In April, the White House released its phased guidance for “Opening Up America Again.” States followed this guidance by developing more specifics on how to reopen after satisfying the gating criteria for each phase. As we navigate from one phase to the next and different types of organization reopen their doors to their employees, customers and vendors, leaders are trying to navigate the myriad of evolving guidance on the CDC website, State health department website, Executive Orders, the Governor’s guidance for specific organizations, and best practices. Meanwhile the scientific community continues to learn more about the virus, its transmissibility and effectiveness of the controls that we have been told to implement for our safety.
During this time, Alliance Solutions Group, Inc. (ASG) has been busy analyzing the data, various studies, the guidance and industry best practices to compile the tools needed to offer our Resilient Ready™ solution. Resilient Ready™ is a risk-based, systems approach to ensuring organizations are prepared to not only reopen safely but continue to navigate the evolution of this pandemic as restrictions loosen or return (in the case of a second wave). Many businesses cannot afford to be shuttered again, so proper preparation through planning is necessary to ensure business continuity, health and safety of personnel, and economic resilience. More information on Resilient Ready™ can be found at https://www.asg-inc.org/resilient-ready/.
To begin the process of reopening, businesses must first ensure the protection of their employees’ health and safety so that they are confident in the measures and comfortable returning; the same for customers and vendors. As the government considers whether the disease could be classified as a workplace hazard, employers are at risk for non-compliance, legal and financial liability, and loss of reputation and brand. To address all of these risks, employers must implement the policies outlined in the Whitehouse and CDC’s Reopening America Again guidance. This meets the standard of reasonableness and provides a great starting point for ensuring the health and safety of employees and customers.
The seven policies that every organization needs to re-open safely are:
- Physical distancing
- Protective equipment
- Health screening
- Testing, isolation, and contact tracing
- Use and disinfection of common and high-traffic areas
- Business travel (as applicable)
Effective policies communicate to internal and external stakeholders “What” an organization expects from those that interact in or with the organization. Policies should be communicated to employees and external parties to the extent that they are required. Because each business is unique, these policies will vary somewhat.
Second, organizations should develop procedures explaining “How” the policies will be implemented. These are more specific and may require training in order to be effective.
Finally, organizations should develop a pandemic plan that captures assumptions, outlines roles and responsibilities, details how the system of policies/procedures, people, infrastructure and financial resources interact to successfully navigate the evolving pandemic situation. An effective plan spans the phases of emergency management, addressing prevention, mitigation, response and recovery. It also establishes decision criteria and actions. In order to reopen, many public institutions such as schools are required to develop and submit their pandemic plans to the State to ensure they adequately address the protections necessary to operate safely.
Download a free template of the Seven Policies Every Organization Needs to Reopen Safely. These templates contain instructions, considerations, template text and guidance on how to customize them for your organization.
ASG has remained open and continues to serve businesses, cities, states and the federal government clients throughout the pandemic. ASG has leveraged 15 years of emergency preparedness, health and safety experience to establish best practices for pandemic planning. Contact us today to become Resilient Ready™ with development of an organization-specific plan, policies and procedures. Our risk communication experts and trainers can help you implement the plan throughout your organization and verify your readiness with a virtual exercise.
ASG delivers professional services solutions across the environmental, health, safety and emergency management disciplines and has served over 2,000 communities, government agencies and private sector organizations such as FEMA, DoD, VDEM, hospitals and multinational corporations.
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