In these unprecedented times manufacturers require a more formal approach to hazard assessment and work practices than in the past.
Here are some things to consider as you get started:
- Involve as many employees as possible when you assess hazards and create new modes of working. If you operate a large facility, consider creating smaller teams – each one focused on a certain zone of the facility. A smaller organization may be able to address the entire facility with one team.
- Provide a means for ongoing suggestions and responses. You will be learning as you go, so you want to make sure employees feel like their suggestions are welcome and they see how you address each suggestion. Perhaps you post a white board in a central location or perhaps you use monitors throughout your facility. Just make sure your feedback is timely and updated regularly.
- Document the existing protocols and new measures that you establish, even if it is a simple bulleted list of requirements. This documentation will help you assess how these new protocols are working and will make it easy for you to adjust and standardize as your learning progresses. It will also allow you to refer back to your standards, should someone in your facility experience an infection. Publish them in easy to access locations so employees can review them.
- Regularly consult with the CDC and your local and state health department websites to maintain awareness of any new information that becomes available as the situation evolves.
- As you ramp up production, you may want to test your new policies and procedures with smaller groups of workers prior to calling back the entire workforce.
- As you create these changes in your workplace be sure to provide adequate training for supervisors and the rest of the workforce. This is a good time to practice monitoring or regular audits to make sure employees understand and abide by all the new rules and work processes. You should also consider posting signs around your facility to remind employees of your new practices and procedures.
Have questions? Get in touch with an expert on the Illinois Manufacturing Helpline: