When you think about safety standards in the workplace, what comes to mind? Accident prevention, safety gear, OSHA standards? Not anymore. Now one of our biggest safety concerns center on germs. In the middle of a pandemic, workplace safety takes on new meaning. To keep workers safe, employers must rethink where work is done, how it is done and at what pace it is done. Where do you start?
Look for a Partner in Workforce Safety
There are lots of resources available to guide your return-to-work efforts, including advice from federal, state and local government agencies, health experts and industry trade associations. All must be adapted to your unique circumstances, but you don’t need to go it alone. As a staffing provider, Spherion shares responsibility for the safety of any temporary employee placed at a client worksite. Long before the pandemic, we were partnering with clients to protect employees.
Setting a Standard of Excellence for Employee Safety
Every worker is entitled to a safe and healthy workplace, and Spherion demonstrates that in tangible ways. Through our Safety First program, we take a 360-degree approach to ensuring the safety of every employee. Keeping Spherion workers safe has long been a critical priority for us. In fact, we were recognized by both the American Staffing Association and the National Safety Council, as one of the first staffing firms to earn the Safety Standard of Excellence mark. The mark signifies how Spherion promotes the safety and health of temporary employees placed on assignment with host employers. It also is an indication of how we comply with federal and state occupational safety and health requirements pertaining to employers’ shared responsibility for temporary worker safety.
Getting Back to Work Safely
Our commitment to the highest standards for employee safety also can be found in our new e-book, Getting Back to Work Safely. It offers high-level guidance from our team of risk and safety experts as to how to establish a framework for risk assessment and mitigation that can address workplace safety concerns well beyond the pandemic. For example:
- Rethink Workplace Safety - Take a balanced approach to managing risks relating to illness and injury prevention
- Embrace a Safety Management System – Introduce a system in which teams can work to solve problems together and create learning environments for continual improvement
- Understand the Hierarchy of Controls – Establish a decision-making framework to identify and prioritize the most effective controls and how to apply them
- Establish & Sustain Acceptable Levels of Risk – Communicate often to maintain the right focus and commitment to safety
- Launch a Best-in-Class Safety Committee – Promote across-the-board participation in safety
- Integrate Continual Risk Assessments – Collaborate with your staffing partner to develop insights and craft innovative solutions in risk management to keep all employees safer
Practical Advice for a Safer Workplace
Our Getting Back to Work Safely e-book focuses on safety management systems and risk assessment in ways that support a safer workplace, regardless of the pandemic. Spherion has also compiled a practical back-to-work guide. It contains 110 safety measures you can apply right now to help you operate safely in the new normal. Covid-19 safety protocols is based on an analysis of more than 400 unique measures followed by companies in the transportation and logistics, automotive, manufacturing, life sciences, construction and food sectors in 10 different countries.
Recommendations fall into five categories:
- Elimination – physically remove the hazard
- Substitution – replace the hazard
- Engineering controls – isolate people from the hazard
- Administrative controls – change the way people work
- Personal Protective Equipment – protect the worker with PPE
For employers that operate in any type of industrial environment, safety protocols should be built into company DNA. Those whose workers are more likely to define accident prevention in terms of avoiding paper cuts may find protecting the workforce from Covid-19 to be a much greater challenge. This guide addresses employee safety concerns at every level and in multiple types of workplace environments.
Restore Employee Confidence and Regain Trust
To ensure businesses can survive and the workforce can thrive, you must do more than reconfigure a production line or install hand sanitizer dispensers. As important as those actions may be, there is something much more critical to the future of the workplace. Pre-pandemic, people looked to their employers for things like financial security, a sense of purpose and social interaction. Now they expect employers to protect their health.
When you go to work, you shouldn’t have to worry about whether it’s safe or not. As a staffing company that places more than 160,000 people in jobs ever year, we take safety seriously!
To learn more about all that Spherion does to support its clients and protect its workers, connect with a local Spherion office.