Safety in the "Evolving" Workplace Checklist
Author: Mary Gormandy White
When to Use
As workplaces evolve, the safety policies and procedures employers had in place prior to the COVID-19 pandemic may no longer sufficiently meet their company's needs or the needs of their employees. Employers may find that certain COVID-specific safety measures may still be appropriate for the particular workspace. And measures put in place during the pandemic may no longer be necessary as scientific understanding evolves and employee expectations change. Such determinations should be reevaluated on a continuous basis as situations shift and employees' concerns change over time.
Communication. It is critical for employers to inform employees when safety measures are being implemented, changed or discontinued as appropriate. Use channels of communication that are typically used in that workplace. For example, consider emailing or posting information on the safety protocols on an intranet site and/or in places accessible to employees, e.g., the break room.
Transparency. Employers should also recognize that it is just as important to inform employees why these protocols are necessary in the first place. Educating employees (and giving them the "why") goes a long way to assuring them that the organization continues to act in their best interests.
Additionally, as circumstances change inside and outside of the workplace, be transparent and open with employees about what that means to them. For instance, new safety measures may need to be implemented or removed at some point, so sharing the reasons behind the shift in workplace practices will help ease fears and anxiety. Keep conversations fluid and ongoing to update employees as situations evolve. Most importantly, make sure these conversations are two-sided so that employees feel like they have a voice in their own safety and that of the workplace.
This checklist may be used by employers to help identify factors they may need to consider as they adapt their approach to safety in the "evolving" workplace. Employers do not have to complete the following steps in sequential order to complete the checklist properly.