Returning to Work, Conforming with State and Federal Requirements, and Limiting Risk/Liability
Posted on June 19, 2020 by Steve Bardocz
To coin a phrase from Johnson Control’s Jason Ouellette in an article I recently read, "temperature sensing is a hot topic" right now. Why? Everyone wants to take steps to prevent the spread of COVID-19. Moreover, they want to protect their companies from risk and liability. Cases like the Tyson Case and the Amazon Case are running rampant right now and organizations are concerned about protecting their employees and protecting themselves at the same time. So what steps can you take?
- Create a plan. History shows that courts rule in favor of a plaintiff when it is deemed that there was negligence. That means you were aware of the risk as an organization, but chose to ignore the risks that could have prevented the incident. This plan should include identifying your organizations risk exposure as it relates to COVID-19 and the exposure of both your staff, visitors, business partners, and anyone they may come in contact with. You should also identify what the local state and federal requirements are for your type of organization. For example, long-term care facilities have strict requirements on incoming visitors and are under extreme scruitenty because of the high risk of their patients. The plan should then identify how you intend to address each of the risks.
- Create a documented policy and share it with employees.
- Have high-risk situations sign waivers.
- Leverage Technology
- Screening questions. "Have you been in contact with anyone who has been diagnosed with COVID-19 in the past 14 days?”, “Have you had any flu-like symptoms in the last 14 days?"
- Temperature. This could simply be a temporal scanner and paper, a temporal scanner and a tablet/kiosk, or a touch-free kiosk with an automated infrared temperature capture device.
In some states, certain types of organizations are required to implement screening questions and temperature checking before beginning work. This can be a burden to manually collect this information, store it, and retrieve it on-demand. Automatically recording each person that comes into the building with their temperature and their assessment/screening questions provides the audit information you need to prevent risk and demonstrate your commitment to the health and safety of your staff and visitors. This prevents your organization from being held liable for negligence. The larger the organization, the more employees, the higher the risk that an infected employee or even an infected employee's relative file suit. You need to protect your organization while balancing operating costs. That’s where technology comes into play. You want a solution that answers today’s needs but gives you benefit beyond COVID. Savance’s solution checks all the boxes. Automated screening. Automated temperature scanning. Grant access only after a successful screening. Touchless option. Self-cleaning against viruses and bacteria. What’s best, it’s our tried-and-trued staff tracking and visitor management system at it’s core. That means you can replace the visitor log book, paper sign-in sheets, paper-based mustering, magnetic in/out boards, and more. So you’re not just solving today’s problems, you’re investing in the future.
What’s even better? For those who were eligible for the PPP, on June 5th, changes were added that "allow borrowers to use loan funds to purchase personal protective equipment for employees and to pay for adaptive investments needed to reopen safely". So for some organizations, these upgrades can be completely free! Read about Savance’s COVID-19 solutions here; then contact Savance to learn more.