ISEA Director of Marketing & External Affairs
The SAFER task force has released comprehensive guidance for employers to prioritize workplace safety as Americans begin to go back to work. The team has identified universal actions every employer should consider before reopening, and released a series of playbooks with in-depth recommendations for doing so safely. In almost all actions, personal protective equipment (PPE) is a major consideration.
SAFER: Safe Actions for Employee Returns, a comprehensive initiative to guide employers through the process of safely resuming traditional work and operations now and in a post-quarantine environment, was created by the National Safety Council, in partnership with Fortune 500 companies, leading safety organizations and public health experts, including ISEA.
The general and sector-specific playbooks are designed to help America’s employers align worker safety with business objectives, as laid out in the SAFER Framework.
According to the playbooks, workplaces should consider the following when thinking about PPE.
- Conduct a risk assessment/analysis of all new processes, procedures, policies and products as a result of COVID-19 changes and inventory, procure and store PPE needed based on worker risk exposure
- Develop, implement and monitor a training program to ensure employees wear PPE
- Train and post signage for proper PPE usage, identification (e.g., face shield for grinding operations versus plastic barrier for screening), etc.
- Establish protocols for proper cleaning and disinfection of PPE if it can be reused
- Establish protocols for proper disposal of face masks, gloves, and other disposable PPE worn during work shifts
- Provide resources to temporary workers in terms of training and safety and health protections, including providing PPE (see https://www.osha.gov/temp_workers)
- Ensure employee vehicles (owned by the employer) always have sufficient levels of necessary COVID-19-specific PPE (e.g., masks, gloves, etc.)
- Advise staff of how to treat items brought into the clean workplace (e.g., personal possessions, food items, laptops, PPE, etc.)
- Provide a method for employees to request additional PPE
- Identify screeners and protocol for screener safety (e.g., appropriate PPE) and tracking of temperature checks or health assessments
- Dispense PPE to symptomatic workers and direct them to isolate
For more on the SAFER task force, including the full framework, all playbooks, and additional resources, visit the SAFER webpage here.