Guidance to Keep Your Workers Safe from Coronavirus

By now, you’re probably familiar with coronavirus, the global pandemic that’s causing towns, counties, states and even entire countries to issue “shelter in place” orders to prevent the spread of the disease. Coronavirus, or COVID-19, is a highly contagious virus that produces flu-like symptoms and can be deadly to the elderly or immunocompromised.

As business leaders, this requires reevaluating and restructuring everyday operations to keep employees safe.

How coronavirus spreads

Coronavirus is transmitted through the air, usually on droplets from coughing or sneezing. This illness is characterized by an upper respiratory infection, which can be deadly if you’re over age 65 or have underlying health issues. The most common symptoms include fever over 100.4 degrees Fahrenheit, a dry cough, and shortness of breath.

Symptoms may not appear until 2-14 days after contact, and it can be spread even if you don’t get sick. That’s why so many states are limiting contact between people and “social distancing” has become the nation’s new buzz phrase.

Health and safety guidelines to stop the spread of illness

If your business requires employees to be on-site to perform their job duties, it’s imperative that you take measures to ensure each person’s health and safety. Experts have offered the following tips:

  • • Promote good hygiene. Let your employees know that handwashing or sanitizing is a must, and provide sufficient breaks and facilities to keep up.
  • • Require sick employees to stay home. Since the virus spreads so easily, sick employees must stay home to avoid infecting other people—even if they don’t think they have coronavirus. They should not return to work until they’re fully recovered.
  • • Require traveling employees to stay home. Anyone who has traveled recently, whether for work or pleasure, is at increased risk of carrying the virus. It’s important that those employees stay home for two weeks in order to ensure they are not contagious.
  • • Promote social distancing. If you’re still working on-site, do your best to keep employees six feet or more from each other and customers whenever possible.

Other considerations

As the pandemic continues, savvy management will start making plans now to mitigate the financial burden on the business. Many companies, once resistant to allowing employees to work from home, are finding it’s the best way to keep their business alive. With today’s technology, it’s easier than ever to stay connected to your workforce, even if you can’t come face to face.

If you’re looking for great remote employees to get your business through the coronavirus pandemic, Award Staffing can connect you with candidates who have the skills to succeed. Reach out to us today to find out how we can help.

How to be Safe When Using Lift Equipment

When associates are required to use mobile aerial work platforms, forklifts, or pallet jacks, it is essential to ensure they are operating them as safely as possible. This article will address the primary forms of lift equipment used by our associates and serves to remind us all of the importance of being aware of our surroundings to ensure that everyone remains safe and accident-free.


Lifts are designed to elevate personnel on a platform supported by scissors, masts or booms. Work platforms are essential when technicians must perform work for extended periods at elevations where a guarded, fixed work surface is not available. They offer flexible, versatile access to elevated locations and tend to be safer than ladders and other access equipment when working at higher elevations. But for these essential pieces of equipment to be as safe and efficient as possible, users must operate and maintain them according to regulations and manufacturer requirements.

Common safety violations leading to citations or accidents include:
• lack of fall protection
• tip-overs
• working near live power
• crushing and pinch-points
• objects falling from platforms
• unstable surfaces.

The leading causes of these problems include a lack of training, misuse of equipment, and not following manufacturer guidelines. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor’s fatality statistics, 75 percent of scissor lifts that tipped over resulted in fall deaths. In the remaining accidents, workers died from being struck by the falling scissor lift. About 40 percent of the tip-overs occurred when an operator extended the scissor lift higher than 15 feet, mostly while driving the unit. In 20 percent of the falls, the worker was ejected from the scissor lift, generally when the lift hit another object. Other fall deaths occurred after operators removed chains or guardrails or while users stood on or leaned over railings. (U.S. Bureau of Labor, 2015)

Forklift Safety-

Approximately 100 workers are killed each year as a result of forklift accidents. About 1/4 of these fatalities are caused by forklifts overturning. Other common causes are workers being struck by materials, workers being struck by the forklift, and workers falling from the forklift.

12 Forklift Safety Rules-
1. Only allow certified employees to operate forklifts
2. Maintain a safe following distance from other forklifts – about three vehicle lengths.
3. Follow speed limit and other regulations
4. Drive with load low – six or eight inches off the ground – and tilted slightly back
5. Exercise extra caution when driving over duckboards and bridge plates and make sure the load is within the forklift’s capacity as well
6. Raise and lower the load only when stopped
7. Stop and sound the horn at intersections
8. Avoid sharp turns.
9. Keep arms and legs inside the vehicle
10. Be sure to wear a hard hat and other protective equipment when necessary
11. Be sure the load is stable and secure
12. When leaving the forklift, lower the forks, neutralize the controls, shut it off and set the brakes (NCSU, 2015)

Pallet Jack Safety-

Often employers do not require certification for non-motorized pallet jacks because initially this equipment is not seen as a hazard, but they still can cause damage to employees and bystanders. Pallet jacks are used to make easy work out of what would usually be multiple person jobs lifting a load from point A to B eliminating the strain and energy while also saving time.

