After the rain, comes the sun, they say. This coronavirus pandemic would certainly not have a different course. Currently, the United States of America has recorded the highest number of infections as well as the highest number of deaths with 960,896 cases and 54,265 deaths.
Despite these numbers, the major conversation for the United States now is opening the economy – to be or not to be. Those in support express concern for dire economic consequences if total lockdown proceeds endlessly.
The above might not be our line of argument, but we sure would agree that recession looms while we are locked down. So, opening? Resuming? Well, we have considered a few thoughts that would get you thinking, as an HR or an HSE staff.
Among other things, based on peculiarities, workplace safety would need to be redefined to accommodate the present realities set by COVID-19
This implies that HSEs and HRs would have to consider:
- Setting new safety rules (probably temporarily)
- Drafting and defining realistic and efficient social distancing rules within the workplace: this would be an interesting one because there is hardly a one-size-fits-all solution here. Individual peculiarities of each workplace would certainly influence decisions here.
- Making provisions for disinfection within the office
- Drafting detailed action plans in the case of infection(s) among staff
- Setting rules for testing and re-testing of staff members
- Explore employees’ work schedules and the possibilities of working remotely. This would keep the office (where jobs are done in the office) less populated
- Ensuring that the work environment is much more ventilated now
- Setting down a realistic and effective plan for a partial lockdown, should the need arise
The above steps are considered relevant due to the facts we have about the virus as well as the realities that confront us regarding testing, treatment, and re-infection. For instance, earlier this month a Stanford University-led researchers found out that in the county of Santa Clara, in the United States, the infection rate was almost 85 times more than officially tallied.
So while many would catch the virus, fall ill and even recover without knowing they ever had it, it is needful to set in place within the workplace, safety measures to prevent and curtail infections. However we view it, an unavoidable risk factor has been added to the list of safety concerns within the workplace.
Ironically, however, the lockdown will not last forever. We would be back to work, for our own good, facing the risk nonetheless.