While most return to work plans will focus on safety controls in the workplace, ensuring safety on the commute to work is just as important. The risk of getting infected on public transport may be a major cause of worry for your employees as they prepare to get back to work.
Getting into a congested train or bus during rush hours is daunting enough. With the threat of an infectious disease looming in the background, your employees may, understandably, be reluctant to use public transport to get to work.
So how do you ensure employee safety on public transport? To start with, when you recall staff to work, discuss how they plan to commute to work and any concerns they may have about it. Introduce staggered shifts to your workplace policy so that your staff can avoid using public transit during peak hours. You could also explore alternatives to taking public transport where possible.
What safety measures should employees observe while using public transit?
Inform your employees of government guidance on safely using public transit, including wearing face masks and practicing social distancing. Advise them to avoid taking crowded buses and subways. They should keep a safe distance from other passengers where possible.
It may also be a good idea for employees to factor in some extra time while planning their daily commute. This way they can wait for a less congested bus or train to arrive and not get late for work. Buses and trains may not also be operating to their full capacity due to social distancing. Starting early may save time in case they have to queue up at bus stations or subways.
If your employees are carpooling, they should limit the number of riders in the vehicle. All passengers must wear face coverings and keep the windows down.
What alternatives to public transport may be explored for commuting to work?
The best safety control is always to eliminate the risk altogether. You should recall only those staff members whose physical presence is essential for daily operations. All employees who can work from home (especially those at risk), should continue to do so till the pandemic is successfully contained or eradicated.
That said, you could explore the following alternatives:
- Encourage your staff to use their private vehicles by providing conveyance reimbursement or parking subsidies.
- If your employees live nearby, encourage them to walk or bike to work. You could also consider setting up temporary office spaces in suburbs where most of your staff is concentrated so that they can walk or bike to work.
- Everyone may not have private vehicles or live close enough to the workplace to ride bikes. Depending on how your staff is spread out across the city, you could consider running office shuttles for your employees. Or provide shuttles just for at-risk employees (those with medical conditions or of advanced years and hence more vulnerable to COVID-19).
Do you need help creating a COVID-19 Safety Plan for your workplace?
For advice on health and safety policies during the pandemic, call an expert today: 1 (833) 247-3652.