What’s Your Reopening Plan for COVID-19?
Around us, businesses are reopening, like Sleeping Beauty’s castle after the spell is broken. Many people experienced life during a pandemic for the very first time. They saw their favourite businesses close temporarily or permanently. Around them, people lost jobs. They changed their everyday routines and were separated from friends and family.
This was the world that many people had experienced as they entered phase 2. One question lingered on their minds: Was it safe to go back to the restaurants, stores, and workplaces they used to frequent?
This question is an important one that our organization, Yellow Cross, chose to tackle for business owners. If you are reopening your business during the pandemic, a clear training plan for your staff can improve safety for both employees and customers.
1. Clear Plan for Reopening
Before reopening, you will need to devise a clear plan for your staff and place of business. Some of the questions you will want to ask yourself include: how many employees will be returning to work? What areas of your business will be open to the public? And which areas will be accessed by your employees?
Old habits will need to change. Staff will no longer be able to gather in the lunchroom or watercooler, for example. As a result, shared work areas will need to be cleaned, but how often? And who will be responsible for the cleaning?
Everyone, including staff and customers, will need to practice physical distancing, but how will you enforce those restrictions? Will you limit the number of people in the office? Will you provide signage to direct the flow of traffic into and out of your place of business?
Other considerations are the number of customers that will be permitted into your business at any given time and whether the installation of plexiglass barriers will be necessary.
Some areas of your business may already be online. But for customers who are physically in your business, how can you ensure that you have done the best you can to protect the health and safety of customers and staff? What training plan will you devise to protect them from COVID-19?
2. Training Workers for Their Return to Work
Training your workers can be an enormous undertaking, especially if you have many employees, multiple work shifts, or health and safety training is not your area of expertise. We have created an education and certification program that prepares your business for reopening.
The main benefit of our online infection prevention and control program is that your employees can access the training at their convenience. The training covers many critical points, from disinfecting to handwashing.
Workers should be aware of how COVID-19 spreads. Understanding the science is critical to understanding why specific measures must be put in place to slow the spread of the virus. For example, we teach clear directions on correct handwashing procedures, when to wash hands with soap, or when the use of hand sanitizer is acceptable.
The training also covers procedures for common work areas, such as shared workspaces, the company kitchen, and the office photocopier. It answers questions such as what cleaning procedures need to be in place and who would be responsible for those procedures.
Some old habits will need to change, such as sitting down to use a shared computer or crowding into an elevator to get to the office on time. New procedures will be in place to handle these situations. These procedures will be customized for your specific business and will be developed as a joint effort between your staff and the business owners and employers.
New signage will also regulate the flow of movement in your business. We provide the signage to show customers safe distancing from other customers and staff. Our Yellow Cross CertifiedSAFE signage will clearly let the public know that your establishment has gone through proper training for their health and safety.
3. The Advantage of Formal Training
When staff members have completed their training and passed the exam, they will receive a certificate and your company can claim it is Yellow Cross certified. This certification is the vital difference between reopening with training and reopening with only assumptions about best practices.
With this certification, your business is demonstrating that it is aware of its LEGAL responsibility to protect your employees and customers. Most other programs do not educate your frontline employees, which provides an opening for liability claims should an employee or customer catch COVID-19 at your place of work.
For more information about the CertifiedSAFE program visit yellowcross.org Training and Certification.