COVID-19 Response Services

Health and safety companies have developed unique solutions to assist organizations in their desire to overcome the challenges presented by COVID-19.

Health and safety companies have developed unique solutions to assist organizations in their desire to overcome the challenges presented by COVID-19.

As the novel coronavirus continues to impact business and government operations across the world, both the public and private sectors are seeking solutions to mitigate the risk of exposure to this pathogen to help safeguard the health of their employees and visitors as well as minimize potential impacts on their operations.

All organizations are being faced with the challenge of how to protect employees and visitors from disease transmission while striving to welcome people back into a safe environment. As EHS professionals, we have a unique ability to help others to assess this unique situation from health, human behavior and engineering perspectives so that facilities can re-open or remain open with confidence. To meet the challenge posed by COVID-19, health and safety companies have developed unique solutions to assist organizations in their desire to overcome the challenges presented.

Jobsite Safety Accountability Supervisor (JSAS)

A team of experts has been providing COVID-19 safety services in the Bay Area of Northern California to help large construction projects move forward and provide work environments that minimize the risk of virus transmission among workers in the construction trades. The City of Berkeley and multiple other counties have implemented specific protocols for large sites that require a written plan to address risks of COVID-19 exposure to employees and steps taken to minimize these risks. As a third-party jobsite, JSAS personnel audits these plans for compliance with local health orders and verifies the proper execution of mitigation measures on site through frequent site visits. These visits provide reassurance to contractors and employers that they are implementing proper controls to limit the spread of the virus while on site.

Facility OSHA and Health Order Compliance Review

An objective, critical review of facilities and personnel practices against the OSHA risk categories and hierarchy of controls will identify any changes required to make facilities compliant with the latest standards and protocols. A review of physical areas, employee work arrangements, engineering systems and administrative controls is conducted to identify high risk areas and propose changes that will minimize the risk of pathogen exposure.

Third Party Oversight of Cleaning and Cleaning Protocol Development

Engaging a third party with specific knowledge of acceptable cleaning protocols can help an organization implement procedures to keep work areas clean and decrease exposure risks to employees and visitors. In order to ensure the implementation of effective cleaning protocols, EHS specialists should oversee the work of experienced, insured contractors or assigned personnel so that they are sanitizing facilities in accordance with best practices and current CDC, EPA and OSHA guidelines. To maximize the removal of pathogens, the review of cleaning agents used should be conducted and effective exposure time limits are adhered to. Cleaning staff should be trained on proper cleaning procedures.

HVAC/Plumbing Systems Readiness Review

The safe operation of HVAC and building plumbing systems is critical for the readiness of building reopening. Engineers will review HVAC and plumbing systems so that American Society of Heating, Refrigerating and Air-Conditioning Engineers (ASHRAE) Building Readiness guidelines are in place. EHS professionals should coordinate effects of cleaning oversight team and building owners so that standing water is removed, thus limiting exposure to Legionella or other pathogens prior to system restart in facilities that have been partially or fully shut down. A review of facility airflow patterns and preventive maintenance procedures that optimize indoor air quality with best practices to reduce pathogen spread should be conducted. Upon completion of these activities, an engineering report on all activities will be provided to help limit exposure of building occupants to potentially harmful pathogens.

Scientific Air Quality Testing

Delivering good air quality and improved hygienics is the new baseline for facility re-openings. Experts should assesses your building processes and systems and how people move within the facility to develop solutions to meet the needs of your stakeholders and ensure regulatory compliance. The performance of diagnostic tests, recommendations for operational changes, provision of safety practices and training should be provided to reduce the spread of COVID-19.

Updated Health and Safety Protocols

The arrival of COVID-19 has required all organizations to reevaluate their current health and safety plans specific to pathogen spread. Industrial hygiene experts can help businesses and communities to develop site-specific deep cleaning protocols and update existing health and safety and emergency response plans to address current risks.

All plans and protocols should be developed in accordance with protocols from the CDC, World Health Organization (WHO), OSHA, EPA and American Industrial Hygiene Association (AIHA).

Change Management Services: The “New Normal” Workplace

One of the most challenging issues organizations face in this environment is the adjustment to the “new normal” way of working that enables the implementation of effective protocols that will bring employees and customers back to facilities. People are concerned about the risks associated with returning to work and play. Their anxieties are well-founded. As we begin to re-open, EHS professionals should provide services that establish trust. Health and safety professionals can advise on necessary cultural changes and enhanced communication efforts that will be required to keep employees and the public engaged and address their concerns. We can help organizations to implement controls, communicate steps taken and monitor critical success factors to sustain a productive and effective reopening.

Providing trust by providing guidance on the implementation of mitigation measures that limit the spread of COVID-19 is key to fostering an environment where people feel confident returning to work, providing services and participating in public life. As health and safety professionals, we have an essential role to play to enable the return to the “new normal.”

Experts such as the following are available to help your organization:

• Industrial hygiene experts that help develop and execute decontamination protocols.

• Site safety personnel to review, monitor and report on safety plans specific to COVID-19.

• Consulting engineers who can identify building system modifications options.

• Commissioning engineers and technicians to support confirmation that modified facilities can provide safe and reliable solutions.

• Building operations monitoring that can improve effectiveness of modified systems.

• Provision of updated health and safety plans and emergency response plans.

Reach out to professionals who can provide assistance in reducing the risk of COVID-19 transmission to return to activities.

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OH&S Digital Edition

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    January February 2021

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