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The government have announced a relaxation of the guidelines around working on site for many industries. So, we've complied some handy information to help you keep your facility clean and hygienic during the Coronavirus crisis.

Given how infectious the COVID-19 virus is, there is now an even greater focus on keeping workplaces clean. The government’s recent announcement of a phased relaxation of social distancing rules means that people are gradually returning to work. Therefore, it is more important than ever that we, as employers, do all we can to ensure our facilities comply with guidelines around hygiene and cleaning. There is a wealth of information out there, so to help you protect your workforce quickly and effectively, we have we have compiled a selection of the measures that we think are most relevant. We have also given a few examples of things we are doing here at A-SAFE to keep our essential workers safe at this time.

In this guide we will explore:

● How cleaning your facility can help in the fight against COVID-19
● The appropriate cleaning products and equipment
● How to implement enhanced cleaning measures
● Areas in a busy work environment that require additional attention

How effective cleaning can help limit the spread of COVID-19

Coronavirus spreads easily between individuals through close contact and airborne particles from coughs or sneezes. It can also be contracted through contact with surfaces that are contaminated with the virus. As these government guidelines suggest, cleaning your work areas and surfaces can help to reduce the chance of infection.

At A-SAFE, we have performed a series of risk assessments to highlight priority areas and touchpoints around our factory, warehouse and offices. These are the surfaces and areas with which our employees are most likely to come into physical contact. Therefore, they need to be cleaned and disinfected more frequently.

The current situation poses a lot of unknowns and variables, so it is important to be reactive. As our Health and Safety Advisor, Jaroslaw Borek, explains, “Aside from the government guidelines, there is little research or evidence available to inform the risks we should be aware of, meaning we have to implement suitable and sufficient assessments to the best of our ability. However, as the guidelines change and adapt, so too will our risk assessments.”

How long does the virus remain on surfaces and objects?

The government states that “…in most circumstances, the risk is likely to be reduced significantly after 72 hours.” Therefore, if you believe the virus has been introduced to an area or part of your facility, it is crucial that you isolate this area for the suggested time and then perform a deep clean.

Are there any areas of my workplace that require more frequent cleaning?

Areas that will require more cleaning are those with high levels of contact, such as bathrooms, guide handrails, tables, door handles and office equipment such as telephones and keyboards. This is known as touch-point cleaning.

Government guidelines state: “Public areas where a symptomatic individual has passed through and spent minimal time, such as corridors, but which are not visibly contaminated with body fluids can be cleaned thoroughly as normal.”

Are strict cleaning routines only important if areas have come into contact with someone carrying the virus?

The government and the World Health Organisation have stated, it is important to maintain enhanced cleaning processes regardless of whether cases have been found on site or not. As customers who have visited our site will already know, at A-SAFE we have always maintained a very high standard of hygiene at all times.

Some of our standard cleaning processes include:

● A daytime cleaner focusing on offices, kitchens, toilets and corridors
● A team of evening cleaners who perform a deep clean across our offices
● Shift cleaners on the production line and in the warehouse who clean machines and equipment regularly
● Informational areas encouraging all staff to clean up after themselves, load dishwashers, etc.
● Rigorous implementation of 5S for an organised, clean and productive workplace

How has A-SAFE increased cleaning processes on site?

Since the Coronavirus crisis took hold, we have done all we can to enhance our cleaning processes even further. This includes:

Regular cleaning rotas
Our cleaning staff continue to thoroughly clean our offices, toilets, shower rooms and communal areas such as canteens and kitchens. This includes cleaning and disinfecting all areas and mopping floors. In addition to this, we have introduced a series of cleaning rotas for each office that focuses specifically on any touchpoints identified in the risk assessments.

These rotas have a regular cleaning cycle of every hour, so staff can share the responsibility of maintaining hygiene in their office throughout the day. Each time someone cleans down these touchpoints, they add their name along with a timestamp to the rota, so we can be sure they are being maintained.

Handwash and sanitiser stations

We have converted existing toilets, washrooms and drink-making facilities into dedicated hand wash stations that are clearly signposted around our offices, warehouse and shop floor. We have also installed hand sanitiser stations at each entrance and exit with visual reminders to staff. A member of management also reminds staff to wash their hands at regular intervals during their shift.


