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A Look at How Manufacturers Are Responding with Health and Safety Policies

5/5/20
Forbes • Willem Sundblad

Manufacturers on a small and large scale are facing the unique position of maintaining production while quickly adapting to new protocols and policies that promote the health and safety of employees on the operating floor. The demand for essential products – most notably medical supplies and toilet paper – continues to mount and industries from food and beverage to metals and electronics continue to operate.

“Military/defense and consumer electronics, the two industries we primarily sell to, remain open and are considered essential, keeping our orders about the same,” said Adam Khan, CEO and Founder of AKHAN Semiconductor. “Since there is no slow down for these industries, we are continuing to have the same personnel on hand to fulfill our orders and meet the same deadlines.”

Large organizations, from Anheuser-Busch to Ford, have announced that they will begin producing essential supplies such as hand sanitizer, ventilators and other goods. In a statement of unity, many manufacturers have shifted operations to increase the supply of necessities, as well as keep their workforce employed.

On a smaller scale, manufacturers like Rogue Fitness, are shifting production to increase throughput of medical necessities. In a time where layoffs and furloughs are becoming the norm, Rogue Fitness announced publicly that it would not only be hiring but also “boosting wages by $2 an hour, so its hourly employees now start at $17 an hour.” By hiring, the company will be able to keep up with the increasing demand while giving back to the community. Owner Bill Henniger addressed these goals by saying, “We know that many people in Ohio are losing their jobs and we want to help.”

As many manufacturers adapt to an increase in demand products and work toward supporting local communities by hiring, the necessity to create a safe workspace is priority. Here are a few ways manufacturers are implementing these new protocols quickly to reach the ultimate goal of safety and throughput.

3 Ways To Keep Your Employees Safe And Healthy

Manufacturers were polled about how they’re adapting protocols to adhere to social distancing requirements. Not surprisingly, 88% said that all non-essential employees were working from home. For essential employees, manufacturers are implementing a variety of techniques to keep their workforce healthy and safe.

Health Screening Prior To The Start Of Shifts

With production continuing, manufacturers need to take increased precautions to screen for symptoms. Rogue Fitness instated outdoor HVAC tents to screen all arriving personnel. Other manufacturers are using infrared thermometers to scan arriving employees to detect the presence of a fever.

To encourage employees to self-isolate if they felt ill, many companies are offering up to ten additional PTO days. This prevents employees from being penalized when taking proper measures to prevent the spread of COVID-19. An organization that is able implement a culture of support for personal responsibility will best be able to maintain the health and safety of its entire workforce.

Maintaining Distance Within The Factory

Chroma Technology, an optical filter manufacturer, is facing significant demand as these filters are used in both virus testing and laboratories around the world where research is occurring. The company has made several changes throughout manufacturing operations in the interest of keeping their employees safe and healthy.

We removed chairs and tables from break rooms to prevent team members from sitting too closely,” said Janette Bombardier, Chief Technology Officer, “We also put tape marks on the floor to reinforce what six feet looks like as well as new occupancy signs on the doors in each room to promote safe occupancy for social distancing.”

The company also worked towards greater shift distribution and included employees as part of the planning process. Operations that previously took place in one shift were distributed into two shifts. These schedule changes allowed employees to support their unique family situations, as well as support the business.

“We eliminated the shift overlap, and worked to have a half hour of complete separation of the shifts,” Bombardier said, “This allows for reduced employees in our gowning area and in the manufacturing space. Employees also clean and disinfect their area when they arrive and when they leave.”

Sanitization Procedures

Surprisingly, only a fraction of companies surveyed said they have implemented sanitization methods as part of their standard operating procedures; only 38% are sanitizing tools with alcohol while only 12% of participants are requiring onsite personnel to wear gloves.

When accessible, gloves and masks should be handed out to each employee as they begin their shift. Each employee should also take responsibility for cleaning their workspace at the beginning and end of their day, to ensure a clean space for the next shift.

Additionally, increase the duration of lunch time by five to 10 minutes to allow employees enough time to properly clean their hands going to and from lunch. This prevents any employee from being penalized for practicing proper hygiene techniques needed to make sure the shared common areas and tools remain as clean as possible.

These Policies Will Set You Up For The Future

COVID-19 has become a driving force for manufacturers to implement new protocols to maintain a safe working environment. Quickly, companies are locking eyes with newly-exposed vulnerabilities in these areas. Both on small and large scales, it is good news that the call for increased health and safety protocols is being answered. Preparations today should be formalized and documented into standard operating procedures for winter months or active flu seasons. Now more than ever, policies for adapting to new and future restrictions are being formalized and the value of doing so is clear.

 

This article was written by Willem Sundblad from Forbes and was legally licensed through the NewsCred publisher network. Please direct all licensing questions to legal@newscred.com.

The information contained in this article is intended for general information purposes only and is based on information available as of the initial date of publication. No representation is made that the information or references are complete or remain current. This article is not a substitute for review of current applicable government regulations, industry standards, or other standards specific to your business and/or activities and should not be construed as legal advice or opinion. Readers with specific questions should refer to the applicable standards or consult with an attorney.

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