After months of what seemed like endless interruptions, things have slowly started to get back to normal. More and more businesses and industries have permission to begin operating at higher capacities. Many people are excited to get back to work, but that excitement comes with some concerns.
If you have not been at work for some time, you may feel nervous about going back on the job. Thankfully, there is plenty of support available for businesses getting their staff back to work. Even the Occupational Safety and Health Administration has provided guidelines to help companies minimize the risk to their staff and customers as they transition back.
What should your employer do to help keep you and other people at your work safe during this potentially risky time?
They should find risk factors and plan to address them
One of the most important things any business can do in the current climate is the careful evaluation of risk factors for the company, its customers and its staff. Person-to-person contact may still require minimization.
The business may need to rethink how it structures its workflow or point-of-sale systems. Allowing some workers to continue to do their jobs remotely could help, as could changing the way that you deliver products or services to customers to minimize interpersonal interaction. Your employer should be proactive in identifying and reducing risk factors for their staff.
They should establish hygiene practices and expectations
Obviously, the company should have a policy that prevents sick employees from coming to work and requiring quarantining when necessary. Additionally, the company should have policies intended to protect employees including requiring appropriate hygiene and protective practices by customers who enter the facility and assisting staff members with the enforcement of these rules.
Especially in retail settings where workers may not receive much compensation, they should have support if someone becomes confrontational about new hygiene or distancing requirements at the reopened business.
Employers can offer training for staff members. In some cases, they may choose to provide protective gear. Beyond that, they should also embrace the idea that they cannot retaliate against workers who advocate for safe and healthy environments.
If your employer has violated your rights by punishing you for speaking up for yourself or if you get hurt or sickened because they have not maintained a safe workplace, you may need to take action so that they cannot endanger you or anyone else.