US On Lockdown: How Employers Should Handle Safety at The Workplace

Published on: March 16, 2020

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More than the modern world has ever experienced, a pandemic has successfully lead to the shutdown of not just the economy but also the mobility. Currently, the rage of Corona Virus has forced numerous countries to declare total lock down. It all started with China but the events in Italy has shown that more has to be done to contain the disease before it wipes off half of human race.

Initially, Washington brushed off the Coronavirus pandemic but recent happenings has shown that handling it with levity is suicidal. Whether it’s the Italian case or the towering death toll in the UK, something must have triggered the United States Centre for Disease Control in publishing an advisory that prohibits gathering of more than 50 people within the same location. As at Monday 16th March 2020, schools are being ordered to close down while moves are also being made to shut down Cinemas, theatres, bars, and concert venues.

As a way of containing the pandemic, the United States government has also banned flights from Europe and other corona virus ridden countries. This means that the United States is shutting it doors to the rest of the world. This decision could have helped contain the increasing number of infected persons in the United States if taken earlier.

What Employers Should Be Focused on
There’s a lot at stake here and a lot on the line. For all employers in the United States, this is an uncharted territory that will require a lot of caution. This will help their employees to stay safe and guarantee the continuity of the business as soon as Covid-19 is contained. It’s not going to do your business any good if your employees are endangered and you are left without your best hands and brains after the pandemic becomes history. The following strategies will give you an idea as to what you should be doing;

1. Educate and Communicate With Your Workforce On The Pandemic
Of course, they are well aware of the risks that Covid-19 poses to their wellbeing but coming from their employer could create further understanding of the situation. You have to consider a while range of topic as how it affects your workplace. Reassess and discuss workplace hygiene, remote work, quarantines, and other safety measures.
You could also provide your employees with additional resources to stay informed about Covid-19. A good place to start would be the Centre for Disease Control website where there’s ample resources.

2. Stay Updated on Developments
The Covid-19 scenario is quite fluid as a lot can happen within hours. Stay tuned to directives and information from government sanctioned outlets, the CDC and the WHO. Bookmark the “latest update” link on CDC website while there’s also the “rolling update” page on WHO website.

Aside the CDC and the WHO, look out for information from your local and state department of health. They are closer to you in helping you make decisions to safeguard the health of your employees.

3. Ask Sick Employees to Stay at Home and Send Sick Employees Home Immediately
There’s no room for gambling with Covid-19 and sending sick employees home is in line with the CDC guideline. If any of your employees is also sick, you are expected to send them home immediately. You should inform your employees to also stay at home if they have been in contact with anyone who have been sick of recent.

As an employer, look out for signs consistent with Coronavirus symptoms in your employees. You should know that employees who might have exhausted their sick leave may not be forthcoming in disclosing their ill health. Which is why you may have to grant additional days of sick leave till the pandemic is totally contained.

4. Consider Remote Work
This should not sound strange at this dire time, it may be the only option employers have to keep the work going. You are not alone in instituting a remote work policy, Apple, Google and other bigger corporations have implemented remote work policies.
You may have to provide the IT resources for remote work and consider other vulnerabilities but it’s worth every investment. With remote work, work can continue rather than witness increased absenteeism.

During this trying time, employers have a responsibility of maintaining a safe workplace while reassuring employees of your commitment to their well-being. To stay on top of the situation as an employer, you’ll need a carefully coordinated approach that should put the mind of employees at rest.

https://www.sidley.com/en/insights/newsupdates/2020/03/covid-19-us-employment-law-update-and-guidance-for-employers
https://www.theguardian.com/world/live/2020/mar/15/coronavirus-latest-updates-trump-tests-negative-as-spain-orders-nationwide-lockdown-uk-us-australia-italy-europe-global-economy
https://www.ccn.com/trump-shouldve-put-u-s-on-full-lockdown-instead-gives-us-coughing-ben-carson/

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