Considerations for reopening your facility during a pandemic:
At Beacon Mutual, we know preparing your facility to reopen and bringing employees back to work safely during the COVID-19 pandemic can be a challenging task. As a Rhode Island business, we too have recently undertaken that effort and reopened our facility in early July. While creating a plan to reopen safely takes time and effort, it is possible to create a workplace that minimizes the risk to your employees while allowing you to serve your customers. Below are some highlights that you should consider when creating your own company-wide comprehensive reopening plan, including lessons Beacon learned while reopening our facility and bringing our own employees back to work using the Reopening RI guidance from the State of Rhode Island.
Creating a plan:
To start, create a multidisciplinary team of employees that include senior management as well as a representative from every occupation within your facility if possible, i.e. human resources, facilities, maintenance, line personnel, etc., and align on goals for reopening. For example, how many employees will return? What services will you offer your customers? The goals should be strong enough to guide all of the team’s decisions while shaping the plan.
Next, identify areas of risk and brainstorm ways to avoid or mitigate them. The team should then outline the steps that need to be taken regarding new policies and procedures based on your unique situation.
Consider the following areas if applicable to address in your plan:
- Management Commitment
- Staffing (essential operations, minimum staffing, maximum)
- Employee Participation
- Employee Training
- Exposure & Control Plan
- Design & Space Change Plan
- Hygiene & Cleaning
- Human Resources
- Visitors & Guest Plan
- New Policy & Procedures
- How to Communicate the Plan to Employees
In creating your plan, consider using the following online resources:
- Most RI businesses, especially small business, should use the state’s COVID-19 Control Plan Template which can be found on the Reopening RI website.
- The Rhode Island Department of Health has published a Rhode Island COVID-19 Information page with links to the state's testing information, COVID-19 response data, and the latest regulations for safety and appropriate social distancing measures.
- All businesses, and especially those requiring a more complex plan, can refer to OSHA’s Guidance on Preparing Workplaces for COVID-19 and refer to OSHA’s COVID-19 Resources page for industry-specific guidance.
- The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention provides a CDC Coronavirus (COVID-19) resource page with information on prevention and what to do if you think you are sick.
Read more about Coronavirus and workers' compensation:
All companies should identify how to prepare for potential infection from COVID-19 and understand how it relates to workers' comp coverage.