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Keep in Check: Do your employees feel safe coming to work?

Liz Griffith for Progressive Dairy Published on 19 July 2020

Dairy farmers are essential, and we knew this before any health crisis arrived. Even with COVID-19, many farms are carrying on with daily work, and not much has changed.

As owners and managers of the dairies, you each make certain the cattle are cared for, fed and milked on a set schedule, regardless of what is happening in the world around you. There is plenty of work to do and plenty of help needed.

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Amid all the vulnerability and uncertainty encompassing the COVID-19 epidemic, what actions are you taking to ensure your employees feel safe at work? Do they feel safe coming to work?

Employees have continued to show up for work and do what is expected to maintain normalcy on the farm. You might feel apprehensive about the impact of COVID-19, but how are your employees feeling? Is it safe to say they are apprehensive every day they arrive at the dairy? Do they comprehend what steps you have taken to create a safe environment for each of them?

Checklist

Most likely, you have all implemented some additional steps to prevent your employees from becoming ill, with gloves, masks and extra cleaning. But we come back to the real question again: “Do your employees feel safe?” Have you done enough? Have you shown them how you ensure their safety and the safety of the product you produce?

A checklist of duties is not enough. A good leader should give a detailed explanation of each precaution while demonstrating to each team member that you care about their well-being. Employees will show up for work if they feel safe. It all starts with a detailed conversation.

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Safety comes in many forms, and pandemics are a new wrinkle. Yet we use similar techniques for keeping employees safe and helping them feel safe. When employees feel safe, they stay engaged, and the work gets done.

Here are some key topics for an employee conversation about their safety (see checklist). end mark

Liz Griffith
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