Businesses, in all sizes and forms, have been directly impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic. Micro, small, and medium enterprises (MSMEs), the backbone of our economy that form 99.6% registered establishments, are also making ways to survive and thrive in these challenging times.
As a business owner who continues to remain resilient, the Workplace Safety & Prevention Services issued a Business Pandemic Preparedness Checklist to help SMEs like you in these tough times. Here are some things you need to consider in order to ensure business as usual for your venture.
Things you need to consider
- Do you have a ‘sick time’ policy that encourages all ill workers to stay home, and does not penalize them financially for missing work?
- Do you provide antiseptic hand cleansers in areas of your workplace where it is not convenient to wash hands?
- Do you have signage at your workplace promoting healthy hygiene habits, such as how to effectively cover coughs and sneezes, and wash hands at appropriate times?
- To learn more about how to protect your employees, refer to these resources.
- Do you offer your employees annual flu shots? q Do you clean all frequently touched surfaces in your workplace on a regular basis?
During the pandemic
1. Assemble a team
- Have you consulted with your senior leadership, union leaders, human resources department and a health professional (internal or external) to develop a staged pandemic plan?
- Have you established a process to track or monitor alerts from credible organizations such as the Department of Health, and the World Health Organization?
2. Asses the risk
- Have you assessed the impacts of the stages of a pandemic (moderate or severe) on your people and processes (hazard identification)?
- Have you assessed the risks to your people – which of your employees may be at greatest risk, due to their jobs, family circumstances, age, or health?
- Have you assessed the risks to your processes – which processes are most at risk of being shut down by Public Health, or crippled due to lack of key individuals or supplies or challenged by surging demands?
3 Set Priorities
- Have you prioritized the risks (probability X severity)?
- Have you identified your most critical production lines, processes or services, which must continue at all costs?
- Have you identified your most critical support jobs, which must continue (e.g., payroll)? q Have you identified your least essential processes or jobs?
- Are you able to provide opportunities to up-skill your staff during an isolation period? WSPS has a great variety of no cost and low cost e-courses!
4. Protect People
- Do you have a plan for communicating with employees?
- Have you re-assessed your pandemic controls for protecting employees (see top of first page)?
- Have you identified and planned ways to encourage physical distancing?
- Do you have a process to restrict or screen entry to your premises by ill visitors or staff?
- Have you identified appropriate usage of personal protective equipment and adequate supplies?
- Do you have a procedure to deal with an employee who becomes ill at work?
- Do you have a process for knowledge management, so that key documents and information can be accessed when key individuals are absent?
- Have you made plans (in consultation with unions) for shifting staff from less critical jobs to more critical areas in the event of a staff shortage, or surging demands for some products or services?
- Have you identified your key suppliers and developed contingency plans to ensure a continuation of supplies from them?
- Have you developed contingency plans with employees who would be affected by school closures?
- Have you identified alternate working arrangements (e.g., meetings by teleconference, working from home) that might be used more frequently in a pandemic?
Source: Workplace Safety & Prevention Services