The current COVID -19 crisis has revealed how much planning and preparation is needed to deal with the type of pandemic that can happen in our modern connected world. One way to prepare is creating an Infectious Disease Response Plan. This is a plan that outlines how your legal cannabis or hemp business will handle the outbreak of an infectious disease. With the designation of cannabis as an essential service in several legal states it is important to have a formal plan for how you operate, comply with recommended practices, and protect your workers.
Having a set of written safety plans is an important part of protecting any business. If you have employees, they are required. Adding an Infectious Disease Response Plan to your Accident Prevention Plan and Emergency Action Plan is just another way to lower risk and protect employees.
Your response plan should include several key components identifying strategies for exposure control, preparedness, and response. It is important to start by outlining employer and employee responsibilities during the outbreak. Managers and supervisors will play a key role in implementing any plan, so ensure their role is clearly defined in your plan. For employees it is crucial they know the symptoms and understand how to report any illness to their supervisor. Having a clear policy on sick and paid leave goes hand in hand with executing your response plan.
Next you want to outline the steps you are taking to protect employees and customers. This will include cleaning and disinfecting, methods for social distancing, visitors, general policies, and PPE. With a variety of workplaces within the cannabis and hemp industry it is important to make sure your plan works for your operation. For example, if you are in a state where you may be doing delivery, be sure your plan covers how to handle in home or instore deliveries. If you are in a dispensary or retail store, make sure you include plans for social distancing with customers.
Due to the nature of infectious disease your plan should also outline exposure situations. One of the big questions for business owners is how to handle employees who may have symptoms or a positive test. Clearly, they do not report to work, but what is the protocol for how you handle positive tests and quarantine of any exposed employees? Using OSHA and CDC guidance your plan can help you and your staff know what to do in these moments.
Recordkeeping is another important detail. Maintaining good records is crucial. Once you have a response plan you must train your staff on that plan and keep good records of that training, as well as your safety meetings and trainings. It is the best way to protect yourself and ensure your employees have the information they need to act safely.
Contact Think Happy Consulting today for help with your response plan, we have the templates and expertise to help.