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Principles for 'Work Safe' Companies

Published Mar 24, 2020 by A.J. Mistretta

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The Partnership has established these 10 principles for companies in industries exempted from the "Stay Home-Work Safe" Order. Those businesses that continue on-site operations must work to ensure the safety of their employees.

Download a JPG of the Work Safe badge here and a PNG here.

Here are the key guidelines: 

  1. Allow all but critical on-site employees to work from home. While some companies must maintain on-site workers to complete specific business critical tasks, employers should allow all non-essential employees to work remotely.
     
  2. Employ video technology. To avoid unnecessary exposure, employers should implement tools such as Zoom, Skype, Microsoft Teams or other such applications to conduct meetings. No one should feel the need to meet in person.
     
  3. Create a safe work environment for all critical on-site employees.
    • Create physical separation. Health officials advise that all individuals should remain at least six feet apart to avoid possible transmission. Employers should establish protocols that require all on-site employees maintain a distance of at least six feet while working.
    • Close communal spaces. Employers should discontinue use of any communal spots such as lunchrooms, breakrooms, meeting rooms and other gathering spaces to avoid unnecessary person-to-person exposure.
    • Expand cleaning operations. Companies where workers must remain onsite should increase cleaning protocols of all high-touch and high-traffic areas throughout the day.
       
  4. Require sick workers to stay home. Require sick workers to stay home.To minimize exposure to other personnel, all workers who are experiencing even mild symptoms should avoid the workplace, report the situation to their supervisor and remain home.
     
  5. Adjust paid sick leave (PTO) policies. Employers should adjust policies to remove disincentives from people self-reporting illnesses. It is to your company’s advantage for sick employees to stay home.
     
  6. Encourage proper hygiene. Employers should provide sufficient hand sanitizing stations, guidelines for proper hand washing and soap at all hand-washing stations to ensure proper hygiene at the workplace.
     
  7. Create alternative teams. Employers where on-site staff remain critical should create alternating teams (i.e. morning/afternoon shifts, day/evening, every other day) so that operations may continue if one team becomes exposed and is required to quarantine.
     
  8. Restrict on-site access. Employee guests and other visitors should not be allowed access to any office or worksite.
     
  9. Discontinue work-related travel and require reporting of personal travel. Employers should discontinue travel by employees to other locations outside of the Houston region. If employees travel outside of the region for personal reasons, these trips should be reported to the employer should they pose an increased risk.
     
  10. Establish anonymous reporting. To maintain a safe work environment for on-site employees, companies should create an anonymous complaint channel for employees to report unsafe practices or violations of protocol during this period.

Click here for a one-pager from Partnership on Work Safe Companies. 

Visit the Partnership's COVID-19 Resource page for updates, guidance for employers and more information. And sign up for email alerts from the Partnership as the situation develops. 

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