July 28, 2020
From navigating city ordinances to implementing new procedures, employers have numerous tasks on their plates during the COVID-19 pandemic. One item not to lose sight of is employee safety. Whether employees are returning to the work site from company absence or working remotely, they’ve been out of their normal work schedule and environment for an extended period of time. On top of that, employees may be under increased stress due to health, finances or other concerns surrounding the coronavirus. These types of factors have been known to cause an increase in workplace incident rates.
First and foremost, ensure that COVID-19 prevention measures are in place to keep employees healthy.
- Make sure cleaning and sanitizing supplies are readily available for employee use throughout the day.
- Implement face covering requirements in accordance with Executive Order 29, issued by Governor Greg Abbott on July 2.
- Separate employee workstations and/or implement partitions to reduce the spread of germs.
- Post signage to remind employees about proper hygiene including hand washing/sanitizing, not touching your face with unclean hands and staying home if you have COVID-19 symptoms.
- Texas Mutual e-Learning course: Hand Wash & Hygiene
- Texas Mutual sample program: COVID-19 Prevention Program (PDF)
- OSHA: COVID-19 Posters and Guides
Be proactive about the increased risk of incidents due to mental distractions and time away from on-site work. Help employees refocus and re-familiarize themselves with a safety-first mindset.
- Review your company’s safety program and make sure your policies and procedures are in line with current COVID-19 prevention guidance.
- Retrain employees, especially on more hazardous work tasks.
- Utilize multiple types of training including hands-on demonstrations, e-Learning courses and instructor-led presentations.
- Re-familiarize employees with common hazards in the workplace and those specific to your industry.
- Include examples of near-misses and injuries at your company and/or industry to help explain the importance of safety.
- Consider having employees present topics at safety meetings to increase retention.
- Have employees conduct hazard inspections of their work area and personal protective equipment (PPE).
- Texas Mutual e-Learning course: Advanced Safety & Health
- Texas Mutual e-Learning course: Safety Inspection & Observation
- Texas Mutual e-Learning course: Personal Protective Equipment
Employee wellness and mental health
Physically and mentally healthy employees are injured less often and recover more quickly if they do become injured.
- Implement and communicate COVID-19 prevention measures with employees so that they know what’s being done to keep them safe.
- Be flexible with work schedules, when possible.
- Encourage communication between employees by utilizing video conferencing and online chat to help them feel connected.
- Use online chats to introduce health and fitness challenges such as number of steps walked or amount of water consumed.
- Texas Mutual e-Learning course: Stress Management/Prevention
- Centers for Disease Control and Prevention: Coping with Stress
Please be aware that the COVID-19 pandemic is still developing. The details provided here are based on information available at the time of development. For the most up-to-date information regarding the virus and safety precautions, visit cdc.gov/coronavirus.
Now is the time to recommit to employee safety and health. Texas Mutual is your partner and we’re here to help. For more resources, visit our Coronavirus Resources page or contact our safety services support center at 844-WORKSAFE (967-5723).