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Building Your CalOSHA COVID-19 Prevention Program

Building Your CalOSHA COVID-19 Prevention Program

Developing and maintaining a high-quality OSHA compliant safety program was critically important for businesses even before the COVID-19 global pandemic outbreak. Now companies need to have a system of protection in place that is as effective as possible to protect both clients and employees. This will serve to help protect general health and safety, work to save your business money on insurance premiums, and protect it from the potential of costly penalties. Here are the factors that your company needs to keep in mind as you move to build a successful COVID-19 prevention plan and protect your business during these uncertain times. 

Creating Your COVID-19 Prevention Program

A prevention program is meant to outline specific protocols and control measures that are put into place to protect employees and to teach employees how to protect one another and any clients they may come into contact with. COVID-19 prevention programs should also describe how to prepare for changes in commerce patterns, interrupted supply and delivery, and the potentially large number of absences that will occur if an employee or an employee’s family ends up being affected by the virus.

Related: 2021 Covid-19 Update: Protecting Workers Safety and Job Security

Modify Any Existing Plans

As a business owner, you should already have several different health and safety protocols put in place to protect yourself and your employees. Suppose you haven’t done so already since the pandemic began--in that case, it’s time to update, modify, and expand your protocols to better prevent a major impact on your business and operations.

Implementation or Update of Basic Prevention Measures

The COVID-19 virus spreads primarily from person-to-person interaction or proximity to one another (within approximately six feet). This is due to the projection of respiratory droplets produced when an infected person coughs or sneezes. These droplets can potentially land in the noses and mouths of people nearby, and it’s also possible for these droplets to be inhaled into people's lungs. Transmission may also be achieved by handling objects or touching surfaces with the virus on them, then touching your mouth, nose, or eyes. While this is not the primary mode of disease transmission, it is still a possibility that prevention plans should address seriously. Here are some of the basic prevention measures that businesses should consider implementing immediately if they have not already done so:

  • Encourage frequent hand washing.
  • Encourage employees to remain at home if they feel sick and allow employees to work remotely if at all possible.
  • Have employees self-monitor for common signs and symptoms of COVID-19.
  • Require all employees and customers to wear masks within the establishment and encourage social distancing of at least six feet.
  • Provide any additional personal protective equipment (PPE) that staff may require.
  • Provide any additional training that may be needed,
  • Set up protective barriers in places where employees or customers have to interact closely with one another (such as check-out stands).
  • Encourage basic respiratory etiquette by covering coughs and sneezes.
  • Have hand sanitizer stations available for employee use (they should be alcohol-based with at least 60% alcohol for effective sanitation).
  • Conduct routine cleaning and sanitation of objects and surfaces.

Are you looking to improve your business by providing your employees with top-quality training opportunities? Reach out to Arrow Up to learn about their expert services and how they can help. 

Implementation or Update of Preparedness and Response Plan 

A medical mask and latex gloves.

Businesses must have a preparedness and response plan ready to enact should an employee (or multiple employees) contract the virus, along with prevention measures. Here are some of the basic preparedness and response tactics that businesses should consider utilizing:

  • Identify and isolate potentially infected individuals as quickly as possible to protect other staff and customers from exposure.
  • Create isolation areas for employees with suspected COVID-19 cases to work, and restrict the number of individuals permitted to enter and leave those isolation areas.
  • Have a reporting system in place for employees who are experiencing COVID-19 symptoms. 
  • Ensure that your sick leave policies comply with public health guidelines and are flexible and able to accommodate employees’ health needs. Also, be sure that all employees are aware of these policies.
  • Don’t require a doctor’s or healthcare note from sick employees, as medical facilities and healthcare providers are already likely to be extremely busy during the pandemic.
  • Allow employees to remain at home or work remotely (if possible) if they have to care for a sick family member.
  • Be prepared to contact and work with outside agencies to provide temporary or contract workers if you become understaffed due to ill employees.  

Related: Cal/OSHA Emergency Workplace COVID-19 Regulation: What It Really Means

Addendums for Housing and Transportation

If your business provides employees with housing or transportation services, prepare to add appropriate addendums in order to promote optimal health and safety. Here are some examples of necessary measures that should be taken to reduce the risk of COVID-19 exposure:

Housing

  • Assign housing based on the following priorities (in order):
    • Persons who already live together outside of work.
    • Persons who are working on the same crew or worksite.
    • Employees who neither work nor live together can share housing only when no alternatives are available
  • Housing units should be set up to allow for physical distancing, especially in sleeping quarters
  • Ensure that regular cleaning and disinfection of shared surfaces are taking place.

Transportation

  • Assign workers to specific vehicles based on the following priorities (in order):
    • Persons who already live together outside of work.
    • Persons who are working on the same crew or worksite.
    • Employees who neither work nor live together can share a vehicle only when no alternatives are available
  • Ensure that employees maintain a physical distance of six feet as much as possible and require the use of face masks at all times.
  • Screen employees for symptoms before allowing them to enter either the vehicle or worksite using non-contact thermometers.

Related: What to Do in the Event of a Cal /OSHA Inspection

Save, Print, and Put Into Action

Once you have developed a thorough plan of preventative measures and response to COVID-19, save, distribute, and put it into action immediately. Ensure that all of your employees are fully aware of the procedures you will be putting into place by providing them with written instructions. You can also display these instructions around your business for customers and clients to make a note of as well.

Do you want to improve your business by building stronger, safer, and more effective teams? Reach out to Arrow Up today to learn about how their innovative online training can help.

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