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Develop a COVID-19 Disease Preparedness & Response Plan for Your Mailroom

4 minutes

An infectious disease preparedness and response plan can help keep your mailroom/delivery workforce grounded and give them the tools to manage their response to COVID-19.

The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) provides a guide for considerations in developing or revising your current plan here.

Please keep in mind that you should also stay knowledgeable regarding federal, state, local tribal, and territorial health agencies' guidance, and consider how to incorporate any additional recommendations into your mailroom's specific plan.

Your Plan Should Address:

  • Where, how, and to what sources of COVID-19 might mailroom workers be exposed.
  • Identify any non-occupational risk factors for your workers that arise from their homes or communities.
  • Mailroom workers' individual risk factors.
  • Mailroom controls that address workers' individual risk factors.
  • Human resource contingencies from increases in worker absenteeism.
  • Cross-training of employees in case of a need for additional human resource support.
  • The need for social distancing, staggered work shifts, and downsizing operations.

The Where, How & What to COVID-19 Exposure

It is essential to consider how your mailroom staff and package delivery recipients may increase the risk of exposure. Ask yourself who visits the mailroom in a typical day and with which frequency to guide your plan in addressing risk mitigation.

For example, on a normal business day, the following people may enter the mailroom:

  • Your staff
  • Postal couriers
  • Delivery couriers (such as UPS, Fedex, Amazon)
  • Shift managers
  • Facility managers such as janitors
  • Package recipients

Review your place to identify where you can minimize COVID-19 exposure for all of the above.

Identify and Address Non-Occupational Risk Factors

Despite lockdowns and guidelines around social distancing, there may be external variables that your plan should consider. As an example, your staff may visit supermarkets on days off, and, as a result, may experience symptoms or get sick. Your plan needs to address such circumstances and put in precautions to ensure your mailroom is prepared.

You may choose to:

  • Create educational material for your mailroom staff on the importance of social distancing
  • Hold weekly meetings to keep your staff informed on any latest developments and findings concerning COVID-19, so your staff is aware of the latest information and guidelines.
  • Speak to the importance of wearing masks when they leave their homes to go shopping.
  • Purchase small hand-sanitizer bottles for everyone so they can have a quick way to clean their hands once they get back into their cars after a grocery trip.
  • Educate workers on the effective types of sanitization products tested to be effective against COVID-19.

Mailroom Workers' Individual Risk Factors

As information is released surrounding COVID-19, it is essential to keep current to identify any individual risk factors among your staff. This will ensure that your plan takes into consideration the diversity of your workforce and how individual risk factors may make them more susceptible to illness.

A few risk factors to keep in mind:

  • Older age
  • Presence of chronic medical conditions
  • Pregnancy

Addressing this point in your plan will increase the chances of keeping these employees safer by taking extra precautions or by temporarily cross-training them to help where they may be at less risk.

Human Resource Contingencies & Cross-Training

As address in our Effects of COVID-19 on your Mailroom or Delivery Management Process (OSHA) guide. Your mailroom may experience an increased risk of absenteeism during COVID-19 for the various reasons addressed in our guide. As a result, your plan should address the maintaining of operations with a reduction in mailroom staff and/or cross-trained staff. Communicate with other departments on-site to see if you can mutually benefit from cross-training a few employees on each team in the event of unexpected absenteeism.

Social Distancing, Staggered Work Shifts, and Downsizing

Current guidelines advise the maintenance of 6ft (2m) of social distancing between individuals to minimize the spread of COVID-19. To help with ensuring distance within your mailroom, perhaps create posters to remind individuals to practice social distancing.

You may consider laying tape on the floor to indicate 6ft markers while package recipients wait in line. OSHA also recommends staggering work shifts to decrease the number of employees in a particular space. Staggered shifts may help reduce exposure to COVID-19 by minimizing the necessary staff needed to keep up with demand.

Lastly, these staggered shift considerations may result in you identifying the appropriate number of staff and can identify ways to downsize operations temporarily.

Let Others Know If You Found This Helpful We encourage you to share this guide if you found it helpful in optimizing or creating your COVID-19 preparation plan.

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