Category: Infection Risk Mitigation

How to Train Your Staff On New COVID-19 Safety Procedures

If your facility is planning to reopen soon, taking proper safety measures is critical to reduce the risk of exposing your staff to COVID-19. As you prepare your return to work policies, it’s important to remember that the success of your safety initiatives depends largely on the cooperation of your employees. That’s why training and communication are crucial to infection prevention in your workplace.

As your staff members begin to return to your facility, take the time to train them on proper procedures to maintain a safe work environment. Your training should cover the following:

  1. The symptoms and signs of COVID-19
  2. Protocols for the use and disposal of protective clothing and personal protective equipment (PPE)
  3. Etiquette for coughing and sneezing
  4. Proper hand washing and hygiene practices
  5. Facility design changes in place to encourage social distancing
  6. Workplace surface cleaning and disinfection
  7. Procedures for reporting health and safety concerns
  8. Company sick leave policy
  9. Contact tracing plan and return to work clearance process
  10. Resources for additional information and support

In addition to facilitating employee training, clearly communicate safety protocols and procedures to your workers via emails and conference calls to properly prepare them to return to your facility. This is a stressful time for everyone, so your staff members will likely have questions and concerns that you will need to address. Providing the necessary resources and clear communication are key to successfully implementing your organization’s safety strategy.

Your managers and supervisors may need additional training to help encourage compliance with safety protocols among staff and recognize and respond to any issues that may arise.

As your employees return to the workplace, having a team that specializes in infection prevention services can ensure you make a safe transition. At Aarcher Consulting, we provide return to work plans, infection risk assessments, and pandemic preparedness and response plans. We help you protect your staff and customers, support continuity of operations, demonstrate proactive infection prevention, and improve employee security and morale. Learn more about our Infection Prevention Services.


COVID-19: Keep Your Workplace Safe and Healthy During the Pandemic, Guy Burdick, EHS Daily Advisor.

5 COVID-19 Safety Practices to Implement as Your Facility Reopens

Researchers in the United States and across the world are learning new information about COVID-19 every day. On July 9, the World Health Organization (WHO) announced that airborne transmission of SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19, in indoor spaces, especially those that are crowded and poorly ventilated, could be possible. WHO and other public health officials haven’t conducted sufficient research to conclude that the virus is “airborne.”

The CDC and OSHA have issued guidelines for workplaces preparing to reopen. The organizations continue to update their guidelines as more information about SARS-CoV-2 becomes known. Safety organizations, including the American Society of Safety Professionals (ASSP) and the National Safety Council (NSC), have also put together return to work resources.

The NSC cautions that “business owners should reopen when they’re ready—not necessarily because they can.” Facilities should only open if they can put proper social distancing and sanitation procedures in place to keep all staff safe.

As your organization plans to reopen, implement these protocols to ensure your employees return to the workplace safely:

1. Continue to provide remote work options for high-risk employees when possible. The CDC recommends providing teleworking options for staff members who are at risk of severe illness, including older employees and those who have underlying medical conditions.

2. Make design and layout changes to your facility to encourage safe practices. Your facility should be set up so staff members are able to maintain social distancing of 6 feet from each other. This may require moving workstations to ensure this setup is possible. If social distancing isn’t an option, you must install transparent shields or other physical barriers.

Additionally, the NSC recommends upgrading your facility with certain items to keep staff safe. Employers should consider installing door openers that are hands-free arm pull or foot operated and motion-detection sensors to use in place of switches.

3. Require your workers to wear masks to decrease the risk of disease transmission. On July 14, CDC Director Robert R. Redfield, MD, called for the universal use of cloth face coverings. Clearly communicate your workplace requirements for the use of cloth or N95 masks. Consider providing masks to your staff to ensure everyone has one.

4. Clean and disinfect facility areas often. Surfaces that are touched by people should be frequently cleaned with EPA-approved disinfectants against COVID-19 (List N). It’s also critical for employers to supply soap, alcohol-based hand sanitizer, tissues, and hands-free trash cans.

5. Use signs and markings to encourage safe practices. The NSC recommends that facilities use signs and floor markings to encourage social distancing in the workplace, as well as one-way directional flow in hallways. Additionally, employers should provide signs in all relevant languages with instructions on cough and sneeze etiquette, proper hand washing, and wearing masks.

