Earlier this year, your manufacturing facility likely took significant steps to ensure workers could stay safe during the initial outbreak of the novel coronavirus in the U.S., but relaxed those standards as time went on. Unfortunately, it seems that as winter begins, the pandemic is actually getting worse than ever, with more positive cases, hospitalizations and even death every single day.
The question, then, is whether you have re-upped protections to keep workers as safe as possible during this time. If not, now is the time to do so, including implementing the following steps:
1) Set a standard
First and foremost, you have to create rules for how everyone under your roof will behave during these times of crisis, according to the U.S. Chamber of Commerce. That means standards for how work will be done, how people interact with one another, what workers' duties are, what managers' duties are, and so on. That way, there's no confusion or ambiguity about what's expected of anyone.
2) Keep workers physically distant
The simplest way to protect workers is to space out their stations as much as you can, the Chamber of Commerce noted. The virus is transmitted via close contact in most cases, so if you can keep your employees at least six feet apart, you'll be setting everyone up for success, safety and long-term health.
3) Create more shifts with staggered start times
Of course, completely rearranging your facility to account for social distancing isn't always feasible, so it may be better to shrink the number of workers brought in for any given shift, according to Dozuki. That means creating more shifts, but if you can rearrange people's hours so there are fewer employees in your facility at a time, you'll all be in much better shape.
4) Consider letting more people work from home (if possible)
The other thing to say about bringing people to the factory is that, for some, it's probably not necessary at all, Dozuki added. Anyone who can do all or some of their duties from home (or anywhere else, for that matter) should be allowed to do so as long as they are meeting their goals and performing to expectations.
5) Keep tabs on employee health
If there's one thing that should be a priority for any business during this time, it's keeping your workers healthy and safe anytime they're on site, according EHS Today. That means you would be wise to mandate daily symptom checks for all employees before they show up for work, and encourage them to stay home if they feel even a little under the weather.
6) Find new ways of communication
Finally, you have to acknowledge that when workers do come in, the factory floor is often a noisy, busy place, and new methods of communication are required to protect everyone, EHS Today advised. Investing in better wireless communications — or just letting workers text one another — is better than shouting at each other in close range.