Speaker:Bill Levinson, P.E., FASQ, is the owner of Levinson Productivity Systems PC
Areas will be covered
1. Planning principles
- Create a risk register of locations and/or activities that could expose workers and other stakeholders to COVID-19.
- Involve workers and other interested parties in the planning process. They are often in the best position to identify potential contagion sources.
- Consider two primary hazards: contagion from a cough, and contagion from surfaces. Countermeasures against a cough will work against contagion from ordinary respiration but not necessarily the other way around.
- Distance (between respiratory tracts) is our friend, and the more, the better. Distance can be added without the need for more floor space through the use of partitions.
- Air handling systems, and ultraviolet air disinfection systems, can suppress contagion as well. ASHRAE offers substantial guidance on this.
6. Administrative controls rely on vigilance and compliance.
- Staggered shifts reduce the number of people present at any given time.
- Hand hygiene and surface hygiene address the issue of surface-borne contagion.
- Telling people to maintain 6 feet between them, on the other hand, requires the use of technology (such as proximity alarms as reminders) to be truly effective.
- If a job requires respiratory protection as defined by OSHA, then NIOSH-approved respirators are mandatory, along with a respiratory protection program. Ordinary or even surgical face masks will not do. The good news however is that most jobs defined as medium risk, i.e. most jobs outside health care, will not require this level of protection per "Guidance on Preparing Workplaces for COVID-19"
- Respirators nonetheless offer the best protection when worn regardless of job requirements, assuming they are available. The UK's Health and Safety Executive (their counterpart of OSHA) found that the best respirator reduces the risk of getting COVID-19 by a factor of 100. The kinds not used by health care workers do seem available on an at least sporadic basis. Placement of a cloth mask over the exhaust valve can meanwhile offer some protection to others if the wearer has the disease and is asymptomatic.
- The UK's Health and Safety Executive found that surgical masks reduce the risk of getting COVID-19 by a factor of about 6. These masks are known quantities when they meet ASTM requirements. A major issue is that, unlike respirators, they do not seal completely around the nose and mouth but this can be improved with mask tighteners and mask sealers.
- Improvised masks are not as good but they are still better than none at all.
- All masks and respirators must be worn and handled properly and, if reusable, disinfected properly between uses.
- Beware of counterfeit PPE, especially respirators that claim N95 or better capability.
- Consider safety goggles or face shields to protect against contagion through the eyes, although this is not believed to be a principal contagion source.
Who will Benefit
Everyone with responsibility for reopening businesses in the aftermath of the COVID-19 outbreak, as well as people with responsibility for occupational health and safety (OH&S) compliance along with building layouts and heating, ventilation, and air conditioning (HVAC).
This activity has been approved for 1.5 HR (General) recertification credit hours toward aPHR, PHR, PHRca, SPHR, GPHR, PHRi and SPHRi recertification through HR Certification Institute (HRCI). Please make note of the activity ID number on your recertification application form. For more information about certification or recertification, please visit the HR Certification Institute website at www.hrci.org
This program is valid for 1.5 PDCs for the SHRM-CP® or SHRM-SCP®
Bill Levinson, P.E., FASQ, is the owner of Levinson Productivity Systems PC which specializes in industrial statistics, lean manufacturing, and quality management systems, industrial statistics, and lean manufacturing. He is the author of numerous books and articles on management and quality and a leading authority on Henry Ford’s universal code for world-class performance.