What Essential Businesses Need To Know Keep Employees Safe
As business owners, we know that your employees’ health and safety if of upmost concern during this time. With most businesses in our industry operating under the essential category, your employees are working and are out in the field. We are thankful that our industry is in a unique position that allows us to continue to work and that we are outdoors where social distancing is more easily practiced.
As essential businesses, we must remember that our industry will be closely monitored during this time. We’ll be monitored not only by the many homeowners who are now working from home but also local government and agencies. We must stay vigilant to ensure that we all do our part to protect each other and maintain the privilege of being able to work outside during these uncertain times by following our local regulations and guidelines. This continued adherence to the recommended safety regulations will help keep our teams safe and limit the spread of this virus.
COVID-19 is believed to spread from person-to-person, primarily through respiratory droplets produced when an infected person coughs or sneezes. The virus is also believed to spread by people touching a surface or object and then touching one’s mouth, nose, or possibly the eyes. So, you know the basics: handwashing and social distancing. But, what else can you do to make sure that you and your employees are staying safe and limiting the spread of this virus?
- First and foremost, ensure that your employees know that they should not come to work if they do not feel well.
- Whenever possible, any employee that can work from home, should work from home. Office staff, sales people, and the like. Allow them to utilize conference calling and virtual meetings to help everyone stay connected.
- Limit in-person meetings/trainings and always practice social distancing.
- Social distancing includes maintaining 6 feet of space between all workers at all times. This applies to the job site, to the transportation to and from the site (i.e. no more than one person in a truck), whether actively working, eating lunch, or just standing around.
- Keep teams consistent to limit the spread from extra exposure to additional team members.
- Consider having your team members drive their own vehicles to the jobsite and have only one team member bring the work truck with tools and equipment.
- Employers and workers should follow these general practices to help prevent exposure to coronavirus:
- Frequently wash your hands with soap and water for at least 20 seconds.
- If soap and running water are not available, use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer that contains at least 60% alcohol.
- Avoid touching your face, especially eyes, nose, or mouth with unwashed hands.
- Avoid close contact with people who are sick.
- Keep equipment, tools, and other high-touch areas like work trucks cleaned and sanitized.
- When supplies are needed:
- Call-in orders to your local branch ahead of time, so Central can have what you need ready when you arrive.
- Send only one employee to pick up materials. This will help with limiting the spread.
- Call once you arrive for curbside pick-up. We are limiting in-store access.
- Take advantage of our same-day delivery services.
- Utilize Online Support. Get invoices, recent statements, and pay your bills.
Many people are concerned about the long-term implications of coronavirus, and your employees are no different.
- Make sure to prioritize communication with your team, especially now. Keep them up-to-date on any new information in the industry and the business and let them know how their scheduled could be impacted.
- Reiterate the importance of practicing good hygiene, and focus on cleaning and sanitizing tools and equipment, and social distancing.
- Establish flexible workplace policies such as staggering shifts or more PTO so employees can stay home if/when needed.
- Limit travel and in-person meetings/training as much as possible.
- Continue to follow and coordinate with state and local health officials. Things are changing quickly and its important to stay-up-to-date on the most recent information available.
Finally, below are some additional valuable resources for your business:
- U.S. Chamber of Commerce - Coronavirus Small Business Guide
- U.S. Chamber of Commerce – Coronavirus Response Toolkit
- OSHA – Guidance on Preparing Workplaces for COVID-19
- Help Prevent COVID-19 with Social Distancing
- Help Prevent COVID-19 with Social Distancing (SPANISH)
- Stop the Spread of Germs
- Stop the Spread of Germs (SPANISH)
- Keeping the Workplace Safe