When operating a pallet jack (even for a short time span) workers should wear the correct safety equipment including steel capped boots, gloves, and safety eyewear (when transporting dangerous chemicals). There are also some safety precautions workers need to keep in mind when operating a pallet jack which includes:

• Never place feet under a machine
• Never exceed the advised capacity
• Use proper lifting techniques when loading/unloading and operating the pallet jack
• Move the load slowly to ensure safety in case surroundings change
• Always push the load (never pull the load)
• When going down on an incline, go in reverse
• Be wary of pinch points to avoid hand injuries
• Ensure the pallet jack is in excellent condition before use
• Use it correctly to ensure employee’s safety and the safety of the people in the surrounding area.
(U.S. Bureau of Labor, 2015)

Secure Work Areas-

Lift operators must be aware of activities taking place near their lift work areas. It is essential to keep the public, employees, and other building occupants away from these areas. They also should be careful when using lifts in public-traffic areas, especially where doorways might swing into the equipment, or nearby elevators might open. Isolating the immediate work area is essential to prevent anything from bumping into the lift, and to minimize worries about objects falling from the lift and hitting someone.

As the lift is elevating, the operator and employees on the ground should make sure appropriate clearance exists, so overhangs or other protrusions do not cross the path of the moving platform. This precaution will prevent injuries to workers and damage to building components. (OSHA, 2015)

In Conclusion-

Being mindful of the above information, ensuring that all associates receive the proper lift equipment training and re-training, and constantly reminding everyone to work safely, will help to reduce workplace incidents, control Workers’ Compensation costs, and ensure that our associates are as safe as possible.

Need some help? Contact Award Staffing. We will be able to match you up with interviews in your area so you can get the job opportunity you want. We have offices located in Bloomington, Chaska, Crystal, Delano, Maplewood, and Ramsey Minnesota to help you with your job search today!

How to Promote Safety with New Employees

When you’re running a company, safety should be of utmost importance in order to reduce injury and stay on top of risk. Many unsafe situations can be attributed to new employees not knowing policies or not knowing what these unsafe situations are. Here’s how you can promote safety with new employees:

Be Proactive

Don’t wait for an incident to occur to tell a new employee that they’re in the wrong or not following directions closely enough. Sometimes, consequences of doing so can be so disastrous that the post-incident instructions might not even be effective. Make sure to train your new employee as you’re going about your day in order to increase the likelihood that you can proactively cover different issues.

Reward Good Behavior

Good behavior often goes hand-in-hand with safety, so it’s a great idea to reward good behavior. You can do this, however, your company decides, but it is important to publicly recognize new employees for good behavior. When you do so, you are cementing the importance of safety for your entire company and setting the precedent for any new employees to come.

Review the Policies Regularly

Your company has safety policies that help keep everyone in line, appropriate, and ultimately safe. It’s your job to see that your new employee knows the policies and adheres to them whenever possible. If you do this, you will avoid a lot of unsafe situations as the new employee will be more aware of their possibilities.

Ask if There Are Questions

A lot of unsafe situations are created simply by new employees being confused. Make sure you check in with your new employee regularly to see if s/he has any questions. If they don’t understand a rule or policy, keep explaining it to them in different ways until they do. Different employees have different learning styles, so as long as you cater to them, you should be on the right path.

If you have reviewed these suggestions and think it’s time to hire a new employee, contact Award Staffing. We will help you find an employee who is well-suited for your company and also is a rule follower. Much of the confusion surrounding safety can be avoided at the hiring stage; we’d like to help you do that.



Want to learn more about how Award Staffing can help your organization with your staffing and employment needs? Start by providing our team with a few pieces of information about yourself, and we will take care of the rest.

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5 Easy Ways Protect Your Eyes at Work

As an employee of a light industrial company, your eyes are one of your most important assets. However, many light industrial jobs require skillsets and tasks that can put your eyes in danger. Protect your eyes while working by following specific safety measures. The two best ways to protect your eyes at work are to avoid harmful situations and enable best safety practices. Here are some dangerous conditions you should avoid:

1. Avoid Direct Sunlight-

If you’re working in the direct sunlight, you are potentially exposing your eyes to harmful UV rays. Over time, direct sunlight can have detrimental effects on your eyes such as blindness and blurred vision.

2. Be Cautious of Contaminants-

Contaminants are usually chemicals, whether liquid or gas, that can cause serious harm to your eyes. Some pollutants are so strong that they could blind you or seriously impair your vision instantly.

3. Watch out for Particles-

If you’re working in a job that requires construction or deconstruction, the chances are that you have particles flying around you most of the day. Particles can irritate your eye and potentially cause serious harm if they are not removed quickly. Protect your eyes is to adopt certain safety practices in response to these harmful situations. Here are some safety practices you should enable:

4. Wear Sunglasses if You’re Working Outside and Goggles if You’re Working Inside-

One of the most important ways you can protect your eyes is to shield them from harm. If you’re working outside, you should wear sunglasses on a regular basis. Sunglasses will protect your eyes from harmful UV rays, but they will also protect you from air-borne particles. If you’re working inside, wear protective goggles. The goggles will protect you from air-borne particles.

5. Wash Your Hands Before Touching Your Eyes-

The best way to protect yourself from contaminants, in addition to protective goggles, is to wash your hands before touching your eyes. When you do this, you are erasing the pollutants from your hand so that you won’t accidentally touch your eye. Develop a regular habit of washing your hands as soon as you finish working with a harmful substance to reduce the risk of irritation and contamination. Your eyes are particularly susceptible to harm. Make an effort to keep them protected when you are at work. Award Staffing believes in safety on the job.

If you are looking for a job in the light industrial field where safety matters, contact Award Staffing to be matched up with a company that fits your needs perfectly. We have offices located in Bloomington, Chaska, Crystal, Delano, Maplewood, and Ramsey Minnesota to help you with your job search today!