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OSHA has issued Frequently Asked Questions that explain the differences between cloth face coverings, surgical masks and respirators.

The resource is extensive, but some highlights include:

Cloth face coverings do not constitute personal protective equipment. Surgical masks are not considered to be PPE if they are being used solely to contain the respiratory droplets of the person wearing them (referred to by OSHA as “source control”). Although employers are not required to provide their employees with cloth face coverings or surgical masks, the use of such face coverings and/or surgical masks would constitute part of “a control plan designed to address hazards from SARS-CoV-2” under the General Duty Clause.

OSHA suggests following CDC guidance on washing face coverings. OSHA explains, “Employers may choose to use cloth face coverings as a means of source control . . . [where] transmission risk cannot be controlled through engineering or administrative controls, including social distancing.”

OSHA also reiterates guidance from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention that cloth face coverings are not a substitute for social distancing.

OSHA also emphasizes that surgical masks and cloth face coverings, including in the construction industry, are not acceptable substitutes where respirators are required due to exposures to contaminants such as asbestos or silica.

"In general, employers should always rely on a hierarchy of controls that first includes efforts to eliminate or substitute out workplace hazards and then uses engineering controls (e.g., ventilation, wet methods), administrative controls (e.g., written procedures, modification of task duration), and safe work practices to prevent worker exposures to respiratory hazards, before relying on personal protective equipment, such as respirators. When respirators are needed, OSHA’s guidance describes enforcement discretion around use of respirators, including in situations in which it may be necessary to extend the use of or reuse certain respirators, use respirators beyond their manufacturer's recommended shelf life, and/or use respirators certified under the standards of other countries or jurisdictions.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and OSHA have described crisis strategies intended for use in healthcare in which surgical masks or cloth face coverings may offer more protection than no mask at all when respirators are needed but are not available. Such information is not intended to suggest that surgical masks or cloth face coverings provide adequate protection against exposure to airborne contaminants for which respirators would ordinarily be needed. Although OSHA's enforcement guidance describes equipment prioritization that includes surgical masks, employers must still comply with the provisions of any standards that apply to the types of exposures their workers may face. For example, the permissible exposure limits of all substance-specific standards, such as asbestos and silica, remain in place, and surgical masks are not an acceptable means of protection when respirators would otherwise be required (e.g., when engineering, administrative, and work practice controls do not sufficiently control exposures).

If respirators are needed but not available (including as described in the OSHA enforcement guidance noted above), and hazards cannot otherwise be adequately controlled through other elements of the hierarchy of controls (i.e., elimination, substitution, engineering controls, administrative controls, and/or safe work practices), avoid worker exposure to the hazard. Whenever a hazard presents an imminent danger, and in additional situations whenever feasible, the task should be delayed until feasible control measures are available to prevent exposures or reduce them to acceptable levels (i.e., at or below applicable OSHA permissible exposure limits)."

According to this latest OSHA guidance, if respirators are not available where a Permissible Exposure Limit is exceeded, worker exposure should be avoided by delaying the task until feasible control measures are available to reduce the exposures below the Permissible Exposure Limit.


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Safety pros undoubtedly are experiencing déjà vu or “already been there” when they view the negative reactions to the recommendations from public health experts for preventing the spread of the coronavirus—from sheltering at home and maintaining a six-foot interpersonal distance to wearing a face mask.

They’ve heard all the excuses for noncompliance before—“It won’t happen to me,” “This PPE is too uncomfortable and inconvenient,” “We have freedom of choice in our country; and if I want to risk receiving an injury or illness, it’s my personal right to do so.”

Given that human nature or the soon, certain and positive consequences of at-risk behavior overpower the delayed, uncertain and negative consequences of safe behavior, organizations implement interventions to influence compliance with safety rules and regulations. Here again, blatant non-compliance with state and community mandates to perform certain behaviors to prevent the spread of COVID-19 is commonly observed in the workplace with regard to safety-related behavior.

Psychologists refer to such contrary behavior as “countercontrol” or “psychological reactance,”—presumed to be a reaction to the threat of losing one’s personal freedom or individuality. Thus, safety pros realize the need to accompany top-down mandates with education/training sessions and sometimes behavior-based incentive/reward contingencies.

