Mandatory workplace safety standards set for businesses in order to reopen

Hampden County

Coronavirus Resources from the CDC

SPRINGFIELD, Mass. (WWLP) – The Governor has released a series of workplace safety standards in anticipation of entering a phased reopening of the state’s economy on Monday.

After speaking with Nancy Creed of the Springfield Chamber of Commerce, she said businesses have had mixed feelings about heading back to work. Some concerned for their safety while others are in need of the business.

The Department of Public Health (DPH) and the Reopening Advisory Board worked to develop Mandatory Workplace Safety Standards to reduce the risk of COVID-19 transmission as employees and customers begin to return to workplaces during the first phase of reopening.

Social Distancing

  • All persons, including employees, customers, and vendors should remain at least six feet apart to the greatest extent possible, both inside and outside workplaces
  • Establish protocols to ensure that employees can practice adequate social distancing
  • Provide signage for safe social distancing
  • Require face coverings or masks for all employees

Hygiene Protocols

  • Provide hand washing capabilities throughout the workplace
  • Ensure frequent hand washing by employees and adequate supplies to do so
  • Provide regular sanitization of high touch areas, such as workstations, equipment, screens, doorknobs, restrooms throughout work site

Staffing and Operations

  • Provide training for employees regarding the social distancing and hygiene protocols
  • Employees who are displaying COVID19-like symptoms do not report to work
  • Establish a plan for employees getting ill from Covid-19 at work, and a return-to-work plan

Cleaning and Disinfecting

  • Establish and maintain cleaning protocols specific to the business
  • When an active employee is diagnosed with COVID19, cleaning and disinfecting must be performed
  • Disinfection of all common surfaces must take place at intervals appropriate to said workplace

Creed told 22News these new standards may help businesses become more successful than they were before the pandemic, “It’s an opportunity to use innovation, identify efficiencies, to see what has worked so far and perhaps implement that and capitalize on that. I think it is an opportunity for us to be creative and innovative.”

An opportunity Nadim Kashouh plans to take advantage of at Nadim’s Mediterranean Restaurant & Grill. He said he will have his customers order by phone instead of having to touch a menu once they’re able to dine in.

“You can place your order and it can go straight to the kitchen and you can even pay for it online as well. It’s one of the many things that we are going to be doing besides monitoring the door and make sure people aren’t hovering over the same area and move them quickly to their tables,” said Nadim.

Governor Baker has yet to say which businesses will open during Phase 1.

A four phase approach to reopening was released by the Baker-Polito Administration on Monday.

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