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Office Reopening Checklists

Safely reopen offices for employees reporting to work using these office reopening checklists

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Office Reopening

With offices reopening while the COVID-19 pandemic is ongoing, employers and facility managers are responsible for making sure that the workplace is going to be ready and safe for employees who are returning to work. There are steps to consider before reopening offices based on the recommendations of the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) and Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) while there is no widespread medical solution to the pandemic.

Considerations for Reopening Offices

The CDC and OSHA both provided guidance for businesses that are intending to resume operations and reopen offices. Here are some highlights on the two guidance:

Before Reopening an Office

Before an office is reopened, the employer should know if the business is aligned with local and state regulations on the resumption of operations during the pandemic. Once the employer is sure that the office can operate, the following should be looked into.

  • Develop a preparedness, response, and control plan that will help you accomplish the following:
    • Conduct a risk assessment and identify areas and job tasks that expose employees to COVID-19.
    • Determine which employees are most vulnerable to COVID-19.
    • Be aware of factors outside the workplace that puts employees at risk such as the type of transportation going to work.
    • Put control measures in place that minimizes or eliminates risks for employees. Control measures can be administrative such as implementing staggered break schedules that helps minimize crowding in common areas.
  • Inform employees of steps that the business is taking to mitigate COVID-19 in the workplace. Steps can include frequent and proper hand hygiene, staying at home when sick, wearing masks or other applicable Personal Protective Equipment (PPE), and health screenings.
  • Educate employees on how COVID-19 can be transmitted and how to prevent its spread inside and outside of the office.
  • Offices that are recently shut down need to consider the reported risk of Legionnaires’ disease. Other facilities that were not in use for some time but are reopening should consider taking steps to mitigate this health risk.

Upon Reopening an Office

Implement the steps communicated to the employees and apply the following to encourage compliance with policies in the office.

  • Use signs to remind proper hand hygiene.
  • Use visible tape marks on the floor or other visual cues that remind employees of 6 feet distance between each other where physical barriers are not possible.
  • Provide training on respiratory etiquette and remind employees to be considerate with coworkers in this pandemic.
  • Implement non-punitive policies on leave should an employee get sick and need to stay at home. If ideal, consider work from home arrangements to help maintain employee productivity.
  • Inform the employees of the scheduled cleaning in the office. Ensure that the cleaning staff is wearing PPE while using EPA-approved cleaning agents when cleaning and disinfecting frequently touched surfaces in particular.
  • Conduct internal monitoring to encourage compliance with office policies.

Implementing Changes in the Office

Businesses are aiming to resume normal operations in offices while handling health risks brought by the pandemic. Monitoring if changes are properly implemented and adhered to in the office can help keep the workplace safe from COVID-19. Using new monitoring checklists created specifically for the workplace can help employers and facility managers maintain safe and productive offices. Feel free to review and download the free checklists that were created to help with reopening your offices.

 

Please note that these checklists, while created with the latest best practices in mind, provide basic information only and are not intended to take the place of medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. You should also seek your own professional advice to determine if the use of such checklists are permissible in your workplace or jurisdiction.

Author

Erick Brent Francisco

SafetyCulture staff writer

As a staff writer for SafetyCulture, Erick is interested in learning and sharing how technology can improve work processes and workplace safety. Prior to SafetyCulture, Erick worked in logistics, banking and financial services, and retail.