While many Ohio businesses can reopen, there are still precautions to consider as cases of coronavirus are still being reported. If you are a business owner who is trying to balance employee safety and local guidelines, you may be seeking advice.
Some of the guidelines provided by the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) follow. Contact a Columbus employment attorney with specific questions and concerns about your Ohio business.
Safety Changes and Recalling Employees
Many employers have furloughed employees because of the need to close due to COVID-19. A leave from work, a furlough refers to an employee having a reduction in their workload. Furloughed workers could be required to take unpaid hours within a period of time, one week a month for example, or be put on unpaid leave until economic circumstances improve.
As businesses reopen, the need to assess which employees need to be called back and when. A variety of factors can be considered, including what positions are essential for business to resume and which employees may have a legal reason for not being recalled, including needing to be on medical leave under the Families First Coronavirus Response Act.
Then, as employees return, employers should supply enhanced safety measures, including the following:
- Sanitizing wipes and hand sanitizer dispensers are widely available.,
- Face makes are provided to all workers.
- Maximum number of people allowed in areas reduced.
- Travel for business is cancelled or limited to essential trips.
- Staggering schedules to reduce population within a building.
- Wellness checks for employees.
This is not a complete list. Depending on the type of business, additional concerns and precautions will have to be addressed.
Wellness Checks and Preventative Measures
Along with safety measures, wellness checks are paths to a sense of security and a healthy work environment. In fact, Governor Mike DeWine and Ohio Department of Health strongly recommend that all employees perform a daily symptom assessment each day before work.
An assessment could include temperature checks, questions about possible symptoms and exposure to illness. Self-reporting of illness can also be encouraged by supplying paid sick leave.
To take a temperature, use a touchless thermometer if possible. Manufacturer directions should be followed to get a reading and disinfect the thermometer between each use. If an employee has a fever, the worker should be separated from the rest of the staff immediately and sent home as soon as it is possible. The temperature checks can be saved but need to be kept under high confidentiality.
Of course, all workplaces should be continuing to practice preventative measures as well. These measures include regular and efficient hand washing, guarding coughs and sneezes, keeping surfaces that are touched frequently cleaned, and practicing social distancing.
Guidelines and regulations are adjusting as more about the virus is discovered. All supervisors and businesses should stay in communication with resources, from federal agency guidelines to directives from local business organizations.
As an Ohio business owner, are you navigating how to open after closing due to the coronavirus? Ask a Columbus employment attorney for help. Call 614-949-1181 for a free and confidential consultation.