June 18, 2020

Safeguard Your Workforce with Health and Safety Training as You Return To Work

Safeguard Your Workforce with Health and Safety Training as You Return To Work featured image

What are the short- and long-term benefits of investing in training to prevent the spread of COVID-19 in the workplace?

Workers wearing respiratory masks in the office.

What is the impact of employee safety training?

Opening a business again after closure related to the COVID-19 pandemic is an interesting time. You’re eager to get your team back to doing their jobs and to start building your profits back up again. However, these efforts can fall apart quickly if the infectious disease spreads through your workforce. Any return to work must come along with an increased focus on safety and the prevention of spreading COVID-19, specifically, and diseases, in general.
Rather than being vague or informal with your employee education, you can invest in training modules designed to keep workers safe. Some of these have been developed in recent months specifically about COVID-19, ensuring you have the right information to spread among your team. Meeting officials’ suggestions for stopping the spread is challenging but important, and training content can help your employees reach this goal.

What Are the Government’s Anti-COVID Training Suggestions?

Multiple business-focused recommendations for battling the coronavirus pandemic have come from agencies such as the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the Occupational Safety and Health Administration. The past few months have seen these best practices put to the test to stop the infection from spreading at essential companies that have stayed open.
OSHA explains that training is one of the highly important administrative controls companies should put in place while reopening. This means ensuring employees know how new protective measures work. If there is new personal protective equipment required for a function, workers should understand how to wear it safely to make certain it has its maximum effect.
New policies about recognizing COVID-19 symptoms and safely isolating people who are displaying those signs are also important parts of reopening strategies. OSHA specifies that employee training should cover this process of detection and isolation. Not handling this process in an effective way may stymie infection prevention efforts.
The CDC notes that training for employee safety practices – including ways to prevent infection on the job and while traveling to and from work – should itself be carried out in a safe manner. This is because an in-person session in which participants cannot maintain social distancing would be a risk on its own. Fortunately, today’s digital training landscape includes numerous video-based online offerings, removing the need for live instructors to be on site.

A close-up of disease molecules.What does employee training look like in the era of COVID-19 reopening?

What Are the Advantages of Formalized Anti-COVID Training?

While the primary advantage of infectious disease prevention training is clear – no company wants to be stricken with an outbreak of this deadly infection – there are a few specific additional benefits worth considering. For example, depending on the level of infection in your company’s home state, it may be impossible to open without proving to authorities you have trained your staff. Being cleared to go back to business is a big moment for any organization, and you don’t want to be denied because of a lack of training.
The effects of training on preventing the spread of contagious illness can also extend beyond the present pandemic. Employees who receive lessons on how not to spread infections to their colleagues and customers, as well as safe practices for riding on public transportation or interacting with potentially dangerous environments, may be better equipped to stay healthy through cold and flu season in the future. A more knowledgeable and responsible approach to disease prevention can lower absenteeism rates during times of widespread illness and keep productivity strong.
Holding training sessions can also help you reduce your organization’s liability. If an employee does contract COVID-19, that worker could potentially take legal action against your business if the environment was unsafe. An inability to prove your team members received training on how to avoid catching or spreading the coronavirus paints a negative picture of your organization. If you do invest in formal training and keep records on which employees received this training, it’s clear the business did its part to keep workers informed and safe.

What Are Today’s Health and Safety Training Modules Like?

Due to online distribution of training materials, producers of educational content have been able to create courses specifically about the risks of the pandemic and get them into employers’ hands securely. These modules are designed to test employees’ knowledge with interactive quiz questions, ensuring the people taking the courses have internalized the knowledge. This confirmation step is especially important when dealing with the best practices of disease prevention – you want employees to pay attention to these materials.
Courses dealing with COVID-19 prevention and general infectious disease preparation cover a wide variety of scenarios, because workplaces are not the only settings where your employees could contract or spread an infection. Staying safe means taking precautions and using good sense when at home, when in transit and at work. By giving your employees up-to-date training materials, you’re helping them adopt this kind of safe lifestyle. Bringing your company back from COVID-19 successfully means preparing the individual employees who work there.

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