Q&A talks with Keith Grant, Hartford HealthCare’s senior system director of infection prevention, about worker safety amid the COVID-19 pandemic.
COVID-19 has forced many employers to become health experts to help keep their workers healthy. What are the top measures employers should take to ensure employee safety?
- Provide accessible education for your employees.
- Understand COVID-19 status by encouraging testing and mandating daily symptom screening.
- Implement a strict no-working-with-symptoms policy.
- Be aware of the impact on mental health and if possible provide an outlet.
- Manage customer capacity and mandated personal protective equipment compliance.
What is one area of workplace safety you think should get more emphasis in the near future?
Employers should stress proper hand hygiene and require workers to stay home if they are sick.
If companies are relocating or looking for new offices in 2021, what are some pandemic-related safety concerns they should be thinking about?
There needs to be enough space so workers can spread out and have at least six feet apart from each other. There should also be the potential to open windows to the outside for fresh air.
Employers should also make sure the building has proper mechanical ventilation and circulation.
Do you think employers will be playing a larger role in mental health and wellness next year?
Most productive people spend the majority of their hours while awake at their place of work; for many this is a second home. Helping people navigate their fears and anxiety and providing some means to relieve stress at work is priceless. This has been proven long before the pandemic in companies such as Google and Apple.
What are some lessons learned from the pandemic on workplace safety?
The most important lesson for me is “people first.” The restaurants I take my family to at this time are the ones that seem to do something a bit more than the minimum requirement to ensure that we are safe. If they are willing to do this for my family’s safety then I am confident in the care that goes into preparing the finished products that I, as the customer, will receive.