CMMS Insight Blog

Ensuring Facility Safety When Reopening During COVID-19

Aug 25, 2020 1:46:51 PM / by CMMS Insight Staff

Remember when we lived in a world where people just went out and did things? When it was no big deal to walk up to a colleague and have a chat? When we didn’t constantly think about masks and touching surfaces?

It seems like a lifetime ago, but it just goes to show how much (and how rapidly) the coronavirus has changed the world.

Of course, we’re now past the early days of the pandemic when many employees were stuck in suspended animation, not sure when they would reopen. However, facility safety when reopening in the pandemic is a completely different beast than it used to be.

Here are a few ways to ensure your facility stays safe.

Start with a Plan

Reopening your facility in the midst of pandemic times is not the same as reopening after a short vacation. The rules of the world are different now. The wrong moves could critically endanger your employees and, as a consequence, seriously endanger the health of your business.

So before you reopen, you need to have a plan.

First, you need to determine the unique risks of your facility. Take social distancing, for example. Since we currently don’t have a vaccine or a proven antiviral that can work on coronavirus, the best way to protect employees is to prevent them from getting sick. And that starts with keeping employees apart.

The problem, of course, is that most facilities are not built with six-foot distances in mind. This may mean you have to reduce the number of people present in your facility, which means you have to plan your work shifts strategically.

Cleaning is Non-Negotiable

Another critical part of the plan is cleaning. Or rather, determining what needs to be cleaned, how to clean it, and how you can clean it often enough to minimize risks.

For example, some surfaces only need to be cleaned with soap and water periodically. These are surfaces that employees don’t touch that often. High-touch surfaces, however, will need routine, 360 disinfection. These include:

  • Countertops
  • Doorknobs
  • Light switches
  • Handles
  • Desks
  • Phones
  • Keyboards
  • Toilets
  • Faucets and sinks
  • Touch screens

You should clean these surfaces using disinfectants on the EPA’s Class N list of disinfectants approved to protect against the coronavirus. These surfaces should also be cleaned between shifts.

Maintain Safe Behavioral Practices

It’s also important to ensure that your employees maintain safe behavioral practices recommended by the Centers for Disease Control. That means educating your employees on how to stay safe and providing them with the tools necessary to stay safe.

For example, all employees should be provided with masks and gloves, as well as additional protective face coverings if needed (depending on their job). Drill your employees to avoid touching their face, nose, eyes, and mouth. If employees have long hair, this should be tied back from their face so they don’t have to brush it out of the way.

Employees should also be provided with soap and water to wash their hands regularly for at least 20 seconds each. Give them a list of songs to sing to ensure the timing is right.

Facility Safety Starts with Caution

Unfortunately, the coronavirus pandemic has shown that there is no way to guarantee facility safety. However, you can mitigate the risks of a serious issue in your facility. It starts with being aware of the problem.

If you need more tips to adapt your facility management to the pandemic times, make sure to check out our blog for more great posts.

Topics: Facility Management, Preventative Maintenance, Safety Management

Written by CMMS Insight Staff