COVID-19 has forced people worldwide to change their social behaviors rapidly and dramatically. Acknowledging new social habits takes time to develop, constant communication, encouragement, and accountability can assist in devising a plan to ensure your employees comply with health and safety requirements such as wearing a proper face covering while at the workplace.
Below are some best practices to set up the foundation for compliance:
- COVID-19 Health and Safety Policy – Having a clear policy in place, solidifying, and communicating expectations for safeguarding one another and the community. Your policy should address Coronavirus’s purpose for enforcement, preventative measures such as the company’s requirement for Personal Protective Equipment such as face coverings, when to wear, how to wear, and who to go to with questions or concerns.
- COVID-19 Prevention Training – Aside from having a policy, it is critical to train all workers on the policy and practices. Additionally, ensuring you are tracking training attendance.
- Ensure employee health and safety is leadership priority – Are your leaders modeling the behavior expected of employees regarding safety protocols?Are managers and supervisors wearing their masks and reminding employees to wear them? Your employee will do what you do not necessarily what you say, so lead by example. Be flexible and understand that we are all learning a new social behavior – employees will forget to put their facemask on when walking through the hall or forget their mask at home. Remind them of the requirement or given them a facemask. Remember, we are all in this together and learning at the same time.
- Post visual reminders – Post throughout the worksite, posters illustrate social distance, face coverings, and hand washing.
Should you have an employee who is resistant to wearing a mask – find out why? Begin a dialogue with the employee to understand the reason for resistance. Is it due to a medical concern or reason? Then you do need to begin the Americans with Disability Act interactive process to determine if a reasonable accommodation may be required, such as telecommuting or other work locations, to safeguard your employees. Is the employee resistant due to non-medical reasons?
Communicate the purpose and importance of your safety policy and protocols, just like any other company policy.