Usine / COVID-19

30 April 2020

Business Resumption? Yes, but Worker Safety First!

Auteur : Josée Fortin

The gradual resumption of operations has begun and with the reopening of the manufacturing sector scheduled for May 11, now is the time more than ever for our businesses to take action and implement preventive measures in production areas and office spaces.

Businesses will also play a crucial yet delicate role in the coming months: Protecting their team from the coronavirus while waiting for a vaccine. By extension, it is a public health responsibility to prevent a deadly second wave of COVID-19 from hitting us.

Simple, don’t you think? Isn’t it just a few bottles of hand sanitizer, cleaning door handles more often, and closing common areas? Of course, but this is a hefty challenge for many businesses, as in a complete reorganization of methods, workstations, team tasks, reception areas, etc.

In response, the CNESST has developed a comprehensive tool kit, which includes a workplace health standards guide and sector tools with a kit specifically designed for the manufacturing sector. It is of utmost importance that employers strictly comply with them to be permitted to resume operations.

In this context, here are five tips to effectively organize the resumption of operations: 


The sanitary rules that you implement may change as a result of the developing pandemic. To respond efficiently, thoroughly define the risks in your business and ensure that the measures implemented are continually effective and up to date. Above all, immediately respond in the event of infection within your team.


Don’t take the task of reorganizing on your own shoulders: Involve your team in establishing, promoting, and improving mitigation measures. Form a “tactical team” of one or more workers who will be responsible day in and day out for health and safety during each shift and with whom you will conduct routine follow-ups. The trust you confide in them will become a retention factor. 


For the coming months, you can bid farewell to fixed hours, full meeting rooms, and rotations of workstations. It would be highly optimistic to believe that the impact on our economy won’t leave its mark—positive or negative—on your business. To avoid exerting excessive pressure on your liquid assets, you should more than likely plan a gradual return to work for your employees, meaning that your business risks not returning at the same level as before the pandemic. Take the opportunity to realign your business objectives and vision (digital shift, local supply chain, sustainable development, etc.) in the context of the new reality: Your business will come out stronger. 

Remain transparent

Be honest and openly discuss the risk factors you have determined with your team. It is vital that they are aware so they can remain vigilant. It would also be important to clearly explain the mitigation measures that you have implemented, with your employees, clients, and suppliers alike, in turn boosting their confidence and sense of safety in your business. 

Show compassion

Always keep in mind that your team members’ mental health may be affected and the return to work could cause anxiety for some of them, notably parents, making work-family balance an even greater challenge. Your staff need to be able to count on your understanding and flexibility.

The entire Sherbrooke Innopole team is ready to help you resume operations. Our experts can support you across many levels—strategy, finance, human resources, operations, etc.—so your business can resume its operations as quickly and effectively as possible. Contact us! / 819 821-5577 ext. 0

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Sherbrooke Innopole’s mandate ends on March 31, 2024. We invite you to contact Entreprendre Sherbrooke or the Service du développement économique of the Ville de Sherbrooke for further services.
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