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Wednesday, July 8, 2020

Best Practices for Writing New or Updating Existing Workplace Safety Policies


COVID-19 has had many impacts on the workplace — some that may be temporary and others permanent going forward. By now, most of us are aware that we are likely not going to be returning to the office as it once was. As a result, employers must do the due diligence to write new or update existing policies and communicate them to employees.

Policies should guide both employees and customers toward behavior that ensures their safety and that of the workplace. Employers will need to closely consider all aspects of their workplace and how individuals moved throughout it “before” and how they will now utilize the space “after”.

These changes to the workplace can be physical, but employers should also consider establishing protocols beyond physical distancing and closing the lunchroom. A holistic assessment needs to be taken of the business operations as a whole to determine creating an optimal, all-encompassing workplace safety program.

A best practice is to create an addendum to your handbook with customized best practices in the new-new normal. This can include formalizing work from home agreements, health testing guidelines for those returning to the workplace, and other related policies to ensure workplace safety and proper record keeping. Once finalized, look to support and potentially train management to ensure full company buy-in and compliance with the best practices.

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