As we shift from quarantine to reopening businesses throughout North America, it’s more important than ever to have clearly defined, carefully monitored processes in place to ensure proper site entry and workplace compliance. Part of this depends on having the resources in place to support these changes. In our recent Playbook on how to go back to work safely, we discussed the importance of a Pandemic Response Team (PRT), consisting of a PRT Manager, Virus Prevention and Protocols Lead, Employee Access Control Lead, Sanitization and Disinfection Lead, Communication Lead, Training Lead, and PPE and Materials Lead.
Throughout the month of May, we’ll explore the importance of these roles and the systems that need to be in place to support safe reopening. Access control in particular, though, is a major concern in organizations of all sizes. How do you evaluate employees and future guests at the door, minimize entry points, and maintain careful standards on the floor to avoid potential exposure? Let’s take a closer look.
Health Screening and Site Entry Protocols
Start by carefully evaluating the entry and exit points from your workspace. Create a journey map from the moment employees arrive at work until the moment they leave. This will help identify locations that require site entry protocols and other areas that need to be closed off to maintain better control of your doors.
Once these entry points are identified, implement health screening procedures that will reduce the risk of a sick employee reaching the floor or interacting with other employees. To effectively implement screening at scale, you need a system that allows for:
- Contact-free temperature checks
- Visual observation for overt symptoms
- Self-reporting in a digital environment of potential exposure and symptoms
- A system of record for each of these checks that can be accessed at any time
Screenings start at the site entry gates for your building. Barriers should be put in place to stop anyone from avoiding or accidentally missing the entry point screening. This ensures universal adherence to protocols that will capture a potential risk in advance of someone reaching the floor. The most important elements of this process are that it:
- Doesn’t cluster people together – While you are creating an intentional bottleneck at your entry points, you will need to stagger entry and exit times to limit the number of people in the area at any point in time. Staff should remain in their cars until their designated entry time to avoid unnecessary contact. Lines should be marked to ensure a six-foot space between each person waiting to enter.
- Is a touchless process – Employees entering the facility should not need to touch anything other than their own personal electronic device. They shouldn’t need to interact with the time clock, handles on doors, or fobs that would previously have been necessary for entry.
- Accounting for off-site entry – If your company provides busses to pick up employees at a set pickup point or from their homes, these protocols need to be implemented on those vehicles as well. That means additional disinfection on the vehicle, temperature check resources for use on the vehicle, and for drivers and use of PPE by all staff in proximity to one another in transit.
The goal of these procedures is to reduce unnecessary contact between employees as they enter and exit the building, while accurately recording the health status of each individual as they enter.
Social Distancing Procedures
For much of the last two months, we’ve heard how important social distancing is to the fight against coronavirus. By maintaining a safe six-foot distance between all individuals, the potential spread of the virus is reduced if someone is sick. Because the CDC estimates that 25% of people infected with coronavirus show no symptoms, temperature checks and self-assessments may still miss potential cases. Social distancing protocols help reduce the risk that an asymptomatic person spreads the disease to others in the facility.
This requires a fundamental change in how we work, though, and will necessitate new efforts by management to enforce the rules. These include:
- Staying 2 meters away from one another at all times.
- Utilizing a faceguard, especially when required to work within 2 meters of other employees.
- Eliminating any handshakes, hugs, high fives, or other physical contacts between employees.
- Eliminating visitors and guests except for necessary for plant operations.
- Eliminating in-person meetings unless absolutely necessary. Implement video conferencing tools using personal electronic devices whenever possible.
It’s vital that employees follow these social distancing requirements not just at work, but wherever they travel in public. While everyone will have close contact with immediate family, they should avoid potentially hazardous interactions outside of the home as well as in the workplace. Communicate the importance of social distancing and the impact of not following these procedures as much as possible.
Building a System that Supports Site Entry and Workplace Compliance
We are far from done dealing with the realities of the coronavirus pandemic. Recent estimates show that the number of cases and potential deaths are expected to continue growing for several more weeks, making it all the more important that businesses and employees follow strict protocols to reduce the risk of exposure and spreading the disease. Without these processes, you risk unnecessary shutdowns in the future that can further impact operations.
Andonix understands these challenges and has launched Safely Pass to help. Designed to minimize the potential for operational disruption resulting from workplace acquired illness, Safely Pass promotes health and safety best practices at points of entry, on the floor, and in communication with your frontline workers. Learn more Safely Pass here or download our Ultimate Guide to Working Safely Playbook, available for free here: