As businesses in Hawaii reopen in the wake of COVID-19, the simplicityHR Risk and Safety team has been connecting with clients across the islands.
“Personalized client relations is a hallmark of our department,” says Director of Risk Management John Fielding. “Our team has been making calls and providing virtual training for our business partners to ensure they are prepared to continue doing business safely.”
The seasoned team of experts—with more than 75 years of collective experience—has fielded questions regarding basic preventative measures, assisted business as they transitioned to remote work, prepared essential workers on the front lines, and provided virtual safety training to clients and their employees.
For clients like Hawaii Foodservice Alliance (HFA), who have been with simplicityHR since their inception in 2002, the support of our Risk and Safety team was integral in helping them host a food drive with surplus goods that made a large impact in the community.
“We organized a Zoom training for 100 remote field employees,” says HFA CFO Stephanie Buck. “John demonstrated how to properly wear, handle, clean, and store face coverings and shields. During challenging times, caring people and strong relationships are what hold us all together. We are grateful for the people at ALTRES!”
Working together to protect island communities
Reopening will be unique to every organization. Yet for all businesses, protecting employees and clients is a top priority. How you as an employer handle the situation and address your employees’ safety concerns will have a big impact on their physical and mental well-being.
For many small businesses, now is an opportunity to look at operations from a hazard analysis point of view. Doing so helps move employers and employees alike from fear-based thinking to workable solutions.
“Reduce COVID-19 down to a workplace hazard,” says Safety Consultant Britney Taʻamu-Miyashiro, who trains healthcare staff on the frontlines.
What steps are you going to take to address that hazard? Who is most vulnerable? What operations need to be changed? What products or tools need to be provided?
“As much as you can, involve your staff in the hazard analysis process,” she recommends. “Employee input for workplace safety is key to a successful safety program.”
“Your employees have a unique understanding of their job and the daily processes that are involved. It will allow you to minimize oversight and give your employees a sense of ownership in their work safety and health.”
The basics are the key to ease fear and promote safety
One common thread that our team finds themselves returning to is the importance of emphasizing the basics. Yes, we’ve heard it all before—wash your hands, keep your distance, cough into your elbow, mask up, and isolate when showing symptoms of illness.
Yet it’s attention to these basics that is the most effective in preventing the spread of COVID-19 and easing people’s fears about returning to work.
“Provide your employees with the tools they need to feel safe,” recommends Senior Safety Consultant Ben Kinney. “Hang up posters, ramp up your cleaning schedule, continue hosting meetings virtually, or get proper training for your employees from an expert.”
Protecting yourself and your employees does not have to involve a lot of money. Make sure hand sanitizer and disinfectant is available. If required, remind employees to continue wearing and washing cloth masks. For employees traveling to job sites, can they still carpool, or do you need multiple vehicles to maintain social distancing?
- COVID-19 Employer Resources: Risk, Safety and Disaster Management Resources
Like most risk and safety professionals, Kinney goes the extra mile. He’s often on the road in Maui, so he decided to build a mobile handwashing station in the back of his truck. While not a practical solution for most, it’s the kind of creative thinking that will come in handy these next few weeks and months.
“We are so proud of our team, their knowledge and commitment,” says Senior Safety Consultant Myles Unabia. “They have been at the forefront – virtually side by side with local business owners, easing fears and helping businesses take steps to reopen safely.”
If you could benefit from safety training or have a question for our experienced Risk and Safety Experts, contact us today!
Have a question for one of our HR experts? To learn more about this issue or to schedule a free consultation on the advantages of human resources outsourcing, contact simplicityHR.
This article is for informational purposes only and does not constitute legal advice. Readers should first consult their attorney, accountant or adviser before acting upon any information in this article.