employee practicing safety washing hands

Tips for Safely Returning to Work in Houston

Houstonians know how to hustle; and, as we begin to navigate and understand our new ‘normal,’ the spirit of the city has not diminished. Just as Houston residents have united and worked together in the past, returning safely to work as a community is another challenge the city is capable of facing. Employees must practice proper hygiene and observe other safety practices to help reduce the spread of Coronavirus and other highly contagious diseases.

Common Concerns

It’s common and more than understandable that a fair amount of Houston’s workforce is hesitant to return to work, especially without being offered a clear and concise plan of action for employee safety by employers. While everyone can do their part to practice safe hygiene habits, employees look to their employers for systemic action. Businesses must provide employees with a plan for addressing COVID-19 transmission concerns at the workplace, including the use of proper signage to support said plan and personal protective equipment for employees when necessary. Sadly, even given the global health crisis and resurgence of positive cases across the country, businesses continue to place profits before employee health and safety.

Employees take great comfort in knowing their employers consider not only their health and safety but also in their loved ones’ safety when reopening. Investment in employee health should be important to corporations, and those that disagree are knowingly putting employees and their loved ones’ lives at risk. Human lives are not dispensable, and adequate action from employers can protect the health and safety of a community.

Practice Personal Safety

Employees returning to work can help protect themselves and others by practicing the following daily, while at work and at home, to help reduce the spread of Coronavirus:

Wear a mask. Employees should follow state and local mandates requiring the use of masks in areas where social distancing is not possible. Employees who work in close proximity to each other and patrons and in restricted airflow spaces – such as retail and grocery shops, restaurants, hotels, industrial warehouses, refineries and in-home services such as cleaning and care taking roles – should wear a mask at all times.

Practice proper hand hygiene. One of the simplest and easiest ways to protect yourself and others is to thoroughly and routinely wash your hands throughout the day – whether you’re in the workplace, at home, or out running errands. Regularly washing your hands with soap and warm water reduces the spread of germs and bacteria.

If you’re feeling ill, stay home. Unfortunately, many workers do not have the luxury of vacation time; however, reducing the spread of an infectious disease requires those who are not feeling well, displaying symptoms, and/or have been in close quarters with someone who has tested positive for COVID-19 or is displaying symptoms to stay home. Employers should work with sick employees to avoid the spread of infection to other coworkers, which will ultimately hinder the entirety of a workplace and its output.

What Employers Can Do

Employees can routinely practice proper hygiene but if employers do not implement safety plans and/or punish or threaten potentially infected employees, efforts towards a safe workplace fall short. Employers should strictly adhere to and practice all recommended guidelines specific to their industry as provided here by the Houston Work Safe Initiative. Additionally, employers can:

  • Encourage employee coronavirus testing
  • Provide safety information and proper signage throughout the workplace in languages all employees can understand
  • Provide symptom screenings for employees before they enter the workplace and/or travel for work
  • Provide social distancing decals and signage throughout the workplace
  • Require routine hand washing by all employees
  • Require and provide appropriate personal protective equipment (masks, goggles, etc.) for all employees

Houston Workplace Accident Attorneys

Houston workers are resilient and hardworking but that should not mean employers can skip out on providing them with a safe work environment. Far too often workers are injured or killed on the job due to the negligence and wrongdoing of employers or other companies working on the job site. If you or a loved one has been seriously injured or killed at work, you may be entitled to compensation. Contact the Houston workplace accident attorneys at Adame Garza today for a free and confidential new case consultation.