Employers Face a New Challenge

A sponsored message from

K. Scott Wester, President/CEO of Our Lady of the Lake

The start of Phase 2 of the reopening of Louisiana comes as a great relief to many business owners and executives. Most operations were reduced to a crawl during the stay-home order to thwart the spread of COVID-19.

It’s working. The number of hospital admissions is dropping, but now the risks are going up.

Just when our economy is stumbling back to health, the people of our workforce and their families are at greater risk from catching the novel coronavirus. If we’re not vigilant with social distancing, masking and prudent disinfection routines then we face the risk of a resurgence and another shutdown more crippling than the first.

Employers are now on the front lines of fighting the novel coronavirus. You should be enforcing social distancing, masking and symptom screening of employees. And you have to urge employees to stay home if they don’t feel well.

It’s a difficult task. Where do you send an employee for testing if they get sick? How do you know when it’s safe for someone who was sick to return to work?

The good news is Our Lady of the Lake is helping employers make those crucial business decisions. We created Louisiana Safe at Work, a program the proves information, resources and consulting to employers.

Start by downloading our free employer toolkit. It has helpful guidance, tips and tactics to make your workplace safer.

You can also contract with us for more intensive support and consulting that we can tailor to your organization. We can assess your workplace and provide specific recommendations for social distancing, disinfection procedures and symptom screening, as well as provide training to your employees on infection prevention procedures.

We’ve already started working with local organizations. Breazeale, Sachse & Wilson sought to make sure the law firm’s employees and their families are safe and healthy through the COVID-19 pandemic.

Having immediate access to quality healthcare if and when they need it is a major part of their effort to help keep their people safe and healthy. 

“It was an easy decision for us to contract with Our Lady of the Lake to provide priority access to testing and care should anyone become symptomatic,” says Managing Partner Scott Hensgens.

“Having the services in place if they become necessary provides a great deal of comfort to our employees and management,” he says. “It is reassuring to know the good doctors and staff at Our Lady of the Lake are there.”

Before the Catholic Diocese of Baton Rouge reopened its offices, leaders there sought guidance to ensure they were doing everything necessary to prevent the spread of infection. Our Lady of the Lake conducted a full facility review and assessed and helped the diocese revise infection prevention steps including social distancing, disinfection procedures and supplying signage.

The work provided important reassurance for employees to feel safe at work, says Anita Krail, human resources director for the diocese. “We had one employee whose wife was worried about him returning to work but when he saw all the steps Our Lady of the Lake helped us with she felt much better,” she said.

Beyond those specific steps, keeping workplaces safe requires a significant attitude change, explains Dr. Catherine O’Neal, our chief medical officer and infectious disease specialist at Our Lady of the Lake.

“People can’t congregate closely and visit without masks on because that’s how the virus spreads,” she said. “That means employers will have to constantly reinforce the message that you can’t congregate; distancing has to occur.”

A second big change: employees must not go to work if they feel sick. What constituted being sick last year is very different than today, Dr. O’Neal says. “Now if you don’t feel normal--maybe you have a sore throat or diarrhea--you can’t assume it’s simply allergies or something you ate. You need to stay home.”

If you’re interested in partnering with Our Lady of the Lake to put in place best practices to prevent the spread of infection in the workplace, call our business development specialist Jill Wyble at 225-765-4003, or send an email to safeatwork@fmolhs.org.

The novel coronavirus is still with us, and we have to work together to prevent it from bouncing back.

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