Return-to-Work Safety Strategies to Consider
By Alexandra Serban
May 15, 2020
As factories, buildings, and construction sites consider re-opening, safety managers are working round-the-clock to re-think workspaces and protect the health and safety of workers.
In this effort, they’re examining a combination of new workplace controls, while keeping in mind requirements from the WHO, the CDC, and other government guidelines, as well as state and local authorities. Here are some safety practices and protocols that can help to protect people in the workplace.
New workplace controls
Social distancing, restricted use of shared items or spaces, and PPE remain key requirements and recommendations across industries.
Workers are advised to practice sensible social distancing and stay six feet away from co-workers, where possible. Social distancing practices also include keeping in-person meetings as short as possible and limiting the number of workers in attendance.
For work activities where social distancing is challenging, experts advise limiting their duration, reposition workstations to create more distance or installing barriers (e.g., plexiglass shields) between workstations where this is allowed.
If tools or equipment must be shared, experts recommend workers to use 70% alcohol-based wipes to clean tools before and after use. Workers should consult manufacturer recommendations for proper cleaning techniques and restrictions.
Workers may need access to PPE materials, including masks, gloves, and sanitizer. And, as in normal circumstances, employers will train workers on how to properly put on, use, wear, and take off protective clothing and equipment.
Intensified cleaning and disinfection
OSHA advises employers to institute regular cleaning protocols and increase the frequency of sanitation efforts, focusing on high-traffic and high-touch areas, such as job site toilets. Sanitizer or Sanitizing wipes should be available throughout the facility. And employees need to be encouraged to continuously use them, as well as maintain good personal hygiene.
New policies and procedures for prompt identification and isolation of sick people
Companies are considering additional health and safety precautions such as preliminary screening, such as daily temperature monitoring.
Honeywell recently unveiled a new temperature screening solution that can be rapidly deployed at the entryway of a factory, airport, distribution center, stadium, or other commercial buildings.
The Honeywell ThermoRebellion incorporates intelligent, visual monitoring technology to quickly and efficiently identify whether personnel exhibit an elevated facial temperature. As individuals pass in front of a high-resolution, thermal imaging camera, their skin temperature is automatically detected within two seconds and displayed on an accompanying monitor.
This can alert a person with an elevated temperature to seek additional screening. In addition, operators gain reliable, real-time information about personnel entering their facilities enabling them to take measures to keep their premises safe and secure.
“Protecting worker safety is the top priority for any building operator and today, more than ever, managers are looking for innovative solutions to enhance their health screening processes,” said Renaud Mazarguil, president of Honeywell’s Gas Analysis and Safety business. “We’ve developed this breakthrough technology to automate and streamline the monitoring of an individual’s temperature and reduce the need for invasive monitoring. Honeywell is committed to developing new solutions to help workers, families, and communities stay safe.”
The system can also identify if individuals are wearing the necessary PPE.
Honeywell is piloting its new temperature monitoring solution at two of its US production facilities, including the company’s new N95 face mask manufacturing center in Phoenix.