How To Keep Your Essential Workers Safe During COVID-19
Over the past month, nearly every single industry has been affected by the coronavirus pandemic with many businesses moving to a remote workforce and making other significant adjustments to their operations. Essential workers, however, are still serving their job functions and playing a major role on the frontlines or behind the scenes, often for long periods of time and at a risk to their own health. Here’s how you can help keep your essential workers (our personal heroes) safe during this difficult, and constantly changing, time.
What Is An Essential Worker?
As we’ve witnessed firsthand, there are a lot of jobs across many industries and fields required to ensure the rest of us can stay home safe. The first positions that come to mind are certainly our healthcare workers – the incredible doctors, nurses, caregivers, paramedics and EMTs who are directly fighting this contagious pathogen. However, they aren’t the only ones who need additional support at this time.
With restricted access to so much of the infrastructure we rely on in our daily lives, essential workers are stepping in to help us access the resources and services we need:
- Law enforcement and first responders are helping to monitor and enforce Stay at Home or Shelter in Place mandates and keep people safe.
- Maintenance staff are continuing to clean and sanitize offices, warehouses and food preparation areas.
- Delivery personnel and truck drivers are ensuring we receive the supplies we need including package and mail delivery.
- Warehouse and grocery store personnel are restocking shelves and managing deliveries and inventory daily to ensure we have access to necessary supplies.
- Manufacturers are working hard to produce ventilators, PPE, and other essential items for hospitals and healthcare workers.
- Utility workers are working to keep our power on and water running.
- Workers employed in the food industry are preparing food for takeout and delivery during this time when we cannot go out to eat.
- Educators and daycare workers are holding virtual lessons for students and taking care of children of essential workers during their shifts.
- Many ancillary businesses remain open and bank, post office, pharmacy and gas station employees are still showing up to work to support us.
How To Support Essential Workers
It is critical that we support essential workers physically and mentally, both at work and at home. Here are some things to keep in mind.
Staying Healthy At Work
Educate your workforce with accurate, up-to-date information on the signs and symptoms of COVID-19 and have both training and access to supplies to protect them from exposure. The Vector Solutions Coronavirus Resource Center contains complimentary training and up-to-date resources with important information for individuals and businesses, including free EMS training for law enforcement agencies. Other reputable resources for this information include the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and World Health Organization websites.
Monitor the physical and mental health of your essential workers. This is the primary way you can protect them from contracting and spreading COVID-19 at work. Our free webinar, Monitoring Your Agency’s Health During The COVID-19 Crisis, can help you track daily health inspections for every department member. While the webinar utilizes the TargetSolutions Check It™ application, the information can be useful to those who do not currently have access to this solution by helping you understand how to customize your daily check protocol for your organization’s needs.
Communicate and set a protocol so that your essential workers know what to do if they suspect they have been exposed to COVID-19. Vector’s Coronavirus Resource Center includes complimentary training on how to check and monitor for symptoms at work and at home, as well as how to identify what steps to take if workers suspect they are sick. Another good resource is the CDC’s comprehensive guide to School, Workplace & Community Locations.
Update and enforce your workplace safety program. If you don’t have one, or it needs updating, here are 5 Steps To Create A Best-in-Class Workplace Safety Program. Once you’re ready, communicate it clearly and enforce it, so workers know they can trust you to keep them safe.
Managing Mental Stress & Anxiety
Many essential workers are working extra hours or double shifts in order to perform critical vital services, and may be getting little rest or less time with their families and loved ones. Not only is this physically taxing for them, it’s also mentally taxing and can cause a high amount of stress and anxiety. This is why it’s important that they maintain a healthy mental state during and after their shifts as well as have an opportunity to recharge during their time away from their duties.
Learn how to spot and manage stress and anxiety among your employees. Our complimentary course on Managing Stress & Anxiety During the Coronavirus is available in our Coronavirus Resource Center. Along with other free resources, this course is designed to help individuals define stress and anxiety; identify common signs and symptoms; and, identify how to reduce stress for yourself and others.
Share resources that can help your essential workers and their families stay safe at home. Our complimentary webinar, “Coping with COVID-19: Mental Health Tips to Help Children and Families,” is now available in our Coronavirus Resource Center and provides tips on how to reduce and manage adult and child stress by developing schedules and maintaining contact with family and friends. Additionally, the CDC’s Daily Life & Coping Guide contains useful information like a household checklist on effective preventative steps and symptoms, as well as resources for pet owners, how to safely run errands and how to cope with stress and anxiety.
Research your local area for businesses and resources that are supporting essential workers, such as with early shopping hours like Costco and many grocery stores.
Share accurate information with your workers and their families. By serving as a source of calm and competency, you can help your essential workers take comfort knowing they are supported and cared for, and that what they are doing is appreciated.
Avoiding The Crisis After The Crisis
As much as we’d love to believe it, everything won’t magically go back to normal when this immediate crisis has passed and the social distancing and quarantine measures are lifted.
Adults and children alike, we will have to process our experience during this difficult time and adjust to our new reality. It’s critical that we continue connecting and supporting one another in the weeks and months ahead.
We’re here to help.
In these uncertain, fast-changing times, we value our community and essential workers more than ever. And we want you to know we’re here to help.
We’re continuing to provide all the products and services you know and rely on from our trusted brands while adding new resources and innovative solutions to help you navigate through this unprecedented time. The Vector Solutions Coronavirus Resource Center is packed with online learning and resources to help you navigate this uncertain time.
We’re ready to help you so you can continue to help others.