SureHire's Manager, Occupational Health Services/ Privacy Officer, Dr. Dean McDougall, recently hosted a webinar, in partnership with the Progressive Contractors Association of Canada (PCA), regarding best practices for returning to work during the COVID-19 pandemic. In this webinar, Dean highlighted tips for employers to consider when building a safe return-to-work strategy.
ABOUT DR. DEAN MCDOUGALL
Dr. Dean McDougall has been a licensed chiropractor in Alberta since 2009. He became involved in the occupational health industry in 2011 and has helped lead the development and evolution of SureHire’s Fitness-to-Work Testing Program, Lung Health Monitoring Program, and Respirator Health Surveillance Program. Dean is also a certified ergonomic assessment specialist through the Atlanta Back School and is working toward obtaining his CRSP designation through the Board of Canadian Registered Safety Professionals.
Dean currently manages SureHire’s occupational health services department and, as Privacy Offer, he is SureHire’s subject matter expert on the Covid-19 pandemic.
9 TIPS FOR BUILDING A SAFE RETURN-TO-WORK STRATEGY
- Have full clarity on your organization’s COVID-19 governance policies. Having a full plan regarding return-to-work policies and procedures, including who is responsible for what, will make the transition back to work much easier. Communicating this with your employees will ensure everyone is on the same page and will help strengthen the confidence levels of your employees, clients, and other key stakeholders.
- Halt all non-essential travel. With no vaccines or treatments available to curb the spread of COVID-19, it is important that we do not fuel the spread by travelling if it is not necessary. Ultimately, our collective willingness to limit our daily interactions has been one of the most effective and proactive prevention measures to date.
- Work from home when feasible to help improve social distancing. While many of us prefer being in a face-to-face setting to conduct business, working from home has been a viable alternative for many. Connecting through virtual meetings, phone calls, and other networks can allow day-to-day business to continue without the increased risk of close contact transmission. If you haven't already, consider using these virtual meeting platforms to engage with employees, clients, and stakeholders, Google Hangouts, Skype, and Microsoft Teams.
- Improve social distancing at work. When working from home isn't possible, take measures to improve social distancing on the job. These measures may include signage reminding people about physical distancing and proper hygiene practices, installation of physical barriers, use of appropriate PPE, staggered work shifts, contact tracing technology, periodic health assessments, clear communication about company protocols, and hand-wash stations for employees to maintain proper hand hygiene.
- Identify & remove newly infected or sick workers. It is important to have guidelines in place that support informed decision making when it comes to identifying and remove newly infected or sick employees from the job site. The sooner you can contain these individuals, the less chance they will have to transmit to others.
- Anyone that is sick should stay home! Consider expanding sick leave provisions to help your workers feel confident in their decision to stay at home if ill or care for sick family members.
- Implement proper disinfection practices. Use a disinfectant with a drug identification number (DIN), or use a 1000 ppm bleach water solution, and ensure you read the label of all disinfectants for proper application.
- Invest in personal protective equipment (PPE) and enforce its use. Telling your employees to use proper PPE is one thing, but enforcing the use of proper PPE is extremely important (i.e. N95 masks or face shields, safety glasses, gloves). Not only will this limit the risk of infection, but it could be the key factor in whether or not your job site is reported and ultimately shut down.
- Invest in your employees' mental health. While the threat Covid-19 poses to our physical health is quite obvious, the impact it has on our mental health may not be. Consider creating a safe space for your employees to address their mental health concerns and access support if needed.
HOW CAN SUREHIRE HELP YOU?
Our mandate is to provide foundations for building safe, healthy,
and productive workforces and communities. As such, we’ve developed a
comprehensive COVID-19 Return-to-Work Program — a proactive
prevention measure that arms employers with the ability to make
more informed decisions around safe return-to-work strategies. With a
variety of services to choose from, you can build a fully customized program
that fits your company's unique testing needs.
- COVID-19 Automated Health Risk Assessment (HRA) Questionnaire
- Temperature Screening Services
- COVID-19 Instant Antibody Facility Testing *Available pending Health Canada's approval.