Given their direct relationship with their employees, organizations of all kinds are implementing measures to ensure safe and healthy workplaces as they plan a limited, and often phased return to their offices. FM and CRE leaders and teams need to be proactive to ensure that they are in compliance with their own directives, many of which often reference existing OSHA, EPA, CDC and other guidelines and best practices. Across the US, individual States are taking on this issue as the rapidly increasing rates of COVID-19 infections affect areas that were largely spared the first wave in the spring.
On Wednesday, July 15th, Virginia Gov. Ralph Northam announced statewide emergency workplace safety standards in response to COVID-19, a first in the US. According to the governor’s office, “These first-in-the-nation safety rules will protect Virginia workers by mandating appropriate personal protective equipment, sanitation, social distancing, infectious disease preparedness and response plans, record keeping, training, and hazard communications in workplaces across the Commonwealth.” Providing the most complete statewide workplace safety rules in the nation, Virginia’s approach is more comprehensive than that of other states, such as Ohio and Massachusetts, that have implemented simpler approaches. However, the list of government entities in the US and internationally that are legislating action will only grow in the coming months as the pandemic continues to roil people and economies.
Social Distance Floorplan Planning with FMS:Workplace
Rather than focus on mere compliance, facilities and real estate leaders and team should develop a risk-based approach, as summarized in our webcast recording: Real Data: The Value of Actionable Insights During and After a Global Pandemic on the topic. Non-compliance can lead to potentially severe, legal (criminal as well as civil), reputational and operational risk, so proactive organizations know that compliance is a minimal baseline. They focus on performing a risk assessment and developing a plan to mitigate risks that includes achieving compliance. A part of any compliance program is documentation, the “paper trail” (that is more often than not, digital) that demonstrates and supports compliance.
FM:Systems offers several technology solutions that enable customers to proactively manage and mitigate workplace risks from COVID-19, as well as to document compliance with organizational and other directives. These solutions range from tools to design workspaces for social distancing, to ways to enable employees to safely book workspaces, to automatically initiate and track sanitization after use, and to contact tracing.
Download our Safe Space Playbook to help you think through employee health compliance , including how to use workplace management solutions to plan for and manage a safe, healthy and productive workplace.