Is your office a safe place to work? Do you think your employees can operate without worrying about any health and safety issues? Protecting them from any hazards and diseases should be one of your top priorities as an employer and this, in any industry. Since the pandemic has started, businesses have been through a lot of changes in terms of Occupational Safety and Health Management (OSH). We can all agree that maintaining health and safety in the workplace during Covid-19 is not an easy task. Here are 7 best practices to ensure a safe and healthy work environment including our Covid-19 screening tool, a must-have for any hybrid business.
Definition of health and safety in the workplace
Health and safety in the workplace is a combination of rules and actions to protect employees from injuries and diseases, not only mental but physical. Therefore, employers are responsible for following the rules and regulations of the Occupational Health and Safety Act (OSHA). This implies:
Conducting an assessment of work risks;
preventing those risks via specific protocols;
providing occupational health care;
ensuring OSH standards are followed.
Each industry and job position are exposed to different risks which have to be taken into account when realising a risk assessment. This is also valid when it comes to threats related to the pandemic. Some employees may be more subject to the disease than others. Therefore, it is crucial to prevent infections as much as possible and provide them with clear guidelines.
However, employees are also responsible for maintaining a safe and healthy workplace at all times. Companies can do as much as they can, if workers are not following the rules, risks exposure do not decrease. Building and ensuring a safer environment requires a teamwork spirit.
7 best practices to ensure health and safety in the workplace during Covid-19
1. Risk assessment of the workplace
According to the type of work as well as the industry, the risk exposure, the interaction level between workers and the contamination of the environment can considerably vary. For this reason, businesses must determine clear prevention measures as well as control strategies. Accordingly, an exhaustive workplace risk assessment is necessary to carry out this plan of action.
2.Hygiene and cleaning at work
It will never be mentioned enough, hygiene is one of our main weapons against the coronavirus. Covid-19 easily transfers from people to surfaces, and then to people again. Therefore, hand washing in combination with the use of hand sanitisers should be a clear set habit by now. In addition, companies’ facilities and equipment need to be thoroughly and regularly disinfected to lower the risk of exposure to the virus.
Why is ventilating your office even more important during covid-19? In general, opening windows is key to maintaining a safe and healthy environment. During the pandemic, this helps reduce the number of fine droplets that contain the pathogens responsible for the spread of the disease. Given this information, opening windows and doors regularly is, obviously, strongly recommended. For example, air ventilation is required at least 10 minutes every hour.
4. Distancing and hybrid work
Keeping a distance of a minimum of 1 meter between coworkers is still one of the top SARS-Cov-2 occupational safety rules. To apply this policy, you may have to rethink your office space layout and working model. Hybrid work concepts are the most common solution and are here to stay as they help maintain a safe and healthy workplace during covid-19 while offering more work flexibility to employees.
5. Home office
For employees who do not need to be at the office to operate, home office opportunities should be used as a means to lower the risk exposure at the workplace during the pandemic. This practice is even more recommended if your organisation does not offer the possibility of maintaining safe social distances between workers. Working from home is also a great answer to the increasing demand for a better work-life balance, this is yet a win-win situation.
➡️ Have you heard about the Great Resignation? Here is an article to learn more about the current employee exodus!
6. Communication about Covid-19 company’s guideline
When your risk assessment has been conducted, and your health and safety at work guideline is ready, it is time to share it with your workforce. Active communication about rules and policies that have to be followed according to the OSH standards and the company’s requirements is very important. Each employee needs to be aware of the rules to follow and how to act according to any situation. Those measures should be clearly explained and managers should be trained to be able to answer any question about the Covid-19 company’s guidelines.
➡️ Are you wondering what are the best practices to follow when it’s finally time to return to the office? Check out our Back-to-the-Office Checklist!
7. Covid-19 screening at work
All the new rules and updates related to the management of Covid-19 at work require having a well-organised screening and monitoring strategy. As a business, you need to make sure your employees are working in the safest environment possible. To guarantee everyone is complying with the occupational health and safety regulations related to the pandemic, you can get some support with technologies such as our Covid-19 screening tool.
deskbird’s Covid-19 screening tool: your solution to manage Covid-19 screening at the workplace
What is the deskbird’s Covid-19 tool?
Our Covid-19 screening tool has been created in order to answer this specific need to manage Covid-19 at the workplace. Same as our interactive floor plan feature, it is integrated into our hot-desking software, easy to use and people-centric. While the deskbird app is helping you to manage your hybrid workforce and office space, this feature supports you in controlling the risk exposure of your employees when they are in the office.
How can it help companies to improve health and safety in the workplace?
The deskbird Covid-19 screening tool enables you to constantly supervise the health status of your workforce. Each country requires different OSH rules and regulations for businesses and keeping an overview of who is vaccinated, tested or recovered can get easily a little tricky.
Having a tool where each employee has their own profile showing their health status can definitely make things a little more easy and safe. On one side, as a company, you make sure to comply with the rules while providing a safe and healthy work environment to your teams. On the other side, your workforce feels more at ease when coming back to the office knowing the risks of exposure are lowered as much as possible.
Whereas we are all hoping this situation will be soon over, deskbird makes it a priority to provide you with the support you need to ensure health and safety in the workplace during covid-19. Therefore, we decided to not only help you with your hybrid office management but also to support you in lowering the risks of contamination to Covid-19.
Would you like to know more about our desk booking app and its health screening feature? Request a free demo with the deskbird’s team!
Paulyne is a hybrid work specialist, who writes about sustainability, flexible work models and employee experience.