As we all continue to face the unique challenges presented to us during the COVID-19 pandemic, companies and organizations across the globe are showing their resiliency and ability to adapt. Employers are tactfully engaging in creative new methods and platforms of working productively, albeit not from their familiar work environment. If you are a “glass half full” type of person, this temporary way of performing work may even have created efficiencies in your daily approach to business that you will take with you moving forward.
For some companies and organizations, it won’t be as simple as engaging the remote worker protocol. We understand the impact this virus may be having is much more disruptive when compared to other operations, which is why Sentinel is here to help guide you through these times.
Perhaps you are in a position where you are manufacturing a product that you have never manufactured before? A few examples we have heard since the pandemic began are that some distilleries started making hand sanitizer; some garment manufactures have turned to producing medical supplies; and dine-in restaurants have transformed into a full-scale delivery operation overnight. All the above examples bring back into focus the resiliency and creativity spoken to above. Additionally, this will be taking us down a path of creating new processes, new protocols, and new exposures for your employees that need to be integrated into your business.
Ask yourself and your team: are we working in a manner or method that we haven’t done before? In some form or fashion, it is likely that your current operational methods have deviated from the norm and the relative impact ranges from narrow to extremely broad. If you find your operations to be more in the category of yielding broader changes, you need to be informed on the impact and responsibilities you have to your employees. Sentinel wants you to be aware of all the risks, not just those posed by the virus.
After all, the workers’ compensation story we may be talking about most in the months to come is not the employees who got sick, but the employees who were injured doing jobs they were unfamiliar with and untrained for.
The risk of having your employees performing work they may have little to know experience with, should be addressed with safety in mind. Injuries often occur when new operations start or when untrained employees perform work. Here are a few simple steps from OSHA that will allow you to generate awareness on the new exposures you and your employees may be facing in the weeks and months ahead:
- OSHA Standards require that employees receive training so that work will be performed in a safe and healthful manner
- Present information in a manner that employees receiving it are capable of understanding
- The employer shall verify that the employees have acquired the knowledge and skills which they have been trained
The above bullet points apply to all industries: agriculture, construction, general industry, and maritime. Some of these standards require “training” or “instruction,” others require “adequate” or “effective” training or instruction, and still others require training “in a manner” or “in language” that is understandable to employees. These steps don’t always need to consume a tremendous amount of time, rather the intent is to create and provide awareness-level training on the exposures that your employees are faced with. For more information see: https://www.osha.gov/laws-regs/standardinterpretations/2010-04-28
The adaptable spirit of America to keep its employees working, even during the most trying of times, is no more apparent today than it has been after world wars, terrorist attacks, and recessions. We will get through this together.
Sentinel Risk Advisors is here for you at every turn to make sure you are getting the resources and support your company and organization need. Please don’t hesitate to contact us if you need further guidance to help keep your employees safe. You can reach me at: email@example.com.