New York State’s PAUSE is slowing lifting across the State region by region, with Long Island’s Phase I businesses given the green light to resume operations effective May 27th.  Phase I businesses include construction, curbside retail service, manufacturing, and wholesale trade.  Phase II businesses including professional services, finance and insurance, administrative support, retail and real estate shall be authorized to begin operations in accordance with the New York Forward guidance in two (2) weeks, provided that Phase I proceeds safely.  In all cases, businesses are required to develop and maintain a written COVID Safety Plan for reopening their operations; this Plan must be acknowledged online with the State. The Plan must include a workplace safety evaluation and detail measures that will be implemented to protect workers and customers from exposure to the virus.  

Since Walden was formed in 1995, our Health and Safety professionals have evaluated and solved a variety of workplace safety issues for clients, including indoor air quality, mold, lead, Legionella and general OSHA compliance.  Walden has already applied the health and safety knowledge gained over the last 25 years to preparing COVID Safety Plans for our offices so we are ready to safely reopen. We are experienced and ready to help you navigate through the essential process of evaluating, planning and implementing a safe reopening program.  

Ten (10) key items to consider before reopening are listed below:

(1) Review staffing needs and develop a 25% occupancy plan for work spaces (rotate staff between “work from home” to work place attendance). 

(2) Evaluate air circulation and install additional ventilation via HVAC system modifications or mechanical ventilation measures tied to windows and doors. 

(3) Mark areas of close contact and add signage to designate these areas and indicate safe practices to be followed.

(4) Install physical barriers to protect workers and visitors from close contact areas and use of common areas. 

(5) Establish worker/customer separation guidelines and identify pinch points. 

(6) Assign rules for personal space and procedures for incursions into such space (i.e., cubicles or equipment operations areas), as well as procedures for delivery/pickup of supplies and equipment in the workplace.

(7) Establish procedures for entry and health screening before entering the workplace, including temperature checks, personal statements and signed employee agreements. 

(8) Purchase and maintain stock of key PPE including latex gloves, N95 or equivalent face masks and eye protection/face shields; establish PPE use and replacement schedules. 

(9) Establish cleaning expectations and frequency; maintain adequate stock of cleaning supplies.

(10) Conduct employee training sessions to present new workplace Standard Operating Procedures (SOPs) and detail the workplace changes that must be followed to keep everyone safe.

All workplaces are required to establish safe working conditions under OSHA’s General Duty Clause.  Walden’s Health and Safety experts have extensive experience with developing and implementing safe work practices across all areas of workplace risk.  If you feel overwhelmed by the reopening requirements or want help in developing a site-specific plan for your workplace, please call Walden. At Walden, we are known for our responsiveness and quick turn-around to fulfill our clients’ needs. We are ready to help get your business up and running safely as soon as New York State PAUSE allows.