Taking Prevention to a Higher Level

Employees are urged to perform a variety of safety-related behaviors in order to prevent a workplace injury—from wearing safety glasses and a hard hat to using a vehicle safety belt and fall protection. These and other desirable behaviors are performed to: a) protect workers from adverse environmental conditions (e.g., air pollution, loud noise, and fire), b) decrease bodily harm from a mishap (e.g., vehicle collisions, human slips, trips, and falls), and c) reduce the likelihood of an injury-causing behavior (e.g., non-skid shoes and Hi-Viz. clothing). When workers do not perform these injury-protective and injury-preventive behaviors, they put themselves at risk for personal harm.

However, behaviors performed to prevent the spread of the coronavirus have a higher-level, actively caring for people (AC4P) purpose. Sheltering at home, maintaining a six-foot social distance and wearing a facemask prevents the spread of COVID-19. Such behavior helps others as much if not more than it helps those who perform those behaviors.

Reaching the Highest Need Level

Almost every college class or workshop on motivation includes a presentation of Maslow‘s Hierarchy of Needs. Categories of needs are arranged hierarchically, and it’s presumed we don’t attempt to satisfy a need at one level until our needs at the lower levels are satisfied to some degree. We are first motivated to fulfill our physiological needs—basic survival requirements for food, water, shelter and sleep.

After these needs are under control, we are motivated by the desire to feel secure and safe from potential dangers. Next, we have our social-acceptance needs—to have friends and feel a sense of belonging. When these needs are gratified, our concern focuses on self-esteem—earning self-respect and feeling worthwhile.

After enjoying a boost in self-esteem, we become self-actualized when achieving our full potential. While many have learned that self-actualization is atop this need hierarchy, Maslow revised his need hierarchy near the end of his life by placing another ultimate achievement at the top—self-transcendence. We are the best we can be when we reach beyond our own self-interests and contribute to the needs of others. Whenever we perform AC4P behavior.

How satisfying to realize that you reach the top of Maslow‘s Hierarchy of Needs every time you act on behalf of another person’s health and/or safety. And doing this, helps to satisfy your lower-level needs that really never get completely satiated—social acceptance, self-esteem and self-actualization.


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The risk of gas leaks has been a common concern for decades in many industries, including oil and gas, petrochemical, utilities, mining, public safety and beyond. Combustible gases are commonly used throughout processes that produce raw materials needed to support our economy and result from biological breakdown of waste. Employees face the risk of gas-fueled explosions that can result in severe injuries, loss of life and destruction of property. These risks are amplified when several gases are present on a worksite, which can further complicate how to reliably monitor, identify and react to a potential leak.

To help ensure worker safety in hazardous environments, organizations continually review their strategies for how they address and prevent the threat of gas leaks, from real-time detection to proactive measures that mitigate future incidents.

Many personal gas monitors feature specialized combustible or flammable gas sensors. However, innovation in combustible gas detection has been stagnant for the last few decades, producing sensor technologies that must be calibrated to accurately measure the presence of just a single gas, resulting in higher or lower sensitivity to other flammable gases.

With many businesses conducting their digital transformation, connected safety innovations are keeping people safer and more efficient than ever before. An excellent example of this is a new sensor technology that just emerged and is set to disrupt flammable gas detection — and when connected — expands the overall situational view from digital transformation programs.

Accurately detecting multiple gases at once

While traditional flammable gas sensors, such as catalytic bead and non-dispersive infrared (NDIR) sensors, have been the primary conventional solutions to detect the Lower Explosive Limit (LEL) of flammable gas, they are calibrated to accurately detect one gas at a time. But what happens if an employee encounters another type of combustible gas on-site? This presents the potential for false alarms if the detected gas reads high and a lower reading than actual will present a higher level of risk to the worker.

For the first time in flammable gas detection, a new technology is available that equips users with a sensor that responds accurately to the 12 most common combustible gases. Blackline Safety has partnered with NevadaNano to bring their revolutionary micro-electro-mechanical systems (MEMS) flammable gas sensor to market as part of a cloud-connected gas detection ecosystem. The NevadaNano Molecular Property Spectrometer (MPSTM) Flammable Gas Sensor simultaneously detects multiple gasses as precisely as it does a single gas.

