Flu season brings another level of complications to every industry and manufacturing is not exempt. Factories, plants, workshops, garages; whatever the profession in the industry, touchpoints can create hazards that your typical office job might not have. Illness spreading through the plant can derail productivity and workplace morale faster than you could imagine.
So, are there steps to prevent your business from seeing these spreads so often? Of course. Here are the best practices to follow in flu season and every season:
Educate Your Employees
The first steps to creating a clean and safe work environment is education for your employees. You can’t be everywhere to see the warning signs, so training on how to watch for symptoms, how to properly clean equipment, and what is the correct PPE to wear are important steps in creating an illness free work environment.
Manufacturing often requires equipment-intensive tasks. Equipment should be cleaned often if it switches hands and, if possible, different tools should be switched out with clean ones and the used should be cleaned often and regularly. It’s recommended to have stations with cleaning wipes and/or spray to make cleaning your tools and equipment both easy and routine.
Require Wearing PPE
Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) has been standard practice for many years in manufacturing due to its physical safety benefits, but it also can be used for a different purpose when it comes to the spread of germs. Face shields can help protect from infectious airborne particles which is important in limiting the spread of disease in the workplace. Disposable gloves, eyewear, and masks are also great steps in keeping everyone safe from the spread of illness. PPE should be kept at the workplace and should be cleaned or replaced often to ensure there is no contamination.
Screen for Symptoms
Perhaps the most important part to preventing the spread of illness in manufacturing is knowing the symptoms and paying attention. If the spread can be stopped at the doors you can limit the damage that illnesses would create if it got around to the work floor. Establish a screening protocol for symptoms so your employees know when it’s okay to come to work versus when they should stay home.
The more steps you put in place to help limit the spread of illness, the better equipped you’ll be to keep your manufacturing team in full gear. EHS Management is always here to help with any questions, and also visit the CDC [ https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/community/guidance-manufacturing-workers-employers.html ] to learn more about how to handle flu season in more detail.