Guide to Ensuring a Safe Return to Work from Covid-19

Best Practice Guide

Recent changes to safety regulations

After months of Covid-19-induced disruptions, businesses are understandably chomping at the bit to go back to normal as part of the business recovery from the global health crisis. And going back to normal, for many, means resuming operations in work facilities vacated due to local, state, and national lockdown orders.

However, return to work – far from flicking the on switch – introduces risk of its own. For one, employers are now operating under new safety rules. Jurisdictions and health authorities have imposed guidelines laying out what constitutes safe reopening.

The safety guidelines are complex, varying from jurisdiction to jurisdiction and sector to sector. For instance, organizations might have to present formalized return to work plans. By in large, though, the regulations identify Covid-19 infection as a risk to the safety of employees.

What does that mean for PCBUs (Persons Conducting a Business or Undertaking), precisely? Well, employers must now take proactive steps to mitigate the potential for employee exposure as part of the broader duty of care obligation to provide a workplace free of recognized hazards likely to cause death or serious physical harm.

Of course, Covid-19 infection remains an active threat to worker safety, even if re-entry itself proves successful. And so, the steps needed to mitigate the infection risk must be likewise dynamic. This guide lays out what steps PCBUs should take to reopen safely, ward off the risk of infection once they do, so as to ensure worker productivity and engagement in reopened work facilities.

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