by Brianna Crandall — May 6, 2020 — As states begin the process of opening their economies following shelter-in-place orders due to COVID-19, business leaders will depend on safety and health professionals to accomplish that transition in a way that protects workers. The American Society of Safety Professionals (ASSP), said to be the world’s oldest professional safety organization, with nearly 40,000 members worldwide, is leading the way with a free webinar featuring return-to-work strategies and best practices that make safety and health a priority for employers in every industry. The organization has developed numerous other coronavirus-related resources as well, highlighted below.
ASSP President-Elect Deborah Roy, M.P.H., CSP, COHN-S, RN, answers questions and delivers return-to-work strategies for occupational safety and health (OSH) professionals in the Society’s latest webinar, posted April 29. Roy has more than 35 years of safety and health experience and has been involved in worksite pandemic planning at state and federal levels for more than a decade.
Some states and metropolitan areas have instituted their own rules — such as requiring masks or cloth face coverings in certain industries — but you still need to address engineering and administrative controls and add a risk assessment to your return-to-work plan. Facilities may start with 25 percent of their workers coming back and eventually ramp up using a physical distancing approach. A common mechanism for containment is to require employees to stay in their building on a larger campus or remain in their particular office area during the workday.
Roy’s presentation also addresses the need to conduct symptom checks, design work areas to limit exposure, use barriers to improve physical distancing, and maintain a policy on visitors entering the workplace.
The COVID-19: Updates and Return-to-Work Strategies return-to-work webinar is among many helpful COVID-19 resources available on the ASSP website.
Additional COVID-19 resources
ASSP’s COVID-19 Latest Resources webpage is updated regularly with webinars, podcasts, articles and links to government and public health authorities. Recorded COVID-19 webinars cover such topics as best practices for ventilation, best practices from industrial settings, managing sick and exposed employees at work and returning to work, risk management and more. Recent podcasts explore how OSH professionals can protect their organization’s workers while helping to slow the spread of the virus; ergonomics for your home workspace; and how to build a safety, health and environmental training program that can help protect workers wherever they are; among others.
ASSP’s annual Safety 2020 Professional Development Conference and Exposition has transformed into a virtual education event during the same three-day period of June 23-25. “Safety 2020: Virtual” will deliver the high-quality education and insights that safety professionals need to reduce injuries, illnesses and fatalities at their organizations worldwide, says ASIS.
For a limited time, ASSP is providing free online access to 330 recorded education sessions on many issues connected to workplace safety and health. The offer allows industry professionals to engage in on-demand learning from wherever they are located to gain knowledge from the experts who presented at Safety 2019 in New Orleans. The recorded sessions cover fall protection, fleet safety, health and wellness, personal protective equipment, risk assessment and management, and several other key topics. Safety professionals earn 0.1 continuing education units (CEUs) for each session. Visit the ASSP Store and use code LEARNFREE to get started.
The valuable role of occupational safety and health professionals in the nation’s coronavirus response has been recognized by the federal government in its updated guidance on essential infrastructure workers, which includes safety professionals. States reference this guidance in developing their specific response and recovery plans.