The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recently published detailed guidance for employers on reopening office buildings. The COVID-19 Employer Information for Office Buildings webpage includes specific steps and tips for employers planning to reopen office buildings. The CDC guidance is organized into the following six categories:
Create a COVID-19 (coronavirus) workplace health and safety plan;
Before resuming business operations, check the building to see if it’s ready for occupancy;
Identify where and how workers might be exposed to COVID-19 at work;
Implement engineering controls by isolating workers from the hazard;
Implement administrative controls by changing the way people work; and
Educate employees and supervisors about steps they can take to protect themselves at work.
Within these six main categories, the guidance drills down into more specific issues such as:
Enhanced cleaning and disinfection;
Daily health checks;
HVAC and HEPA filtration; and
Special considerations for restrooms, break rooms, and other common areas.
Tips: Employers in California should also review Cal/OSHA’s COVID-19 Industry Guidance: Office Workspaces. So far, other states in Vigilant’s service area haven’t issued guidance specific to reopening office buildings, although each jurisdiction has guidance for other business sectors, which depending on the state may cover industries such as manufacturing, agriculture, and construction. You can find sector-specific guidance for Arizona, Idaho, Montana, Oregon, and Washington online.
Each office building may have its own unique issues and challenges in preparing to reopen. Carefully consider how the guidelines apply to your organization’s situation. Members are encouraged to contact their Vigilant safety professional or Vigilant Law Group employment attorney with specific questions.