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Getting Back to Work Safely

Creating a safe work environment

As Michigan gets back to work, it is crucial to maintain a safe work environment for your employees and for any members of the public that you may encounter. On August 13, 2021 MIOSHA encouraged employers to follow updated CDC guidance to contain the spread of COVID-19. On September 9, 2021 President Biden mandated businesses with 100 or more employees require their employees to get vaccinated.

This web page should serve as a guide and checklist to help guide you through the creation of a preparedness plan and getting back to work safely. Please check back here regularly as we will update it with new guidance from the State of Michigan and CDC.

While no longer required, many businesses are utilizing portions of the COVID-19 Response & Preparedness Template. Click here to download.

Sample COVID-19 Vaccination Policy

SBAM has partnered with ASE to provide small business employers with two sample COVID-19 vaccination policies. Due to the changing environment related to COVID-19, these policies are designed to be advisory memos, rather than updates to an employee handbook. Employee handbook updates and/or creation services are available for SBAM’s Premium & VIP members.

Mandatory Vaccine Policy – Download Here

Yes, employers can mandate that employees receive the COVID-19 Vaccine. If this is the stance your organization is taking, this sample language can be used for your staff.

Voluntary Vaccine Policy – Download Here

If your company is encouraging, but not mandating, that employees receive a COVID-19 vaccine, this document will assist you in communicating things like health insurance use, potential time off to receive the vaccine and vaccine distribution.

General Guidance on Reopening

Under the provisions of the Occupational Safety and Health Act of 1970 (OSH Act), employers must provide a workplace free from recognized hazards that are causing, or are likely to cause, death or serious physical harm to employees regardless of the size of business.  Employers with more than ten employees and whose establishments are not classified as a partially exempt industry must record work-related injuries and illnesses using OSHA Forms 300, 300A and 301.

See this list of industry types exempt from OSHA record keeping requirements.​

CDC guidance on Preparing your Small Business and Employees for the Effects of COVID-19.

  • Encouraging your employees to stay home if they feel sick
  • Using cough and sneeze etiquette
  • Practicing hand hygiene

SBAM has put together the Small Business Owner’s Guide to Getting Back to Work Safely.

Download the Guide

Reinforce Key Messages

Make sure that your federal Labor Law posters are on display in the workplace.

The DOL issued a new poster that is to be displayed beginning April 1, 2020.  You may have provided an electronic version to employees that were working remotely at the time, but you also need to have it on display at your workplace.  Download your poster.

Additionally, the U.S. Department of Labor’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) has issued a Steps to Reduce the Risk of Exposure poster. Safety measures include

  • Encouraging sick workers to stay home;
  • Establishing flexible worksites and staggered work shifts;
  • Discouraging workers from using other workers’ phones, desks and other work equipment; and
  • Using Environmental Protection Agency-approved cleaning chemicals with label claims against the coronavirus.

Employee COVID-19 Testing

May an employer administer a COVID-19 test (a test to detect the presence of the COVID-19 virus) before permitting employees to enter the workplace?

The ADA requires that any mandatory medical test of employees be “job related and consistent with business necessity.”  Applying this standard to the current circumstances of the COVID-19 pandemic, employers may take steps to determine if employees entering the workplace have COVID-19 because an individual with the virus will pose a direct threat to the health of others. Therefore an employer may choose to administer COVID-19 testing to employees before they enter the workplace to determine if they have the virus.

Consistent with the ADA standard, employers should ensure that the tests are accurate and reliable.  For example, employers may review guidance from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration about what may or may not be considered safe and accurate testing, as well as guidance from CDC or other public health authorities, and check for updates.  Employers may wish to consider the incidence of false-positives or false-negatives associated with a particular test.  Finally, note that accurate testing only reveals if the virus is currently present; a negative test does not mean the employee will not acquire the virus later.

Based on guidance from medical and public health authorities, employers should still require – to the greatest extent possible – that employees observe infection control practices (such as social distancing, regular handwashing, and other measures) in the workplace to prevent transmission of COVID-19.

MERC Guidance on Reopening – Best Practices

PPE Guidance

Provide protection supplies where appropriate including:

  • Hand sanitizer – consider putting this in various areas of your office or facility
  • Sanitizer for surfaces such as door handles, elevator buttons, computer keyboards, tools and other surfaces that are commonly touched by multiple people
  • Provide soap and water, tissues, and no-touch disposal receptacles for use by employees.
  • Provide cloth face coverings or surgical style masks and face shields where appropriate
  • Provide gloves and gowns where appropriate
  • Touchless thermometers for taking employee temperatures

SBAM has compiled resources for PPE. View our PPE webpage to find out how to access various products.

Health Screening Guidance

As public health experts and doctors learn more about COVID-19, the list of associated systems may grow or change. Employers should rely on the CDC and reputable medical sources for guidance on emerging COVID-19 symptoms. These sources may guide employers when choosing questions to ask employees to determine whether they would pose a direct threat to health in the workplace. For example, additional symptoms beyond fever or cough may include new loss of smell or taste as well as gastrointestinal problems, such as nausea, diarrhea, and vomiting.

Check with your County Health Department to determine if they have issued an emergency order or other guidance to control the spread of COVID-19.  Consider asking employees to answer questions like those posed in this example from the Ingham County Department of Health before they are permitted to enter your workplace.

The COVID19 Employee Health Screening Form from the Society of Human Resources Management is another resource.

Pay attention to your employees. Separate employees who appear to have acute respiratory illness symptoms from other employees and send them home immediately. Restrict their access to the business until they have recovered.

Workplace Cleaning Guidance

Frequently perform enhanced cleaning of commonly touched surfaces, such as workstations, countertops, railings, door handles, and doorknobs. Use the cleaning agents that are usually used in these areas and follow the directions on the label. Provide disposable wipes so that commonly used surfaces can be wiped down by employees before each use.

CDC Tips on Cleaning & Disinfecting Your Workplace

CDC Tips On Keeping the Workplace Safe

No Contact Payment Transactions

If your business is in retail, food service, or other industries that require a product or service charge, you might want to think about how you can accept completely cashless or contact-free payments.

  • Apple Pay
  • Paying online
  • Paperless receipts
  • Ability to have customers swipe/insert their own card

SBAM Approved Partner International Bancard can work with you to get your business accepting cashless payments in just 2 – 3 business days. Click here to learn more.

Distancing/Queueing In Your Workplace

Look around your facility. Can you limit the number of employees using your breakroom, restroom, common areas and other places within your environment where employees gather?

  • Mark off six-feet of space
  • Use rope and stanchions to set up a queue, similar to what you would experience in an airport TSA line
  • Create a system for one-way pedestrian traffic patterns