5 Key Steps to Get Your Organization Ready to Return to the Labs
We are in unprecedented times. The restrictions state and local governments have implemented for the past eight weeks or more have appeared to have flattened the curve and reduced the spread of COVID-19. And as we near mid-May, many states are now beginning to re-open their economies by loosening restrictions and yet, the burden to prevent or limit transmission now transitions to businesses to manage. Though the spread of the virus has been slowed, it is certainly not gone, and all workers will be faced with the risk of transmitting SARS-CoV-2. Now more than ever it will be important for businesses to implement the proper controls to reduce the risk to their business and their employees.
Below are 5 key steps laboratories should take to reduce the risk of transmission in the workplace:
1. Form a COVID-19 Task Force
Bring together relevant leaders in your business to build a plan on how you will re-open your labs and offices safely. The Task Force should be made up of representatives from the departments or groups within your organization. The Task Force should have full executive support to make strategic and sometimes tough business decisions around who returns to work and under what safety precautions.
2. Partner with Industry Experts
Use external resources to collect more information and to help guide your business through a recovery plan. Use industry groups, occupational health professionals, and consultants to identify best management practices for cleaning and disinfecting, to interpret federal and local guidance, and to stay up on the latest ordinances, transmission data, and organizational policies to keep your workplace safe.
3. Develop a Pandemic Recovery Plan
The impacts of COVID-19 on the public health, businesses, local economies, and individuals have been unquestionably severe and will have lasting effects. Developing a Pandemic Recovery Plan will help guide your business back to normal. The plan should include operational, facility, health and safety, and HR controls and policies to help prepare your organization to return to the facility safely. The policies should outline measures to protect your workforce, as well as response policies in the event of a confirmed or suspected case of COVID-19 in the workplace.
4. Identify How to Social Distance at Your Facility
Social distancing is still one of the best methods we have against the spread of SARS-CoV-2. Most office and lab designs, operational plans, and HR policies were not developed with social distancing in mind. Your Pandemic Recovery Plan should address how you will adapt your facility, operations, and HR policies to achieve social distancing at your facility for the go-forward. There is no "one size fits all" answer to achieve social distancing at your facility because each organization is unique and each facility setup is different.
5. Keep Your Facility Clean
The CDC recommends businesses develop a cleaning and disinfection plan to reduce the risk of transmission at the facility. The cleaning and disinfection plan should include routine janitorial cleans as well as decontamination efforts in response to a suspected or confirmed COVID-19 case. In addition to contracted cleaning and disinfection services, it will be important to keep workspaces as clean as possible. There should be individual disinfection processes for employees to follow and perform each day. To help your staff maintain clean workspaces, we recommend keeping desks and common office areas with personal items to a minimum, filing away loose papers and documents in cabinets, and generally tidying up. For laboratories, we recommend that they too are tidied up and cleaned prior to increased lab activity. Performing proactive lab cleaning and disinfecting will ensure the labs are clean and safe and will allow lab workers to effectively sanitize their workspace.
For more information on developing Pandemic Recovery Plans, COVID-19 Response Services, or Laboratory Decontamination, please contact Triumvirate Environmental today. To reach a
COVID-19 Expert by phone, please call 888-834-9697.