Safety Measures Small Businesses Should Keep in Mind When Reopening
Many uncertainties face small-business owners who have to reopen their doors after coronavirus-related shut downs.
Will their customers return? Will their employees return? Can they keep the business afloat?
Safety is the most important uncertainty. How can small business owners and operators keep everyone safe?
We know that keeping people separated at least six feet from each other is the best way to protect them from the coronavirus. It may not be difficult for people to keep their separations while out in public. But, it will be much more difficult to do so over the course of eight hours or more within the confines a workplace.
Make thorough plans now
A comprehensive safety plan is an important first step in determining a return-to-work plan for COVID-19. Most employers are (or should be) aware of federal workplace safety regulations of the Occupational Safety and Health Act (OSHA). However, in recent months and weeks, new regulations have been issued by states and localities that are specifically focused on the coronavirus. Managers and owners of small businesses should be aware of what these regulations are.
With these laws and guidelines in view, managers and owners should consider plans that address many issues.
- How will employees’ well-being be monitored
- How can social distancing among employees be maintained? Will physical barriers be necessary
- What cleaning and sanitation procedures can be used to reduce the spread coronavirus?
- What type of messaging will your employees use to inform them about proper face mask use and washing hands?What kind of messaging will you use to inform employees that proper face mask use is required?
- What penalties or sanctions will you impose on employees who don’t comply with the rules?
- What should you do if someone gets sick?
Other good suggestions come from the U.S. Labor Department, which has issued an industry-by-industry series of recommendations for small businesses that can be a useful guide when planning to reopen doors.
Here are a few:
- Increase ventilation and install high efficiency air filters
- To reduce the number of workers at one time, stagger shifts and alternate work days are a good idea.
- Replace doorknobs and hooks with hooks that are easily opened using forearms.
- Encourage workers to not use other people’s tools and equipment.
- Training workers on how to remove, wear, and put on protective clothing.
Being an entrepreneur and managing a small business is a difficult task. It is important to be as safe as possible during this transition.