We live in a time where it has become abundantly clear that protecting the health of the workforce is a must. It seems that every year a new viral strain appears, infecting millions and killing thousands. These global pandemics seem to grow more frequent and more dangerous with each passing year. For those who own large manufacturing plants and who employ dozens or hundreds of people, (especially when those individuals work together in close quarters), adopting new health and safety regulations will be a must.
From biometric screening to better sick leave policies, health screening, portable hand washing stations, and simply keeping human-to-human contact to a minimum, there is much that manufacturing plants can do to reduce the spread of infection.
Let’s take a look at some basic strategies that manufacturing companies can utilize to protect their workforce and ultimately secure consistent and reliable levels of productivity.
At time, business owners have balked at the idea of investing valuable company dollars and HR time into improving health conditions in the workplace. Where is the return on investment?
The truth is this. The return on investment lies in having a workforce that is healthy and productive. A cleaner, germ-free work environment will make employees feel safer, which will, in turn, create a more productive workforce. And that is further beneficial, because a more productive workforce will help the business make more money in the long run.
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According to virologists, the vast majority of pathogens enter the human body through an orifice (an opening on the body). That means most viruses cannot permeate through the skin. They must enter the body via the eyes, nose, mouth, ears, or an open wound. Virologists also say that one of the best ways to prevent illness is to get people to wash their hands.
Hand washing is critical to worker safety because humans are prone to touching their faces with their hands. And unfortunately, humans also touch everything else with their hands. That means if an employee touches a tool, machine, door handle, table, assembly line implement, or anything else at a manufacturing center that might have germs on it, those germs could be instantly transferred into the body if that person then touches their face. Setting up several mobile hand wash stations throughout a manufacturing center and making it mandatory practice for workers to wash their hands once per hour would reduce the overall number of workplace illness.
For every portable hand washing sink placed in a manufacturing center, there should also be a hand sanitizer dispenser near the sink. However hand sanitizer is not preferred over hand washing. In fact, a good hand washing with soap and hot water at 140F° (or as hot as the washer can comfortably stand) will provide a more thorough disinfecting of the hands. Furthermore, constantly repeated use of hand sanitizer can actually damage the skin and rob the skin of essential moisture.
Companies need to provide a strong sanitizer at every hand washing station, but they also need to provide moisturizing cream to prevent cracking skin. Remember, the goal here is to increase production among the employees by creating a healthier workforce. Hand sanitizer is not a production-increaser if workers are experiencing cracking, bleeding, or otherwise uncomfortable hands. Workplace comfort is a must.
In addition to hand washing and hand sanitizing, there is much that a company can do to disinfect the workspace and the common areas where employees gather. It is now recommended that specialists move across the floor of an assembly line or other manufacturing department and sanitize every object that regularly comes into contact with workers. Household disinfectants work fine for this. Remember, viruses, germs, and bacteria are not hard to kill. But it’s essential to be thorough in treating each area where workers operate. A disinfectant crew should apply rubbing alcohol, hydrogen peroxide, or bleach mixtures to tools, machinery, etc. Any of these liquids will kill most harmful substances.
As for a proper disinfecting schedule, companies should implement workplace cleaning between each shift. If a manufacturing center is running three, 8-hour shifts throughout the day, those shifts should be shortened to seven hours, with an hour set aside for cleaning between each shift. Furthermore, each workstation should be provided with a virucide spray so that individual workers can sanitize their work stations.
For rooms where workers gather, such as receiving rooms, locker rooms, break rooms, cafeterias, or other closed-air rooms, these rooms should be treated with high heat between each shift. Most viruses cannot survive in temperatures above 130F° for more than a few minutes. Implementing the use of industrial-grade heating units to blast heat into a break room between shifts will kill any harmful, biological contaminants that may be in that room.
Call B.D.D.S. at 1-800-704-4654 for assistance in setting up heating units
Heat is one of the most effective ways to kill viruses naturally. Heat can get into all the nooks and crannies where liquid sprays cannot reach. Heat kills bacteria in the air, too, something that liquid sanitizers cannot do. Think of heat as a universal decontaminant, effectively “clearing” a room of any bacteria and unwanted, foreign substances.
Remember, when a viral outbreak occurs, the goal of a business should be two-fold:
When the business dedicates itself to work health and safety, the workers stay healthy. And when the workers are healthy, they are not nervous or fearful of coming into work. That creates a safe, pleasant, comfortable work environment. And that leads to maximum productivity, even during times of viral outbreaks.
There is much that businesses can do to create a safe working environment. But if you would like assistance in sanitizing your workspace and in setting up workplace safety systems to prevent disease, please call B.D.D.S. at 1-800-704-4654.