Opening Alabama - Phase 1

April 30, 2020

As of April 30 at 5:00 PM, there will be a limited amount of businesses in Alabama allowed to reopen with specific guidelines.  As we are all focused on the proper protection and social distancing, we also need to remember there are other safety issues that we can encounter within a day of work.  Below are a few reminders and recommendations to help you with reopening your business to ensure the safety of your employees and customers/patients to stay safe from COVID-19 as well as keeping your employees safe from injury.

Retail businesses:

  1. Put up plexi-glass in front of the register, if possible, for additional protection.
  2. Remember to wash your hands or sanitize frequently throughout the day.
  3. Remember to watch for slip, trip, and fall hazards, especially as stores are being restocked.
  4. Practice safe lifting techniques when re-stocking or moving stock throughout the location.

Manufacturing operations:

  1. Ensure that employees keep six feet of distance between themselves or provide masks in instances where this cannot be accomplished.
  2. Remind employees not to congregate in groups of ten or more during shift breaks and make sure social distancing guidelines can be followed during breaks. This may mean re-structuring break times as needed to minimize crowds in break areas.
  3. For employees who may have been away from work during the stay-at-home order, be sure to provide any refresher training on equipment or procedures before allowing them to resume normal job duties.
  4. Slips, trips, and falls as well as lifting related injuries are two high frequency areas where claims occur. It is always a best practice to provide training and awareness for these two areas of concern.
  5. If your operations have not been in full production, double check all machine guarding and review your company’s lockout/tagout procedures before resuming operations to ensure that everything is in a safe working order.

Construction Operations: Remember the Focus Four 

  1. Falls:  Employees must be trained on proper use of fall protection.  Fall protection is required for working at heights above 6 feet.  Be sure to inspect your equipment periodically. Caught in -or-between:  All equipment should have proper guards in place – saw, grinders, break presses, etc.
  2. Struck By:  Wear hard hats to avoid falling objects and properly store materials to prevent collapse.
  3. Electrocution:  Never allow employees who are not properly trained to work with electricity and always inspect power cords for frays or other damage that could pose an electrical hazard.
  4. Hydration:  Allow employees working outdoors proper time to acclimate to heat as temperatures rise.  Provide water and ample breaks to avoid dehydration and other heat related illnesses.

Medical offices/business:

  1. Provide proper Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) to employees.
  2. Limit the number of people in waiting rooms.  If possible, use other methods to contact patients that it is their turn to come to their treatment room.
  3. Allow no one to accompany patients unless necessary and have a procedure for those patients that need accompaniment.
  4. Always sanitize or wash hands before and after each patient interaction.
  5. When working with patients that need assistance, always use proper patient transfer techniques to avoid injury.

As a reminder for our Restaurants.  We realize most of you are staying busy with take-out and delivery orders.  If take-out and delivery is new or old to you, there are way to ensure you keep your employees safe.

  1. Delivery drivers should always practice Defensive Driving: Recognize the hazard, understand the defense, act in time.
  2. MVR should be checked with new hire delivery drivers and should be done annually going forward.
  3. Don’t forget proper cutting techniques such as, cutting away from the body.  A refresher training is always a good way to ensure everyone understands proper cutting techniques.
  4. Always make sure to have slip resistant shoes and slip resistant mats.  Keep floors clean from debris.
  5. Reinforce proper lifting techniques.  For example, use two or more people when necessary.
  6. Be mindful of burns, keeping handles of pots and pans away from the body.

Finally, one of the biggest priorities these days is Personal Protective Equipment (PPE).  Providing training in donning and removing PPE is strongly advised. This is especially true in the use of masks and gloves. Don’t be lulled into a false sense of security just because you have these items on.  Cross contamination is a real threat.  For example, once you touch an object on the shelf, your glove is contaminated with whatever substance was on the item you touched. After you touch it and you reach for your phone to answer it, you have now contaminated your phone and so on.  We want you to use the PPE as intended, but we also want you to know how to use it properly and what the dangers are. If you require your employees to use of N95 type mask you are required to follow OSHA’s respirator program. This means that the employees will need a medical evaluation, be fit tested, and trained on proper use. This all must be documented. If you are providing N95 mask for voluntary use, then the employee(s) will only need to complete an appendix D form. If you are providing cloth/homemade mask they can only be for voluntary use and cannot be required as they are not NIOSH approved.  If used voluntarily the employee(s) will need to complete the appendix D form.

All of the required respirator program material as well as appendix D can be found on our online safety library by going to topic index, respiratory protection, and forms.

AlaCOMP is working diligently to provide the resources and support necessary to help ensure you provide a safe and healthy workplace.  As your employees return to work, expect them to be a bit out of practice. Help them along by making sure you provide them the proper refresher training.  We are here for you in a time like this and if you have any questions or need help please feel free to contact one of our Loss Control Consultants or visit the Online Safety Library.

Jim Hallford: (334) 300-6346 or

Scott Hunter: (256) 794-9591 or

Kyle Maske: (334)-306-0611 or