Your comments on workplace safety plans for COVID-19

Monday, April 20, 2020

As Governor Walz has said, Minnesotans are buying the state valuable preparation time for COVID-19 by staying at home. The Governor's Executive Order 20-33 has asked Minnesotans not working in Critical Sectors to continue to Stay at Home through May 4th to slow the spread of COVID-19.

During this time, we are looking at how non-critical sector employees can get back to work safely, when teleworking is not an option. One important component of allowing non-critical industries to return to work will be ensuring that these businesses have a plan for how to follow CDC guidance at their workplace. To make the development of such a plan easier on employers, we've built a template plan that any employer could feel free to use, if helpful.

We’d like to get public feedback on that template, which is why we’re opening it up for public comment on the DLI website – please take a look and send feedback to DLICovidPlan@state.mn.us.

We aren't asking businesses to proactively submit such plans for workforce safety to state government for review. But employers tell us that having a plan matters, which is why we've created a template plan and are seeking your feedback on it. We'll review that feedback and provide guidance to businesses soon.

Any plan that an employer creates should take into consideration these guidelines from MDH, which are based on CDC guidance:

If workers can work from home, they should be allowed to work from home.

Make sure sick employees stay home.

  1. Establish health screening protocols for employees at start of shift, e.g. temperature taking, health screening survey.
  2. Identify and isolate employees with COVID-19 symptoms; and those that have been exposed.
  3. Establish communication protocols when employees have been potentially exposed.
  4. Establish worker sickness reporting protocols.
  5. Evaluate and adjust sick leave policies to reflect need for isolation and incentivize workers who are sick to stay home.
  6. Clearly communicate sick leave polices to all employees.

Increase social distancing: Employees should be 6 feet away from each other.

  1. Stagger shifts and breaks; create additional shifts.
  2. Evaluate traffic patterns to reduce crowding at entrances, in hallways.
  3. Limit gatherings of employees.
  4. Ensure physical distance in workplaces including work stations, productions lines etc.
  5. Maximize the use of telecommuting.
  6. Limit non-essential employee interaction across floors, buildings, campuses, work sites.
  7. Increase physical space between employees and customers, e.g., drive through, partitions.

Employee hygiene and source control.

  1. Ensure employees regularly wash hands. Ensure hand washing and/or hand sanitizer facilities readily available and stocked.
  2. Provide necessary protective equipment, e.g. masks, gloves, disinfectant, shields, etc.
  3. Post hand washing and cover your cough signs.
  4. Encourage use of source control masks.
  5. Prohibit on site food preparation and sharing.

Cleaning and disinfection protocols.

  1. Clean and disinfect all areas such as offices, bathrooms, common areas, shared electronic equipment, machinery, tools, controls routinely.
  2. Minimal daily cleaning of all door knobs, surfaces and other areas touched by hands.
  3. Ensure availability of hand sanitizer and approved cleaning products.
  4. Decontaminate workplace if worker becomes ill with COVID-19.

Management and employees should be trained in these protocols.

Please take a look at the plan template and offer your comments. We look forward to hearing from you.

Additionally, we'll begin posting examples of employers and workers practicing effective health and social distancing guidelines here on the DEED website soon – if you have a story and photos to share, email it to us at GoodBusiness@state.mn.us!

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