As we go back to work, remember to keep safety in mind

The COVID-19 pandemic put occupational and business safety at the forefront like no other phenomenon has in recent memory. Suddenly, everyone – not just the construction worker or plant manager – had workplace safety top of mind.

Sure, it’s been about avoiding illness rather than accidents – about clean surfaces, airflow, and the space between desks. But at the core, it’s still about identifying health and safety risks and taking the necessary measures to mitigate them.

Now, more than a year after a coast-to-coast commercial shut down, National Safety Month is a good time to review the guidelines for returning to work that is available from The White House, the Center for Disease Control, and the Department of Labor. The Texas Association of Mexican American Chambers of Commerce (TAMACC) can also provide expert guidance and resources for businesses and non-profits that are getting back to “the new normal.”

“We want businesses to know that they are not alone in this,” said TAMACC Chairman Samuel Guzman. “We have access to the leading experts, thought leaders, and resources they can use to ensure safety for their employees and customers through this pandemic and beyond.”

Ongoing mitigation could include training for workers so they can recognize the signs of illness and take the appropriate measures, as well as engineering and design to implement shields and spacing where necessary and appropriate. It also means taking necessary safety measures at home for those employees who will continue to work from home either full time or part-time.

But not everyone has had that luxury. Multiple surveys show that a higher number of Hispanics are in “essential jobs” that continued to work onsite throughout the pandemic. Employees in health care and some service industries have had to take extraordinary measures to stay safe while working with a highly contagious virus on the loose. It is one of the reasons why Latinos are almost twice as likely to get COVID-19 and more than four times as likely to be hospitalized.

As others start to go back to their offices, warehouses, factories, and manufacturing centers, they are returning to new operations and procedures that they may not be as familiar with as they were before the pandemic. This could lead to accidents and businesses must ensure that there is enough information and training to avoid workplace incidents and fatalities.

“We need to be inoculated against more than just the virus. We need to continue to guard ourselves against trips and falls and slips and burns, some of the more common occupational hazards that occur,” Guzman said. “People are going back to work after months, and in some cases a year, of not doing those duties. They need to keep safety utmost in mind.

“At TAMACC, we have the information and experience to help businesses spring forward without hurting themselves – or anyone else.”

For more information:

And remember to wash your hands.