Interim Guidance for Businesses and Employers

Guidance from the CDC on how to get back to an operational state.

We know these are difficult times and we are all being overran with information. Here is information disseminated from the CDC website. You can follow the links for more detailed information. Like always if you have additional questions or need assistance navigating this complex situation please feel free to call us at 509-684-7563 or email us at athompson@stevenscountywa.gov


How to get started:

Identify a workplace coordinator who will be responsible for COVID-19 issues and their impact at the workplace.

Examine policies for leave, telework, and employee compensation.

  • Leave policies should be flexible and non-punitive, and allow sick employees to stay home and away from co-workers. Leave policies should also account for employees who need to stay home with their children if there are school or childcare closures, or to care for sick family members.
  • When possible, use flexible worksites (e.g., telework) and flexible work hours (e.g., staggered shifts) to help establish policies and practices for social distancing (maintaining distance of approximately 6 feet or 2 meters) between employees and others, especially if social distancing is recommended by state and local health authorities.

Review your leave policies with all employees and provide information about available employee assistance services. Share information on steps they can take to protect themselves at work and at home, and any available

Identify essential employees and business functions, and other critical inputs such as raw materials, suppliers, subcontractor services/products, and logistics required to maintain business operations. Explore ways you can continue business operations if there are disruptions.

Prepare business continuity plans for significant absenteeism, supply chain disruptions, or changes in the way you need to conduct business.

Establish an emergency communications plan. Identify key contacts (with back-ups), chain of communications (including suppliers and customers), and processes for tracking and communicating about business and employee status.

Share your response plans with employees and clearly communicate expectations. It is important to let employees know plans and expectations if COVID-19 occurs in communities where you have a workplace.

Find the detailed webpage here.

Factor Potential mitigation activities according to level of community transmission or impact of COVID-19 by setting
None to Minimal Minimal to moderate Substantial
Workplace:

“What workplaces can do to prepare for COVID-19, if the workplace has cases of COVID-19, or if the community is experiencing spread of COVID-19)”

  • Know where to find local information on COVID-19 and local trends of COVID-19 cases.
  • Know the signs and symptoms of COVID-19 and what to do if staff become symptomatic at the worksite.
  • Review, update, or develop workplace plans to include:
    • Liberal leave and telework policies 
    • Consider 7-day leave policies for people with COVID-19 symptoms 
    • Consider alternate team approaches for work schedules.
  • Encourage employees to stay home and notify workplace administrators when sick (workplaces should provide non-punitive sick leave options to allow staff to stay home when ill).
  • Encourage personal protective measures among staff (e.g., stay home when sick, handwashing, respiratory etiquette).
  • Clean and disinfect frequently touched surfaces daily.
  • Ensure hand hygiene supplies are readily available in building.
  • Encourage staff to telework (when feasible), particularly individuals at increased risk of severe illness.
  • Implement social distancing measures:
    • Increasing physical space between workers at the worksite 
    • Staggering work schedules
    • Decreasing social contacts in the workplace (e.g., limit in-person meetings, meeting for lunch in a break room, etc.)
  • Limit large work-related gatherings (e.g., staff meetings, after-work functions).
  • Limit non-essential work travel.
  • Consider regular health checks (e.g., temperature and respiratory symptom screening) of staff and visitors entering buildings (if feasible).
  • Implement extended telework arrangements (when feasible).
  • Ensure flexible leave policies for staff who need to stay home due to school/childcare dismissals.
  • Cancel non-essential work travel.
  • Cancel work-sponsored conferences, tradeshows, etc.

Top 10 Tips to Protect Employees’ Health

Healthy employees are crucial to your business. Here are 10 ways to help them stay healthy.

Illustration: Woman quarantined to her home Actively encourage sick employees to stay home. Develop policies that encourage sick employees to stay at home without fear of reprisals, and ensure employees are aware of these policies.
question mark Have conversations with employees about their concerns.  Some employees may be at higher risk for severe illness, such as older adults and those with chronic medical conditions.
telework agreement Develop other flexible policies for scheduling and telework (if feasible) and create leave policies  to allow employees to stay home to care for sick family members or care for children if schools and childcare close.
telework agreement contractors Talk with companies that provide your business with contract or temporary employees about their plans.  Discuss the importance of sick employees staying home and encourage them to develop non-punitive “emergency sick leave” policies.
tissues and hand-sanitizer Promote etiquette for coughing and sneezing and handwashing.  Provide tissues, no-touch trash cans, soap and water, and hand sanitizer with at least 60% alcohol.
conference call on computer screen Plan to implement practices to minimize face-to-face contact between employees if social distancing is recommended by your state or local health department.  Actively encourage flexible work arrangements such as teleworking or staggered shifts.
cleaning a counter Perform routine environmental cleaning.  Routinely clean and disinfect all frequently touched surfaces, such as workstations, countertops, handrails, and doorknobs. Discourage sharing of tools and equipment, if feasible.
a globe with flight paths Consider the need for travel and explore alternatives.  Check CDC’s Travelers’ Health for the latest guidance and recommendations. Consider using teleconferencing and video conferencing for meetings, when possible.
promotional_materials Provide education and training materials  in an easy to understand format and in the appropriate language and literacy level for all employees, like fact sheets and posters.
one person separated from others If an employee becomes sick while at work,  they should be separated from other employees, customers, and visitors and sent home immediately. Follow CDC guidelines for cleaning and disinfecting areas the sick employee visited.

OSHA Guidance on Preparing Workplaces for Covid-19

Find the 35 page pdf here.

This guidance is not a standard or regulation, and it creates no new legal obligations. It contains recommendations as well as descriptions of mandatory safety and health standards. The recommendations are advisory in nature, informational in content, and are intended to assist employers in providing a safe and healthful workplace.

 

 

 

Slowing the spread: How Covid-19 spreads.

 

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