Covid-Safety In The Industrial Workplace
Almost every industry has been impacted by the global pandemic, and the industrial workplace is no different. Factories, warehouses, and assembly plants across the country have spent the last year adjusting to new waves of supply and demand, and have had to adopt new policies and procedures to keep their workers safe.
If you work in or manage an industrial workplace, you must be taking intentional action steps to create a safe and healthy work environment for your business.
Unlike traditional office space, workers in an industrial workspace share a lot of the same equipment and resources. This means they’re working close to each other which increases the chances of airborne transmission of the virus. While it’s still unclear how likely it is to contract Covid-19 from touching shared surfaces, sanitizing and cleaning work surfaces should still take priority to promote a healthy workplace.
Covid Safety: For Employees
Covid safety should be broken down into two main categories: safety for the workers on the floor and decisions made at the top to ensure workplace safety. Here are a few things you can do to reduce the transmission of the virus between workers:
If possible, reconfigure the workstations in a way that allows workers to work at least six feet apart from each other. This may mean having every other machine operating, or limiting how many people are working in one location at one time.
Establish barriers in between workstations to limit cross-contamination, and modify high traffic areas so that people can move from one part of the building to the next without having to get within six feet of each other.
Remind workers about the importance of handwashing, and incorporate hand washing stations throughout the building that are stocked with soap and proper signage about handwashing techniques. If possible, add touchless hand washing and sanitizing stations.
Proper ventilation is another important part of creating a healthy and safe industrial workplace. This ensures that air is circulating properly and clean air is always moving throughout the work areas. Some companies may decide to use portable high-efficiency particulate air (HEPA) filtration units to help circulate clean air into poorly ventilated areas.
Covid Safety: For Admins
Covid safety is a combination of physical changes and modifications in the various workstations along with changes in policies and procedures at the administrative levels. Managers must adopt new procedures and update their training methods to ensure safety in the industrial workplace.
The first thing managers of warehouses, factories, and assembly lines can do is focus on education. This means making sure everyone who works in the building has a clear understanding of the severity of Covid-19, how it spreads, and the symptoms to look for Workplace training should focus on social distancing and lay out clear expectations about the use of masks and other PPE. This will help workers and admin understand workplace expectations. Part of this updated training should include the importance of handwashing and the addition of touchless hand washing and sanitizing stations throughout the workplace.
Admin should also carefully look at their policies on sick leave. The last thing you want is someone coming in with symptoms of Covid simply because they can’t afford to take a sick day. Encourage workers to stay home if they feel sick, and implement more flexibility into your sick day policies.
Other things managers can do to help promote a healthy workplace during a pandemic include:
● Conduct virtual meetings
● Use contactless inventory tracking systems
● Reduce or stagger shifts to reduce the number of people who work together in one place
● If possible, open up opportunities for remote or telework positions
● Increase the frequency of machine/equipment cleans
● Clean break rooms, bathrooms, lounges, waiting rooms, and meeting areas frequently
● Encourage mask-wearing
● Train your managers and admin team to recognize signs of depression, stress, and anxiety in workers caused by the uncertainty of the pandemic
Even during a pandemic, we rely on warehouses, factories, and assembly lines to keep the country running. These spaces need to work efficiently and safely, and when employers and employees work together to promote health and safety, these vital industries can run smoothly and provide vital services and products to the millions of people who need them.
How Staffing Agencies Can Help During The Pandemic
Many California warehouses and factories are turning to staffing agencies to help them find, train, and hire temporary workers during this uncertain time. Others are using staffing agencies to help them handle HR duties such as payroll, benefits, and workers comp. If you haven’t looked into how a staffing agency can help boost productivity and reduce turnover, start here!