It seems like our entire world has practically changed overnight with the spread of the coronavirus. People are suddenly anxious about leaving their homes, unsure of who or what may be carrying the virus. Companies are on hold, and millions of people across America are either out of work or working from home.
If you’re a contractor, you can’t simply close up shop or work from home. Although the world is different now in so many ways, oil & gas and other industrial workers are essential to the economy — and this kind of work can’t be done online or over the phone. Because your industry often requires people to be in close proximity to one another, you are responsible for altering your workplace practices to protect the health of your employees.
Adapting your Workplace
There are many things you can do to make your job sites safer for your employees. These preventative measures mainly involve cleaning and practicing social distancing. To protect your employees from the coronavirus at work, you can:
- Clean and sanitize the surfaces of tools, machines, and equipment between use.
- Always ensure that plenty of soap is available at all sinks, and encourage employees to wash their hands for 20 seconds with soap and water between tasks.
- If a worksite does not have access to running water, either pack bottled water and hand soap for employees to wash hands, or provide hand sanitizer for employees to use.
- Enforce social distancing measures (ask employees to maintain a distance of 6 feet from one another), except in cases where employees must work together in close proximity to complete a task.
- Tell employees to not share clothing, PPE, food, or drinks.
- Tell employees to not touch one another (ex: shaking hands, high fives, etc.)
- Do not have more employees than necessary assigned to a task, and try to schedule the minimum number of people per shift.
- Discuss face masks with your employees. As of April 4, 2020, the CDC recommends that all people wear face masks in public. Decide for your company whether or not face masks are a requirement, and decide whether you will provide masks for your employees, or if they must purchase their own.
- Talk with your employees about the coronavirus symptoms (fever, cough, shortness of breath), and tell anyone to stay home if they suspect that they might be ill.
If you implement these measures and explain them to your employees, you can drastically reduce the risk of the coronavirus spreading through your company.
Does the Coronavirus Affect my Certification with ISNetworld®, Avetta®, etc?
So, does the coronavirus affect your contractor company’s certification status? Well, it depends on your clients. If you have an account with a certification service, such as Avetta® or ISNetworld®, you may be asked by your hiring clients to update your safety programs in response to our current public health crisis.
Many clients are now requiring contractors to include new safety programs, such as:
- Respiratory Protection
- Personal Protection Equipment (PPE)
- Pandemic/Epidemic Reaction Plan
If you don’t submit new safety programs to your account within the client’s specified deadline, this can lower your grade or even cause your certification status to be revoked.
At First Compliance Safety, our team of experts can help you write custom safety programs, tailored to your clients’ needs. Give us a call today to get a head start on your new health and safety programs, and assure your clients that you’re prepared for these uncertain times.