What is there left to say about this miserable year? You don’t need me to tell you about the COVID pandemic and how catastrophic it’s been, or enumerate the ways the coronavirus has taken over our lives. We’re all tired of lockdowns, quarantines, social distancing, remote work, masks, “the curve,” and so forth—not to mention overused terms like “unprecedented,” “new normal,” and [insert series of 4-letter words here].
Suffice it to say that 2020 has been the most difficult year in modern history, and the worst year of millions of people’s lives. But let’s not write it off completely. After all, from the standpoint of occupational health and safety, this year was the year many employers truly prioritized their workers’ well-being. If organizations paid as much attention to health and safety every year, they’d avoid countless incidents and save a lot more money.
It’s no surprise that the most popular posts on the KPA blog this year were primarily COVID-related. However, we also saw significant interest in articles on other workforce compliance and environment, health, and safety topics such as the Occupational Safety and Health Administration’s 10 most common violations. Hopefully, these trends indicate that organizations will only become safer, smarter, and more efficient in 2021 and beyond—even after the COVID pandemic has come to an end.
Until then, let’s look back on the last 12 months, reflect on what we’ve learned this year, and feel grateful for the fact that we made it through. Here are some of KPA’s top posts of 2020:
Working Safely During COVID-19
KPA has been providing COVID-19 state regulatory updates related to distancing orders (stay-at-home, etc.) and employment law changes (paid leave, unemployment benefits, etc.) and what employers may consider as they make decisions. Remaining open or getting back to work looks different in every state, and for every employer, but we have several recommendations any organization can use to ensure compliance and maximize their workers’ safety.
The Hierarchy of Controls Is the Best Defense We Have Against COVID-19
It’s the simple, powerful, time-tested tool that could save you from the apocalypse. No, we’re not talking about a shotgun or a flamethrower. I’m referring to the hazard control prevention system called the hierarchy of controls.
A hierarchy of controls is an approach to environmental safety (whether that environment is your workplace or home) that structures protective measures into 5 stages, in order of most to least effective:
3. Engineering Controls
4. Administrative Controls
5. Personal Protective Equipment
These measures, when followed and implemented correctly, can help you manage any kind of workplace risk, including the coronavirus. In fact, the hierarchy of controls may be the best defense we have against COVID.
Maps, Maps, and More Maps
Perhaps because of the way the virus spreads, spiking in one region while decreasing in another, as well as the differences between state responses to the pandemic, maps have emerged as crucial tools for employers navigating the COVID crisis in the US. We’ve created several maps you can use to view state-by-state breakdowns of response measures and workplace safety requirements:
- States That Require Safety Programs or Committees
- States That Require COVID-19 Training
- States That Require a COVID-19 Preparedness Plan
- States That Require Face Coverings to Prevent the Spread of COVID-19
- COVID-19 Response in the US: How Does Your State Rank?
So Long, 2020
Ready to say goodbye to this stinking heap of a year? Me too. Unfortunately, many of the same issues and uncertainties that plagued 2020 will continue through at least the early part of 2021. The good news is that a) vaccines will soon be available to the general public, and b) you don’t have to manage your workforce EHS and compliance concerns alone. See how KPA makes it easy to improve safety, lower risk, and save money.
Thank you so much to all our customers, team members, and readers for sticking with us this year. KPA wishes you a joyous holiday season and a wonderful new year. Here’s to a happier, easier, and less uneventful 2021!