IFAI Division Webinars this week are bringing together diverse members of the specialty fabrics industry to discuss how they are navigating the COVID-19 crisis. For companies that are operational—that is, they have either been deemed essential businesses or they are not currently under a “shelter in place” order—worker health and safety is a major concern.
Here are some of the top tips webinar participants have shared:
- Stagger shifts so that employees aren’t arriving and leaving at the same time.
- Stagger lunch periods so that employees aren’t occupying the same break space at the same time.
- Set up separate break rooms or break stations in your facilities to keep workers spread out.
- Divide your staff into two groups. Have Team 1 work for a two-week period, then bring on Team 2 for the second two-week period. Team 1 thoroughly cleans the facilities at the end of its two-week period, and Team 2 cleans their individual workspaces when they arrive.
- Keep all doors in your facilities open so that no one has to touch a door handle.
- Ban all non-employees from your facility. Put up a barrier and have an established area for customers and suppliers to drop things off without interacting with employees.
- Use this time to train employees via Skype or Zoom meetings on products and processes, improving the workforce so that it’s stronger when it comes back.
- Allow employees to drive their personal vehicles to job sites rather than sharing a work vehicle. (Check with your insurance company to make sure that employees are covered if they are driving their own vehicle.)
- If employees need overnight accommodations at a worksite, reserve a hotel room for each person rather than booking two to a room. This cost should be part of the job bid.
- Set up a professional support network or a buddy system, and call each other every few days to exchange ideas, give support and so on.
- Now more than ever, preach the need for PPE, all the time.
- Ask employees what their concerns are—and what they need.
- Develop policies with employee help, post them and publicize them.