The best of both worlds

The two work-horse sensors of explosive gas detection, the pellistor and NDIR sensor, each have advantages and disadvantages to support their use. For example, pellistor sensors can detect hydrogen and acetylene detection well but are easily poisoned by silicones. NDIR sensors cannot be poisoned, but they don’t detect hydrogen or acetylene so are unacceptable for use in many petrochemical facilities. While NDIR sensors are susceptible to false alarms with high-rate environmental changes, pellistor sensors remain unaffected.

With the ability to detect hydrocarbons, hydrogen and acetylene, its intrinsic silicone resistance, as well as built-in environmental compensation, MPS technology has combined the best of the NDIR and pellistor capabilities to set the new standard for explosive gas detection in portable instruments. The MPS sensor has the ability to accurately identify and quantify the true lower explosive limit of single gas and mixtures at one time, called TrueLELTM — increasing gas detection performance, employee confidence and visibility into business operations. Additionally, this technology is immune to poisoning, meaning your sensors will last longer, read more accurately and most importantly, protect your people and assets to a greater extent than traditional pellistors. It also features a higher immunity to temperature and humidity shifts than an NDIR sensor, reducing the number of false alarms that can erode employee confidence in their personal gas monitors.

Combustible gas classification

Going a step further, the MPS sensor delivers the industry’s first classification system that places detected gases or mixtures into one of six categories:

Class 1: Hydrogen
Class 2: Hydrogen mixture with other flammable gases
Class 3: Methane or natural gas
Class 4: Light gas or a light-gas mixture
Class 5: Medium gas or medium gas mixture
Class 6: Heavy gas or heavy gas mixture

Whether it's a single gas or a mixture of gases, MPS delivers an accurate measurement of the actual LEL, factoring into the reading the current temperature, pressure and humidity.

Data science in the cloud

In conjunction with the latest combustible gas sensor technology, data science is a key component in attaining full worksite visibility, contributing to digital transformation goals. By combining the MPS sensor with wireless connectivity, gas readings and corresponding gas classifications can be streamed to cloud-hosted software. There, health and safety professionals can easily view interactive data analytics that present the classification, level, and location of each flammable gas reading workers encountered. This allows them to identify abnormalities, such as the new presence of hydrogen in one area of the facility, and proactively address the leak before personnel or the facility is placed at risk.


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Manufacturing plants and industrial sites are opening up again after COVID-19 lockdowns, but the people returning to work will notice many changes in their safety protocols.

Here are five safety guidelines recommended by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) and other organizations and experts:

1. Enforcing social distancing when possible

People often think of social distancing as methods intended to keep at least 6 feet between themselves and others. Some facilities have graphics on the floor to show occupants where to stand, for example. Other options include staggering shifts and limiting the number of people simultaneously allowed in communal spaces, like cafeterias or break rooms.

Employees at an automotive plant in the United Kingdom recently made the first Range Rover built while adhering to social distancing practices. Plant managers also implemented other measures to support worker safety, including offering every employee a reusable face visor. Having warehouse safety procedures to protect people when social distancing becomes difficult is a crucial part of an all-encompassing return-to-work plan.

2. Discouraging the sharing of equipment and supplies

One of the OSHA updates released about COVID-19 practices advises against equipment sharing. Many people naturally want to help their colleagues, so letting others use their supplies seems natural. However, researchers identified the risk of the coronavirus spreading through surfaces. The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) offers disinfection tips for facilities that managers can follow.

One of them recommends using solutions containing at least 70% alcohol for maximum effectiveness. It's also important to consider items that people may share without others asking to borrow them. For example, a job site process where everyone signs a sheet upon arrival needs revisiting because of the number of people touching and using the same pen.

3. Increasing the number of hand-washing stations

The World Health Organization (WHO) issued guidance about the installation of hand-washing stations in highly trafficked areas. It suggests putting them at the entrances of every public and private commercial building, for example. Facility authorities should also make hand-washing an obligatory action before someone crosses a threshold to go into a building, WHO officials said.

