SC DHEC Launches New Initiative For Businesses To Improve Work Environment, Keep Employees Safe

COLUMBIA, S.C. — The South Carolina Department of Health and Environmental Control is launching a new initiative called COVID-19 Community Coalitions.

It’s a program that focuses on new approaches and best practices that businesses can implement to improve work environment and keep employees safe.

During a virtual webinar hosted by the South Carolina Department of Commerce, business leaders and those in various departments of DHEC spoke about how to maintain a healthy work environment and timely resources available to businesses, customers and clients on ways they can protect themselves.

DHEC says it’s seeing a trend in cases of younger people ages 21 to 30 at 21 percent, the largest in the state of contracting COVID-19. It’s also seeing a trend in cases among those 31 to 40 at 16 percent, the second highest for the Coronavirus. These are two groups in the work force that state leaders say could be impacted.

Myra Reece – is the director of environmental affairs with DHEC – her department works side-by-side with companies -providing up to date information to employees, so they feel a sense of confidence when returning to work.

Reece’s department makes sure these businesses are complying with work environment policies and especially with new guidelines because of COVID-19.

The director says it’s time to rally as a community, like it would for any natural disasters. Businesses – she says – play a critical role in public health – and should set the example.

“How powerful would it if we could work with our business leaders and ask them to play a leadership role in bringing other community leaders to the table, to work together, have your faith based leaders at the table with you, have your health partners, have your school principals, your high school coaches, everyone who’s very knowledgeable and has a their finger on the pulse of the community, working together, not only trying to influence individual behaviors but coming up with action plans, coming up with goals and watching what’s going on as far as the trends of community spread and then reacting to that in very deliberate, strategic ways,” Myra Reece, DHEC Director of Environmental Affairs, said.

The COVID-19 business team also discussed – how businesses can be creative when working with others in close spaces, high noise areas or high heat areas, for example. It also encouraged workpods, or assigning a group of employees to one particular area to work.

Employees of course, are asked to follow CDC guidelines of mask wearing and social distancing but also go a step above that working as a team to track cases, look for patterns and report to an established point person if someone is displaying symptoms of COVID-19.

DHEC says there is a toolkit to help everyone from business owners to employees to residents on how to best work and live among COVID-19.

To learn more about the toolkit, check out DHEC’s website.

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