Policies and procedures: How to adapt to COVID-19

Marketing

5 minutes read time

May 29, 2020

COVID-19 has changed the way we live and work indefinitely. The fast-moving developments of this virus mean that businesses and employers must remain diligent with up to date policies and procedures as we make it through this unusual and difficult time. 

Following the outbreak, federal agencies published new and revised guidance that address employers’ obligations to protect the health and safety of their employees in the workplace. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) and the U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) have published COVID-19 guidance that helps employers focus their response efforts on developing and implementing effective COVID-19 safety policies and procedures.

Should you change your policies and procedures?

Every business carries different risks, which is why you will have your own policies and procedures, relevant to your industry and worksite. These policies and procedures are in place to ensure the safety of your visitors, service providers, and employees at your worksites. As COVID-19 is a respiratory virus, which is easily spread primarily through droplets generated by sneezing, coughing, or even talking, businesses have to adjust their policies and procedures so they don’t spread the disease within their workplace. 

Not surprisingly, no case law or OSHA administrative decisions have been issued. What an employer’s legal obligations or duty of care that an employer owes its employees to protect them from COVID-19 in the workplace is not yet established. However, it is still the employer’s responsibility to keep those in their duty of care safe and to not put their employees at risk.

Every industry has unique policies and procedures they adhere to. While these are unique we do know that some of the most simple processes are often overlooked. Many of these processes could be formalized by using electronic visitor management. As we move out of COVID-19 it is more apparent than ever that a visitor management system is the only way to do this successfully. Learn how WhosOnLocation can help you.

Sign in 

The normal procedure of signing in our visitors or carrying out our inductions will need to be changed. Businesses need to keep out potential risks that could be entering their workplace. To ensure potential risks don’t come or gain access to your workplace implement a policy to only allow pre-registered visitors to enter.  Pre-registration notifies visitors of your policies in advance. They are sent an email (we call this a WolPass) detailing any essential information e.g. “If you’ve experienced flu-like symptoms in the past 14 days, please reschedule your visit.” 

This allows your visitors to read and digest the information fully before coming anywhere near your place of work. If they are in good health, when they come on-site they can simply scan the QR code in their WolPass using the external scanner at the kiosk to sign-in/out. No touch, no risk of infection transfer. A quick, safe, and seamless visitor sign in/out experience while meeting your onsite policies and procedures.

Contact tracing

Now more than ever, every single person that enters your worksite must sign-in. No one should be allowed on-site if they have not. This is more than likely already a policy at your worksite but using WhosOnLocation you can quickly report and identify who was on-site at what time, therefore making it easy to contact anyone who may have come into contact with an infected person. 

Physical distancing

Physical distancing has been a difficult adjustment in society as we are used to greeting with a hug or a handshake and no limitation on the number of people we can be with at one time.  A habit is a difficult thing to change but plenty of reminders throughout the day and a limit on the number of people who can enter your workplace is a good place to start. 

WhosOnLocation prevents overcrowding, with maximum occupancy limits. Set your limit and when the maximum is reached, any further attempts to sign in will fail and the appropriate person/s will be notified. 

You can also use zoning to minimize exposure within your worksite. Assign your employees and service providers to a ‘zone’ so that you can contain a possible outbreak by easily identifying who’s been in contact with who. To remind your employees of your physical distancing policies you can set recurring best practice reminders to help your employees remember to follow your policies and procedures. 

Deliveries

Many workplaces receive multiple deliveries daily. Since the outbreak delivery drivers have been doing what they can to contain the spread by wearing gloves or wiping down the parcel when delivered.  However, to ensure your workplace is protected you could make it a policy that when parcels are delivered, to reduce handling the delivery driver signs the package in on your kiosk with the recipient getting notified they have a parcel for collection. Add to your notification a reminder message to “wipe down your delivery with the disinfectant wipes” to reduce any chance of infection transfer. 

Change is always difficult when you’ve done things a certain way for so long. However, we have no choice but to adjust the way we do things to keep those in our duty of care safe. Implementing your new policies and procedures with WhosOnLocation will help make your life easier during this difficult and challenging time.