As we enter the third month of frontline activity in many states, businesses are looking for ways to streamline their Detection, Monitoring, and Prevention activities. It’s vital to continue protecting frontline workers with robust controls throughout facilities, but it’s time to look for ways to improve compliance, streamline cumbersome processes, and boost productivity.
Monitoring, in particular, is an area ripe for improvement and Andonix has focused on it heavily in working with our Safely Pass and Smart Work Station customers. Let’s take a closer look at two specific initiatives that will play an important role in maintaining and improving the new normal in the coming months.
Monitoring Stations and Streamlined Entry Processes
Worksite entry is one of the most critical elements of COVID-19 detection and monitoring. It is an opportunity to perform temperature checks, require employee self-assessments, and limit access and physical proximity amongst employees. Many companies have implemented a series of controls that play an important role in catching potential cases before someone can even enter the building.
But 1:1 temperature checks and check-in processes don’t scale well in larger facilities. In a plant with hundreds of employees on each shift, hours might be spent just getting people in the door. The problem is even more pronounced in single-shift industries as offices and other operations start to open their doors. Monitoring stations are enabling a faster and more efficient approach to temperature checks in these cases.
Touch-free monitoring stations that utilize a tablet and temperature check software are able to free your EHS staff to focus on more pressing issues and not spend hours taking temperatures and monitoring entry for all of your employees. While some manual oversight is still needed to ensure compliance and to respond if a temperature above 99.5 degrees is detected, these stations can significantly streamline the process.
Testing is the single most important element in detecting and responding to infection. It’s estimated that as many as 40% of patients with COVID-19 are asymptomatic, meaning the only way to detect and stop the spread of the infection is contact tracing and frequent testing. To accomplish this, businesses are being asked to implement robust new protocols to ensure a single asymptomatic individual doesn’t close down an entire facility.
Unfortunately, relying on public health services won’t get the job done. While some municipalities and states are better than others, it’s impossible to standardize the access your employees have to health care and ensure that they receive the testing they need if they show symptoms, or if someone else in the facility tests positive.
To combat this, many employers are starting to offer testing in-house. FDA-approved testing kits are becoming more widely available and can be purchased in bulk and administered by companies to their employees. The tests are simple to administer and can be completed in the workplace if someone shows symptoms or at home if someone has been shown to have contact with a potential case. The results of the test are contained in the testing kit and can be shared back with management to prove a negative result. While self-testing can’t replace professional medical care, it can help identify if further testing and action are needed.
To further supplement self-testing, telehealth services have taken off in recent months as doctors and medical professionals have adhered to social distancing guidelines by taking calls and appointments remotely. While telehealth existed before COVID-19 it was used sparingly and was not something that could be scaled for corporate use in an affordable manner.
That’s all changed as the majority of non-emergency medical inquiries have turned to telehealth. Telehealth services are now available on retainer to support testing both in the facility and at home, helping employees administer the tests if they don’t feel comfortable doing it alone.
The Importance of Continuous Improvement in Monitoring Procedures
We are still months away from a potential vaccine and scientists are still trying to determine how much immunity the antibodies for COVID-19 offer. Regardless of the outcome of these tests and studies, one thing is for certain – we’ll never go back to the way things were. The new normal is here to stay, protecting workers, reducing the risk of infection in the workplace, and rethinking how we handle sick days.
The technology and procedures used to support these changes are more important than ever. While the key element right is keeping the doors open and employees safe and healthy, many companies are already starting to look for ways to streamline and improve processes to find savings. Monitoring stations and in-house testing are both ways to start tweaking those processes for the better.
Learn more about Andonix and our commitment to help businesses Detect, Monitor and Prevent COVID-19 in our Resource Suite – complete a survey to evaluate if your business is doing everything it can to keep the doors open, download our Safely Playbook, or learn more about our free Safely Pass app.