Job site rules determined before the pandemic required companies to provide one washing station per 20 employees, but employers may wish to install more. When workers see washing stations readily available, it's easier for them to get in the habit of cleansing their hands before eating. They can also decontaminate personal protective equipment (PPE) that may have touched harmful materials.

4. Implementing temperature checks and well-being assessments

Many warehouse safety procedures involve ensuring employees are fit for work. For example, they may have their temperature checked when entering a site or have to fill out a questionnaire at home that confirms they have not experienced any of the most common COVID-19 symptoms within the last 24 hours.

Companies recognized a need in the market and rushed to develop technologies that help employers screen their workers for symptoms. Despite the rapid adoption of these technological solutions, privacy concerns remain. Some analysts say that these options may not be as effective as advertised for identifying potentially ill workers. Another issue is that the COVID-19 health apps now on the market and purchased by workplaces may not adequately protect privacy.

Nevertheless, businesses are frequently adopting these measures. Some low-tech approaches may prove useful, too. For example, OSHA updates recommend companies to stay abreast of public health recommendations about the coronavirus and give workers access to those tips.

Companies can also plan for sending workers home if they mention feeling sick. If employees see that employers will accommodate them needing to leave early, they'll be less likely to keep quiet about suspected illnesses.

5. Restricting workplace visits

Preparing a workplace to operate safely in the COVID-19 era means thinking differently about site visitors. Perhaps a former process required a person to confirm their arrival time at least 24 hours in advance, plus sign in and out of a site visitor log.

Many industrial sites hosted tours or open days to attract potential clients or get high school students interested in manufacturing careers. Those activities will likely become less commonplace in the new normal where the coronavirus remains a threat. Companies can consider alternatives such as virtual product demonstrations or livestreamed glimpses at factory premises.

In cases where facilities must admit visitors, they should consider having precautionary procedures in place. Those might include giving people disposable masks and having them follow the same sanitation procedures that employees do when entering new sections of a factory or worksite.

Make support available in these changed times
Besides informing workers about warehouse safety procedures such as those above, workplace representatives should emphasize how they are there to respond to any feedback and uncertainty employees may have. For example, people may feel nervous about returning to work, and some may not know how to use masks and other protective equipment properly.

Businesses should create specific communication methods for people to use if they have questions about the new rules or want to suggest changes to safety procedures. When employers show they take worker input into account, it becomes easier to get the workforce on board with what's different now versus before the pandemic.


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As states lift stay-at-home orders and workplaces reopen, employers must plan for potential hazards of the ongoing coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic and routine workplace hazards, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) reminded employers. COVID-19 is a respiratory illness caused by the SARS-CoV-2 virus. COVID-19 currently is widespread in most U.S. communities and considered a workplace hazard.

OSHA cautioned that the pandemic may cause employee distraction, fatigue, and stress. The agency also cautioned that employers should:

● Plan their employees’ return to work to ensure operations resume in a safe and healthful manner;
● Carefully plan before attempting to increase production or tasks to make up for lost time to avoid exposing employees to greater safety and health hazards;
● Provide workers with refresher training on safety and health and revisit and update standard operating procedures;
● Address maintenance issues they may have deferred during a shutdown and remember that exposures to hazards may increase during shutdown and start-up periods; and
● Review and address process safety issues, including stagnant or expired chemicals, as part of their reopening efforts.

OSHA also reminded employers that retaliating against workers for raising concerns about safety and health conditions is a violation of the Occupational Safety and Health Act of 1970. Employees are encouraged to file whistle-blower complaints with the agency, which OSHA will investigate. OSHA suggested employers adopt the agency’s recommended practices for anti-retaliation programs.

The agency recommended employers develop and communicate workplace flexibility to protect employees during the ongoing pandemic, including instituting flexible sick leave policies that encourage workers to stay home when they are sick. OSHA also suggested not requiring a healthcare provider’s note when an employee is absent due to an acute respiratory illness.

Employers should identify and isolate individuals (customers, employees, supervisors) with a suspected or confirmed case of COVID-19. They also should clean and disinfect commonly touched surfaces with Environmental Protection Agency (EPA)-registered disinfectants, according to OSHA.

Employers also should recognize that workers may need to stay home to care for a sick family member, according to the agency, and employers should consider implementing flexible leave policies to accommodate employees with sick family members.

OSHA also recommended implementing engineering controls for the SARS-CoV-2 virus, including:

● Installing high-efficiency air filters and increasing ventilation rates in the work environment;
● Installing physical barriers, such as clear plastic sneeze guards, and drive-through windows for customer service; and
● Using specialized negative pressure ventilation in certain settings, such as airborne infection isolation rooms in healthcare facilities and specialized autopsy suites in mortuaries.

The agency also suggested employers train workers in the signs, symptoms, and risk factors associated with the SARS-CoV-2 virus, as well as practices like frequent hand-washing for at least 20 seconds with soap and water; social distancing; and avoiding touching your eyes, nose, or mouth with unwashed hands.

Workers who have been hospitalized or self-isolated with COVID-19 should following recommendations of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and state, local, tribal, or territorial health department before returning to work. The CDC continually updates its guidance on the recommended length of isolation.

The CDC issued and continues to update more extensive precautions for office environments.


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Like most businesses across the country, Examinetics was greatly affected when the coronavirus pandemic hit. Fortunately, our business was able to pivot, and by adjusting our service model to offer COVID-19 screenings, we have continued to provide valuable services to our clients. Our team was agile and nimble, becoming immersed in coronavirus solutions and consulting. We’ve been on the front lines of this pandemic with you and wanted to share some thoughts as companies get workers safely back to business.

Create a roadmap

The first step to any reopening or business continuity plan is to create a roadmap. Just as you wouldn’t throw a facepiece on your employees without first designing a respiratory protection program, you shouldn’t restart operations without a plan. In their recent article “The Restart”, McKinsey & Co. advises companies to create a detailed “relaunch map” that defines a solid framework for action in a highly volatile environment. In the COVID-19: A Safety and Health CEO Perspective webinar hosted by several of the leading safety organizations, Jennifer McNelly of the American Society of Safety Professionals said, “Recovery needs a good framework, a good architecture, but the actions required are unique to each company.”

At the top of the list of any effort to renew business is ensuring confidence in your company. Trust is going to be a precious commodity in the new world. Your consumers and clients will want to know what you are doing to reduce risk, while your employees will demand to know how you are protecting their health and keeping them safe. There will be no shortage of guidance from various levels of government and your employees will use these to create a checklist as they assess their work environment. Having transparency and alleviating all their concerns will build the confidence critical to moving forward. In a recent Inc. article, Stanley McChrystal – former commander of U.S. Joint Special Operations Command – says that “priority one is candor” in order to have your team’s faith. He should know, having managed thousands of military personnel around the world.

Prioritize employee health

To prioritize employee health, new safety measures must be put in place. Companies across all sectors will need to adapt with new safety, security and environmental protocols. Our consultants are guiding our clients through such areas as:

● Screening employees and visitors (i.e. temperature checks, symptom questionnaires)
● Virus and antibody testing
● Increased usage of PPE
● Efforts to ensure hygiene & sanitation
● Physical distancing
● Better communication and education
● Monitoring and tracing solutions

Many types of business will now be reevaluating and expanding their work-from-home (WFH) policies. Companies may realize both health and economic benefits by doing so, creating a win-win scenario. Safety professionals may now need to evaluate how to engage remote teams. Depending on your state of readiness, new tools might be needed to facilitate communication, increase collaboration and manage distributed teams. Digital transformation is a buzzword that often gets thrown around in conference rooms, but current conditions should elevate the role of technology in safety.

However, don’t rush to overhaul your business to all WFH. Not every company and not every person is suited for this arrangement. WFH often creates less social interaction and communication challenges. In certain environments, a division between different categories of onsite and at-home employees may develop. Ultimately, it may be more difficult to maintain your company culture and detect disengaged workers.

Wherever your team is located – whether all together in a plant or spread out across various locations – communication is critical to engagement. Make sure to support your employees with the resources they need. Safety managers who are used to walking around and seeing everyone face-to-face may need to adjust their habits to include everyone in this new environment. Remember that a communication void often gets filled with misinformation, so over communicating is better than less. But be careful about excessive mandates that may be difficult to follow – pick the important things and create priority tactics people can remember. And beware the hidden dangers – presenteeism, isolation and mental health issues.

