees must be able to report any PPE shortages and malfunctions.
Any positive cases in the office will require a number of employees to quarantine. Make sure to keep track of the number and duration of quarantining individuals affected. This doesn't only help you understand how safe your work environment is, but will also make your employees feel taken care of in relation to their health.
Identify high-risk areas in the workplace
Identify high-risk areas and limit the number of people allowed access. Announce or adjust these restrictions in a space that you know all the employees check to ensure organisation wide compliance. And also send the information via email to everybody.
It is important to educate your employees on how they can protect themselves from the virus, when and where they should report any compliances, and insecurities relating the work environment and how well it's being kept safe. Share the guidelines to keep employees informed, prepared and ready to come back to work at the office.
Enable staff to report violations
Make sure that there is an anonymous portal made available where employees can report any safety violations they might witness. By allowing anonymous reporting you are telling your people that any and all reports relating COVID-19 violations are welcome, and that they don't need to fear retaliation if they report a colleague who broke the guidelines set in place.
Empower your employees
Encourage employees to come forward regarding any contraventions. Your employees are the best sensors in knowing when something isn't up to par, and will see negligent behaviour faster. To keep a safe and healthy work environment you need their input, and understanding that "we are all in this together". After all, one negligent employee places many at risk!
Emphasise that safety is everyone’s responsibility
No pandemic precautions will be successful if there isn’t collective employee buy-in! Safety isn't just the safety team's responsibility. It's everyones. And this has never been more true than in a pandemic.
Empower your staff to anonymously report violations. Safety at work regulations need to be updated in the context of COVID-19. Companies must remain on top of protective measures, positive cases, quarantining individuals, and regulation contraventions. Use announcements to ensure that everyone is up to date with what is happening in the workplace.
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