Inspection Software for Preventing COVID-19 Outbreaks in the Workplace
As COVID-19 continues to be tightly enmeshed in our work and private lives, the need for clean and simplified ways to ensure that businesses and places of work are doing their best to stop the spread and minimize dangers to their workers becomes essential.
Workplace safety has never been such a sensitive topic before, and the level of scrutiny companies face over safety, protocol and upkeep has never been more pronounced. Governments all over the world have been testing initiatives and laws in the hopes of prevention.
Inspections especially, have been at the heart of prevention and management of the spread. Enforcement of proper sanitization, safety and preventative measures has been ramping up in any place of work permitted to continue operating through the shutdowns.
Workplaces with Heightened Risks
Essential businesses have been faced with strict regulations and enforcement of inspection rules. Places such as food processing, warehouses, distribution centers and manufacturing facilities have been especially challenged with time management, output and balancing that with health and safety regulations and precautions to keep their workers and staff safe. Any place of work facing a significant challenge such as long term homes and grocery stores are being put to inspections more thoroughly and with greater frequency.
Inspections in these fields face the same sets of challenges as other, traditionally deemed more dangerous work environments such as mining or construction. At their core, the heightened risks of COVID-19 propose a greater challenge; the safety precautions taken to stop the spread must be upkept every day, and there is nothing health inspection-wise that can be left rechecked periodically. For example, a hardware inspection for safety protocol of a machine can be conducted every few months. A virus spread demands constant cleaning, maintenance of protocol, and safety measures to be followed every day by all the staff and clients coming into potential contact with the disease. In that sense, it is more crucial than ever to have a system in place that offers quick, agile and smart access to files, organization tools and information and damage control.
Conducting effective Workplace Inspections
The successful inspection will be done at least once a month, by a designated inspection and safety employee. Though some details may change region-to-region, in general, there are a few main parts of a successful COVID-19 inspection that must be followed:
- Pre-Inspection: Consider this a check on what plan is set in place. From a comprehensive employee training program to checking whether the employer communicated expectations and protocols clearly with employees, this section prepares the way for a game plan aimed at reducing the spread of the virus and maximizing employee safety at the same time. Preparing for the health and safety representative (the size of the business shall determine the rules around the H&S Rep) to check for unnecessary exposure to the virus and proposed regulations is key. For example, can some or all the work be done remotely to reduce exposure and restrict access to others? What type of PPE has been recommended, if any and what types? These are all a part of a pre-inspection plan.
- Physical Distancing checklist: This inspection section ensures that the recommended distance will be kept by all employees and clients. Interactions, clear signage, facility maintenance, configuration, and scheduling are all some of the most frequent parts of this inspection.
- Workplace Hygiene: This section ensures that employees understand the specific dangers and spread patterns of COVID-19, and know what measures they must follow based on their place of work. An inspection in a grocery store will look different than one in a food processing plant, but the basics of hand washing, scheduling hygiene, designated sanitization spaces and following of recommendations based on the area and department are some of the standard points to look for.
- Cleaning and Disinfecting: This safety section deals with making sure data sheets have been handed out where applicable, ensures proper usage of cleaning agents, correct information on product effectiveness against COVID-19, safety and worker health, and disinfecting protocols in the workplace are being adhered to as outlined by the government. Constant vigilance to high-risk contamination areas is highlighted, and requires upkeep and checkups.
- Ventilation: Air exchange and disinfection is vital for an airborne virus. This section outlines the necessity of air circulation, proper ventilation and its upkeep, and increased importance of introducing new air into an environment where old air is being constantly circulated. Filter quality and quality is being assessed where applicable, and humidity levels are expected to be tracked and reported on.
- Personal Protective Equipment: This section ensures that depending on the workplace, the PPE handed out is in place with safety standards and protocols.
- Mental Health: Response to such a drastic shift in safety is going to include the assurance that workers and staff are prepared for the everyday challenges mentally. From a support program in place to survey taking on general wellbeing, the mental health section of the check should not be left ignored.
- Illness Containment and Reporting: Perhaps the most critical section to adhere to is the reporting of outbreaks, the containment once it happens and the prevention of spread. This section ensures that the laws set in place are being adhered to. Being aware of the symptoms of illness, providing clarifying signage and processes in place if illness is exhibited are just a few of the many checks required in this section.
- Training and Information: This final section ensures the reporter has seen and can confirm that information is being distributed and is understood and guidelines are being met and distributed to workers.
Due to laws and rules being implemented differently, and at different speeds in many areas, it is imperative to implement the correct protocols without accidentally placing workers and clients at risk. Inspection software that can be quickly made to adapt to changes and shifts in rules is key to maneuvering this constantly changing situation successfully.
How Inspection Software can Help
Inspection management software simplifies tasks such as checking, assessing, recording, scheduling, and tracking documents, checklists, and web forms. Field Eagle allows for continuous upkeep, repair, and organization in a fraction of the time it normally took to produce such detailed work.
Using any tablet to change protocols, gather data and share it with management, safety officers and internal safety regulators has never been made as easy as it is now. Tasks that took days can be processed, done and sent off in minutes with no worry or risk of missing information or problems with compliance to local laws or regulations.
Faster Workplace Safety
The speed with which an outbreak demands to be responded to and contained means that simple paperwork and classical ways of filing and reporting may no longer be considered safe options. Not only is pen and paper slow, easy to misunderstand and takes much longer to process, controlling an outbreak on a medium such as paper has been put into question, as the lifetime of a virus may come into play on surfaces, itself becoming a safety issue. Compliance without sacrificing all your time and safety is the way forward.
Looking for something you can do right now? Click to download a free Workplace COVID-19 Inspection checklist template.