Expect constant change

Safety decision makers who embrace an agile mindset will be set up to succeed. Change will be constant in the near term, with new information continually arriving from government agencies and health organizations. OSHA and CDC will need to be monitored for guidance and alerts across various industries and locations. Additionally, the economic health and staffing needs of your company will fluctuate throughout this time. If you can speed decision making, then you can create some stability and quickly bring back a sense of “normal”. We have seen our clients who can make fast decisions get scheduled quickly for their compliance testing and not miss a beat.

Those of us in the safety world are used to a vigilant mindset and can help our companies through these trying times. Safety managers should be seen as experienced and steady voices in decision making. Businesses will be hyper sensitive to their liability and that means the safety role will be called upon for their expertise. In the above-mentioned industry webinar, Larry Sloan of the American Industrial Hygiene Association said this is an opportunity for our profession to step up. According to Sloan, “We need a seat at the table with business leaders. Our profession lends a credibility to helping workers safely return to their jobs in a different way that’s become our new normal.”

Choose empathy

Unfortunately, a crisis often brings out the worst too. Scams will be prevalent as we have seen with con artists trying to take advantage of PPE demand and shortages. Keep an eye on your team as anyone can become vulnerable to tricks and schemes when we add new complexity and technology. We need to be extra attentive to protect ourselves, our people and our business.

The bottom line is that empathy should be our guiding principle - not because of any federal mandate or government requirement, but because we only come out the other side when we all work together. This pandemic has shown us the network effect in real life and we must always remember the human element in safety.


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The federal government has launched an online hub where organizations buying and selling personal protective equipment can meet.

"Across the country, efforts are underway to ease restrictions implemented to fight COVID-19,” said Anita Anand, minister of public services and procurement. “This Supply Hub reflects our pan-Canadian approach and assembles a wealth of resources and information so that organizations have a single window to assist them in buying or selling personal protective equipment."

The Supply Hub connects Canadian organizations from coast to coast with federal, provincial, territorial and other resources and information about PPE, including consumer guidance. Buyers will find PPE supplier lists, in addition to guidance to help plan their PPE purchases, including best practices to keep people safe, where to find PPE for purchase, consumer advice and additional health and safety resources.

Suppliers will also get information on product specifications, procurement and donation opportunities and business guidance and programs.

“As Public Services and Procurement Canada continues to engage with our partners and advisory groups, the hub will evolve to include additional resources,” said the government.

In May, Manitoba partnered with several organizations to develop and launch an online marketplace that will connect businesses in the province with non-medical grade personal protective equipment (PPE) and other materials needed for businesses to operate.

“Our government has heard from the business community that they need help to access supplies needed to enable them to open and operate safely during the pandemic,” said Premier Brian Pallister then. “We are proud to join forces with our trusted partners in the business and technology community to launch B2B Manitoba, a tool that will connect businesses with suppliers.”

A recent survey found that 60 per cent of healthcare workers in Canada reported anxiety at levels surpassing an accepted threshold for clinical screening for the condition, and this is most prevalent among those whose needs for personal protective equipment have not been met.

On March 20, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau announced Canada’s Plan to Mobilize Industry to fight COVID-19, which will create pathways to deploy resources to domestic manufacturers and businesses so they can help during this critical time.

The plan introduces new measures to directly support these businesses to rapidly scale up production or re-tool their manufacturing lines to develop products made in Canada that will help in the fight against COVID-19. These products could include critical health and safety supplies and equipment, including personal protective equipment, sanitization products, diagnostic and testing products, and disease tracking technology.


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Why is the exposure risk for manufacturing workers so high?

Manufacturing employees, especially those who work on the line, have a high risk of exposure to the novel coronavirus simply due to the nature of the job. Firstly, the distance between workers on assembly and production lines is often minimal.
Secondly, shifts tend to be long; between 8 and 12 hours. That means workers have prolonged contact with each other. Lastly, there are a lot of communal surfaces, from workstations to tools to break areas. Germs can be spread through airborne droplets from a cough or sneeze as well as contaminated surfaces.

This post will help you tackle the challenges listed above head on, using recommendations from the CDC and OSHA.

What can you do to help protect your employees?

Designate a coronavirus safety coordinator who will stay up to date on recommendations from the CDC and OSHA as well as state and county guidelines. This person can help implement your COVID-19 assessment and control plan before your facility reopens as well as lead ongoing assessments.

Use the hierarchy of controls method (recommended by the CDC and OSHA) as the base for developing your coronavirus safety plan. In this case it could include: eliminate the hazard, install engineering controls, put administrative controls into action and implement appropriate sanitation, cleaning and disinfection practices.

1. Screen and monitor returning workers to help eliminate hazards

Screening for COVID-19 symptoms reduce the potential for exposure by removing the hazard as quickly as possible. Here are the basics of an effective screening process to help protect your workers:

● Set up a station to screen all personnel before entrance to your facility
● Verbally screen by asking specific questions about COVID-19 symptoms including cough, shortness of breath and loss of taste or smell in the last 24 hours
● Verbally screen by asking about contact with coronavirus patients and high-risk travel
● Check temperatures for 100.4°F or higher or reports of feverish feelings such as chills
● Identify screened employees with coronavirus screening solutions that range from color-coded visual identification to barcode-capable wristbands for digitally tracking access
● Anyone who’s screening results indicate they may have COVID-19 should be separated from others and sent home

2. Increase distance between workers with engineering controls

Engineering controls change the environment where people work. Here is a short list of engineering controls you can implement to specifically to help reduce germ spread due to manufacturing employees working closely together:

● Reconfigure workstations and break area seating to be at least 6 feet apart (in all directions) wherever it is possible to do so
● Where reconfiguring is not possible, consider installing physical barriers such as strip curtains, clear acrylic dividers or other impermeable dividers and/or partitions
● Place hand-sanitizing stations in multiple areas
● Manage facility temperature to avoid overheating without the use personal cooling fans (which can distribute droplets from a cough or a sneeze)

3. Mitigate prolonged contact with administrative controls

Administrative controls change how people work. One of the most effective ways to use administrative controls to help protect manufacturing workers is to rearrange schedules for shifts and break times to avoid crowding.

A carefully planned schedule can help avoid many employees clocking in and out, taking breaks and using locker/changing rooms at the same time. Here are a few more admin controls you can implement to help mitigate prolonged contact among returning employees:

● Limit access to essential workers only
● Get rid of non-essential meetings
● Use safety signage to communicate guidelines for social distancing, handwashing techniques and PPE use
● Consider distributing respirator and non-medical face masks facility-wide
● Digitally manage and track the influx of COVID-19 PPE and other coronavirus safety supplies with barcoded PPE asset tags
● Use adhesive floor signs and other floor markings to help personnel maintain 6 feet spacing whether stationary or moving through aisles and walkways

4. Implement appropriate sanitizing, cleaning and disinfection practices

At the very least, communal tools should be wiped down every time workers change stations or move to a new set of tools. Shared spaces such as workstations, break rooms and bathrooms as well as frequently touched surfaces (door handles, machine levers, etc.) should be disinfected once per shift.

CDC-recommended disinfectants for infection control include 60-90% alcohol solutions, chlorine, chlorine compounds, formaldehyde, hydrogen peroxide, peracetic acid and other potentially hazardous chemicals. Make sure your coronavirus safety program is in harmony with chemical safety and HazCom best practices:
● Provide adequate PPE for reducing exposure while cleaning such as disposable gloves and respirator masks
● Provide any additional PPE or controls that protect workers from chemical hazards posed by disinfectants
● Ensure adequate ventilation for using cleaning chemicals
● Make sure all hazardous chemicals have compliant GHS labels, even when secondary containers are used


0 Comments | Posted in News Archive By Admin
How do you feel the role of the safety professional has changed? Share your insight in this editorial project.

Over the past few months, safety professionals have been tasked with a set of ongoing challenges as the novel coronavirus outbreak evolved into a global pandemic.

EHS leaders have had to balance compliance with an unprecedented set of tasks focused on illness prevention. From the C-suite down and from operations to HR, workers across the country have looked up to safety professionals for guidance.

As this situation continues into the future, the crucial role of the safety professional has been realized.

EHS Today is writing a report for its July/August issue highlighting the challenges and opportunities faced during this time.


0 Comments | Posted in News Archive By Admin
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