Preparing For Safe Workplace Re-entry Is Far From Done

HR Source CEO shares valuable employer resources from the SAFER Task Force.

Mary Lynn Fayoumi, CAE, SPHR, GPHR, SHRM-SCP
July 14, 2020

One of the questions I have been asked repeatedly during the coronavirus pandemic is, “What lessons have you learned?” Without hesitation, my answer always includes how impressed I have been with the willingness of people and organizations to collaborate for the greater good. One example is an initiative led by NSC, one of our nonprofit members. In mid-April, NSC formed SAFER: Safe Actions for Employee Returns, an alliance of more than 100 partner organizations, including Fortune 500 companies, leading safety organizations, small businesses, government agencies, trade associations, nonprofits, public health groups and medical professionals. The multi-faceted effort is focused on helping employers navigate the complex process of safely resuming operations given the challenges of the coronavirus pandemic.

I was honored to be invited to join the prestigious group of thought leaders who were beginning to coalesce around this critical issue. After the first few meetings of the SAFER Task Force and participation on various sub-committees, I was struck by the diversity of the contributors and the depth of the conversations. Given the pace at which the external environment has continued to evolve during the pandemic, my initial impressions regarding the quality of the participants have been further confirmed.

There is such a vast array of resources that I could elaborate on that have resulted from SAFER’s efforts, but I will focus on just a few. The sector-specific playbooks were one of the first deliverables we put together, a high priority for organizations grappling with how to best adjust their operations while keeping workers safe. I highly recommend taking a closer look at the SAFER homepage to see all the resources available. More recently, the Organizational Vulnerability Assessment has been shown to be an extremely helpful tool for organizations who are trying to determine where their greatest COVID-19 transmission risks are as employees return to the workplace.

If you are pressed for time (and what manager and HR professional isn’t these days?), here are a few specific items our leadership team has utilized that are both relevant and helpful, not only in our own decision-making, but also highly recommended to our 1,200 HR Source member employers.

The work of preparing for a safe workplace re-entry is far from done. Through weekly task force meetings and re-configured sub-groups, the SAFER taskforce continues to actively combine their collective wisdom to create additional insights, policies, guidelines and tools to ensure that safety is at the core of business decisions now and in the future. Having the opportunity to be engaged with such an esteemed group of experts from various industry sectors has been interesting and rewarding.

In the coming months, I look forward to continued participation in SAFER as we create additional employer resources that address ongoing challenges, including safety risk assessments, COVID-19 testing, policy issues, and mental health and wellbeing.

Mary Lynn Fayoumi, CAE, SPHR, GPHR, SHRM-SCP

Mary Lynn Fayoumi, CAE, SPHR, GPHR, SHRM-SCP is president and CEO of HR Source.

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