The coronavirus outbreak, which began in China, has claimed more than 240,000 lives and infected more than 2 million people worldwide. With social distancing as the only solution to curb this spread, this outbreak has resulted in shutting down many businesses.
While most non-essential businesses have discontinued functioning altogether, governments across the globe have allowed critical industries to work with due precautions. To keep the economy moving, the federal government has also taken steps to allow the employees to work in the essentials’ infrastructure to go to work.
Keeping in line with the precautionary measures set by the federal government, Holloway Houston (HHI) is also making sure to keep its operations going.
Here is how HHI is taking precautions and bio-safety measures for material handling employees to curb COVID-19 spread.
1. Pre-Screening All the Employees
Providing a healthy work environment in this COVID-19 pandemic begins by testing and keeping track of employees’ health. Healthcare authorities are looking at this as the first step in arresting the coronavirus spread.
At HHI, we make sure to measure each employee’s temperature before letting them enter the premises. However, as some people with COVID-19 do not have a fever, we also ask any employees about their current health condition (respiratory symptom screening) to ensure if they are showing any of the common coronavirus symptoms.
If any of our employees have one or more of these symptoms, we ask them to stay home and get the necessary medical treatment. In addition to this, we also ask employees to self-report their health condition regularly and observe them for any COVID-19 related symptoms.
2. Maintaining Social Distance
The next critical step we take to ensure the health and well-being of our workforce is to maintain social distancing throughout the company. As the first step, we have asked several employees, especially those who can, to work from home for the time being.
We are also running a rotation of employees. so, employees are working in small groups, taking turns to maintain social distances. We have also asked all employees to stay two meters (six feet) away from each other. We have also rearranged the cafeteria and break room seating to make sure our employees don’t accidentally come in contact with each other. Walking in pairs or a group is strictly prohibited.
Wherever employees need to touch objects and surfaces regularly, we ask them to wash their hands for 20 seconds more frequently. We have also asked all employees to catch their cough and sneeze in tissues or paper napkins even if they don’t show any COVID-19 symptoms. They also need to dispose of the tissues in a dustbin with a lid and wash hands with soap for 20 seconds immediately.
3. Regular Workplace Sanitation
As instructed by the healthcare authorities, keeping the workplace clean and hygienic is one of the several measures material handling companies like HHI needs to take.
So, we are making sure to keep surfaces such as tables, floors, and desks, as well as objects such as equipment, keypads, telephones, and door-handles clean. We use quality disinfectant to clean the workplace and wipe public areas, surfaces, and objects twice a day.
We have also provided all workers with sanitizing hand rub dispensers near entrances, doors, lifts, and other public areas, especially the ones with heavy footfall. We make sure to refill them regularly.
In all public areas, we have provided our employees with frequent hand washing reminders and instructions. We also continually broadcast the same information through our internal digital communication channels to ensure everyone is following the prescribed hygiene precautions at the workplace.
4. Wearing a Mask
To ensure respiratory hygiene, we have asked all our employees to wear a mask for all our employees as it is one of the most effective methods to curb the spread of the virus. We have made it mandatory to wear a mask at all times when working in areas where they can. However, there are a few areas where wearing a mask is not feasible.
5. Avoiding In-Person Meetings or Events
To maintain social distancing, we have made sure to avoid in-person meetings as far as possible. We are using alternative means such as teleconferencing or online meetings to discuss important business matters.
If an in-person meeting is necessary, we are keeping the number of people down to no more than five. It allows us to maintain social distancing. We make sure to clean the entire meeting room before and after the meeting.
Everyone attending the meeting needs to wash their hand with soap and water or hand sanitizer for 20 seconds before and after the conference.
6. Monitoring Employee Health
All employees coming back from a business trip have to self-monitor themselves for at least two weeks regardless of whether they have a temperature or symptoms. If anyone shows the symptoms, they have to self-isolate and report to the nearest healthcare facility. We also have communications in place to alert everyone in case we find a confirmed case or someone with the symptoms.
7. Developing a Response Plan
We have developed a response plan if we find an employee with symptoms. The action plan includes the following:
- Creating a designated area or room where you can safely isolate the person showing symptoms
- Informing the local health authorities about the case
- Informing all other employees about the developments
- Disinfecting the areas where the infected employee has worked in the past 48 hours
- Safely transfer the person to the healthcare facility
The coronavirus pandemic has had a significant impact on the global economy. While all the non-essential industries have virtually come to a standstill, the essential ones have to keep functioning with proper precautionary measures. As per the guidelines set by the federal healthcare authorities, HHI is also taking the necessary steps to serve the nation while keeping the coronavirus spread in check. Let us all pledge to follow the social distancing and sanitation rules, among others, to get through this situation safely and quickly.