COVID-19 Resources for HR Leaders and Teams Returning to Work

August 25, 2020 | Shannon Shoemaker

As we consider plans for bringing employees back to a physical office, HR and business leaders are working hard to understand legal changes, draft policies, create forms and documentation and while talking to and communicating with our employees. Because phased reopening differs by state and local guidelines, as well as industry and job type, it’s hard to get a handle on where to start to get the resources we need to create a return-to-work plan that keeps our employees and customers safe. Here, we’ll share a list that can help you and your team understand what you should be focusing on for teams returning to the workplace.

 

Return to Work Coronavirus Employer Resources

Coronavirus Communication Crowdsource Document. This is a crowdsourced collection of resources for HR and business leaders to help inform and support Coronavirus response plans. Here you’ll find a curated collection of public Coronavirus response communications, templates, news, remote work, hiring impact, and resources.

The White House Opening Up America Guidelines states that, during any phase of reopening, employers must develop and implement appropriate policies in accordance with federal, state, and local regulations and guidance, and informed by industry best practices regarding:

    • Social distancing and protective equipment
    • Temperature checks
    • Sanitation
    • Use and disinfection of common and high-traffic areas
    • Business travel

 

Additionally, employers must be able to:

    • Monitor the workforce for indicative symptoms. Do not allow symptomatic people to physically return to work until cleared by a medical provider.
    • Develop and implement policies and procedures for workforce contact tracing following an employee COVID-19 positive test.

 

Why COVID-19 Testing Your Employees is Important

According to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC): SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19, is primarily spread from person to person through respiratory droplets. Workers in high-density settings in which workers are in the workplace for long time periods (e.g., for 8-12 hours per shift), and have prolonged close contact (within 6 feet for 15 minutes or more) with coworkers may be at increased risk for exposure to SARS-CoV-2. Close contact is defined in existing Public Health Recommendations for Community-Related Exposure. Other distinctive factors that may increase the risk for transmission among these workers include: sharing transportation such as ride-share vans or shuttle vehicles, car-pools, and public transportation; frequent contact with fellow workers in community settings in areas where there is ongoing community transmission; and shared or congregate housing such as dormitories. Workers include, but are not limited to, all employees, contractors, and others who perform work at the facility or worksite.

Guidance on Taking Employee’s Temperature at Your Worksite. This guidance has changed substantially and employers are now allowed to take an employee’s temperature during this pandemic.

 

COVID-19 Screening, Testing and Contact Tracing

Guidance from the CDC based on early experience from COVID-19 outbreaks in a variety of settings suggests that when symptomatic workers with COVID-19 are identified, there are often asymptomatic or pre-symptomatic workers with SARS-CoV-2 present at the workplace. Testing is important to identify such individuals, as they may not know they are infected. SARS-CoV-2 transmission from asymptomatic or pre-symptomatic persons can result in additional cases and potential outbreaks of COVID-19. Implementing screening for symptoms of COVID-19, testing, and contact tracing may be used to detect infected workers earlier and exclude them from the workplace, thus preventing disease transmission and subsequent outbreaks.

CDC Interim Guidance on Developing a COVID-19 Case Investigation & Contact Tracing Plan. This guidance aims to provide a foundation for state, territorial, local, and tribal development of case investigation and contact tracing plans. It is important to note that COVID-19 case investigation and contact tracing activities will vary based on the level of community transmission, characteristics of the community and their populations, and the local capacity to implement case investigation, contact tracing, and COVID-19 testing.

To help employers reopen safely during the COVID-19 crisis, Cisive developed a suite of solutions to help organizations monitor COVID-19 antibody and immunization status, conduct contact tracing and self-attestation, and streamline COVID-19 compliance.

    • SAFE19 COVID-19 Clearinghouse provides a secure, paperless, central repository specifically designed to handle the uploading, validation, and compliance reporting on COVID-19 test and immunization data.
    • CONTACT19 is a contact tracing solution that is built on decades of screening experience, providing you with a contact tracing program that is tailored to meet your organization’s needs.
    • ACCESS19 digitizes ongoing COVID-19 self-attestation and status validation processes. This tool allows businesses to resume daily operations while keeping their workforce safe and streamlining compliance with COVID-19 safety guidelines.

 

OSHA Guidelines for Control and Prevention

You’ll want to ensure that you are following OSHA guidelines for control and prevention as you bring employees back to work. There are general guidelines and industry-specific guidelines your company must follow — especially around safe work practices and equipment used to prevent exposure. Supplying protective equipment such as masks is not sufficient; employees must also be trained on protocols and how to use protective equipment. According to OSHA:

Employers should adapt infection control strategies based on a thorough hazard assessment, using appropriate combinations of engineering and administrative controls, safe work practices, and personal protective equipment (PPE) to prevent worker exposures. Some OSHA standards that apply to preventing occupational exposure to COVID-19 also require employers to train workers on elements of infection prevention, including PPE.

OSHA has a dedicated site for employers who must train workers on how to use PPE, including what type is necessary and how to properly wear, adjust, and safely put it on and take it off. Work with your Cisive customer success team member to help connect you to more valuable resources and support. Most importantly, check with your legal team and be sure to research any specific state regulations about COVID-19 and the workplace.

 

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