OUR DEDICATED RISK MANAGEMENT TEAM IS HERE FOR YOU
Get helpful tools and resources to support your business to comply with local and national mandates, mitigate risk, ensure safety and take steps toward disaster recovery.
CUSTOM DOWNLOADS FOR YOUR BUSINESS
We have compiled some helpful tools for you to share with your staff and promote safety updates in response to COVID-19
COVID-19 BUSINESS PREPARATION
Careful consideration should be given to preparing your business for safe operations during the high risk period of COVID-19 response. Updated regulations from OSHA and the CDC provide guidelines on how best to comply with revised regulations.
Guidance and safety measures for restaurants and beverage vendors (5/8/20)
Prevention and safety measures for the manufacturing industry (4/16/20)
Prevention and safety measures for delivery services (4/13/20)
Prevention and safety measures for retailers (4/8/20)
Secure your business and employees with prevention measures (March 2020)
Guidance for businesses to plan and respond to COVID-19 (March 2020)
Business help to identify risk levels in workplace settings and
establish control measures (March 2020)
Recommendations for US community facilities with
suspected COVID-19 cases (March 2020)
Safety & Risk Management Team
FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS
With coronavirus concerns dominating the headlines, many employers and employees are seeking guidance on what they can and cannot require of employees who may have been exposed to coronavirus (COVID-19). Our HR and safety experts are working with local employers on various coronavirus-related issues.
Below are some of the most frequently asked questions:
What do we know about coronavirus COVID-19?
- It’s spread by droplets from coughing and sneezing, similar to the common cold.
- It has an incubation period of two weeks.
- It can live on surfaces for several days.
- Older adults and those with chronic medical conditions are at a higher risk for severe illness.
- There’s currently no effective treatment, only supportive care to help relieve symptoms.
What are the top preventative measures against the spread of COVID-19?
Promote hand hygiene and proper respiratory etiquette. The best defense against contracting the coronavirus is to practice good personal hygiene. Consider posting or sharing handwashing how-to information and providing hand sanitizer in common areas.
Clean and disinfect more frequently. COVID-19 can live on hard surfaces for a few days so regular sanitizing and disinfecting is essential. Many employers have already taken steps to increase cleaning frequency and are providing wipes and cleaning supplies to employees to clean their work spaces.
Minimize crowd exposure. Lower the risk of your workforce contracting COVID-19 by limiting group meetings and postponing events whenever possible.
What if my company has upcoming business-related travel?
As much as possible, avoid all non-essential business travel for the time being.
On March 19, 2020, the U.S. Department of State advised U.S. citizens to avoid all international travel due to the global impact of COVID-19.
On March 17, 2020, based on CDC recommendations, Governor Ige directed people in Hawaii to avoid all non-essential travel, including inter-island travel, with those returning to go into self-isolation for 14 days.
The CDC also mandates all travelers who have been in any Level 3 country or on cruise ship travel to self-quarantine for 14 days upon returning.
Under OSHA regulations, employees have the right to refuse work that puts them at risk, including work-related travel, if it meets certain conditions.
Last updated 3/19/20
What kinds of communication should I be sending my employees?
Communicating clearly and frequently with employees demonstrates your company’s commitment to safety.
In addition to the latest guidance on preventative measures, proactive information about scheduling, leave options, and quarantines can help alleviate uncertainty and stress.
Combat misinformation, fear-mongering and gossip—prevalent on social media and in company lunchrooms—by only sharing information from official sources.
Should I be considering alternative work arrangements?
Yes. Wherever possible, make flexible work arrangements to eliminate the possibility of transmission. This may mean shift work, reduced hours, remote work, telework, or other arrangements.
If your business operations allow for remote work, ensure employees have the right equipment, can access relevant emails, files, and software, and can participate in virtual meetings from home.
IT measures should be put into place to minimize security breaches.
What are some of the long-term business plans I need to be considering?
Make plans to maintain business functions in case you experience higher than usual absenteeism.
What are the most critical operations and how can you change business practices to sustain them? Are there any operations that can temporarily be suspended?
You might consider hiring temporary staff. If you are working with a staffing agency, reiterate the importance of employees staying at home when sick.
You should also assess who your key staff members are and cross-train personnel to perform essential functions to keep your workplace running smoothly.
My employee is showing symptoms of illness, what should I do?
Actively encourage sick people to stay home
Sick employees should be advised to stay at home. You may need to remind your managers to lead by example. If managers are regularly putting in long hours while completely under the weather, many staff will follow suit.
Among the CDC’s recommendations for employers, is the advice to not require a healthcare provider’s note for employees who are sick or trying to return to work, due to strain on the healthcare system. Employers should review their current policies and determine their level of flexibility, while balancing the needs of their operations and well-being of their workplace.
Employers are within their rights to send employees showing signs of illness home.
Depending on that employee’s status as exempt or non-exempt under the Fair Labor Standards Act, that leave may be paid or unpaid.
Be aware that employees who have used up their paid time off or don’t have paid leave available may not want to take time off, especially if they are not experiencing severe symptoms.
Cases of coronavirus are likely to be confirmed in the community as testing becomes more widely available. More people will be called upon as caregivers to affected loved ones and many may qualify for leave under the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) and/or the Hawaii Family Leave Law (HFLL).
I have an employee who tested positive. How do I inform employees while maintaining their confidentiality?
In the event that one of your employees is confirmed to have COVID-19 (or any other disability), keep in mind that the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) requires employers to:
- Treat this information as a confidential medical record.
- Engage in an interactive process with them.
- Provide reasonable accommodations.
Confidential medical information may only be shared in very limited circumstances. However, employers do have an obligation to inform other employees of their possible exposure so they can take proper measures.
To safeguard privacy:
- Be sure to exclude the affected employee’s name from all communication to other employees regarding the incident.
- Don’t indicate that someone is out sick on a schedule that other employees can see. Simply note that they are out of the office or unavailable.
Am I allowed to take my employees' temperature?
Yes, you can take the body temperature of employees during the COVID-19 pandemic.
New EEOC guidance issued March 18, 2020 states:
“Generally, measuring an employee’s body temperature is a medical examination. Because the CDC and state/local health authorities have acknowledged community spread of COVID-19 and issued attendant precautions, employers may measure employees’ body temperature. However, employers should be aware that some people with COVID-19 do not have a fever.”
See also: EEOC: Employers Now May Take Employees’ Temperatures (SHRM)