As your organization transitions back to the workplace amid the COVID-19 pandemic, it’s essential that you follow proper protocols to ensure your staff is working in a safe environment and decrease the risk of their exposure to COVID-19.

Working with a firm that provides infection prevention services, like Aarcher Consulting, can ensure your employees make a safe return to the workplace and continue to stay healthy after your facility reopens. At Aarcher Consulting, we perform assessments of facilities to document the status of workplace conditions and systems affecting potential employee exposure to pathogens. Our credentialed team of Certified Industrial Hygienists led by Science Director, Infection Prevention Sarah Connolly, an infectious disease expert and former CDC staff member, will provide your workforce the peace-of-mind to resume and continue facility operations. Aarcher Consulting is currently scheduling facility assessments and infection prevention strategy development anywhere in the United States. Contact us to discuss your organizational needs.


COVID-19: Keep Your Workplace Safe and Healthy During the Pandemic, Guy Burdick, EHS Daily Advisor.

COVID-19 Risk Management: 5 Guidelines for a Safe Transition Back to the Workplace

COVID-19 Risk Management: 5 Guidelines for a Safe Transition Back to the WorkplaceAs states begin to open back up amid the global coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, many organizations are starting to plan to return to the workplace. Each employer is ultimately responsible for workplace safety. Assessment of risk, careful planning, and smart communication during this transition will limit further disruptions to your operation. Our infection control specialists have organized some tips for preparing to return to the workplace:

1. Create a strategic plan. Develop a logical strategy before bringing staff through the door. This plan is your roadmap to success — make sure it is a plan that you can follow. A strong return-to-work plan should describe key factors, such as the number of team members working in one facility, the ability to stay in compliance with social distancing requirements, and sanitation protocols. Plan to do it right the first time.

2. Update other policies and procedures. Review existing written policies and procedures to determine whether they are still relevant and in-line with your strategic plan. Edit policies/procedures that contradict your strategic plan, as they will only serve to confuse management and employees. Carry the guidelines developed during planning through to your other plans and retire policies that no longer serve your workplace.

3. Communicate with your staff. A well-executed strategic plan requires clear and unambiguous communication. The success of your organization’s return-to-work plan relies largely on the cooperation of your employees. Without effective communication, the best laid plans will fail. Distribute updated policies and procedures to your employees so they are aware of all changes. Provide details on your plan through open communication with your employees via email and conference calls. Understand that employees may have their own concerns and questions, which must be addressed for successful implementation of a corporate strategy. Holding a virtual meeting with staff to go over your procedures for returning to the workplace is a great way to communicate the transition and answer questions.

4. Be proactive about restoring a productive work environment. Implementing your strategic plan may require accommodating changes in your employees’ routines. They may have become used to a flexible work schedule without a commute. Others may not have access to reliable childcare. Proactively address these issues to limit impacts to workplace productivity. Consider allowing a more flexible schedule for the first couple of weeks of the transition. Provide personal protective equipment, sanitation supplies, and other safety measures on the first day back so that employees can do their jobs efficiently and effectively.

5. Work with a firm that specializes in infection prevention. Remain vigilant about your infection control response, from the first day until the pandemic is controlled. Hire professionals that specialize in infection prevention to support your organization during this transition. A company that specializes in infection risk mitigation can help ensure your facility is a safe environment and maintains that safety as more staff members return.

Managing risk in your workplace through facility-specific strategies provides your management the clarity to continue operations and demonstrates proactive measures to protect worker safety.

Aarcher provides infection prevention services to help your staff return to the workplace. We perform assessments of facilitates to document the status of workplace conditions and systems affecting potential employee exposure to pathogens. Aarcher’s credentialed team of Certified Industrial Hygienists gives you the path forward and provides your workforce the peace-of-mind to continue facility operations. Our recommendations can be tailored to all human contagions, including coronavirus (SARS-CoV-2) (causing COVID-19), influenza (flu), Middle East Respiratory Syndrome (MERS), H1N1 Influenza Virus (Swine Flu), and various harmful bacteria.

Aarcher is currently scheduling facility assessments and infection prevention strategy development anywhere in the United States. Contact us to discuss your organizational needs.


Getting Back to Work in Uncertain Times – Guidelines for Employers, Smith, Gambrell & Russell, LLP,

Returning to Work After the COVID-19 Pandemic: A 6-Step Plan, Ann Snook, i-Sight.