When the COVID-19 pandemic started, many industries started shifting their operations to transition to a work-from-home setup to ensure the safety of their workers. But for many other workplaces, it’s impossible to work from home. Among them are the factories all over the world. Factories, especially the ones that manufacture essential products such as food and personal protective equipment, must do everything they can to stay in operation. Otherwise, people would lose access to basic necessities. It would cause more chaos in communities.
This is why, during the height of the pandemic, factory workers were facing high risks for contracting the coronavirus. Because they’re all spending hours at a time in one huge room with their fellow workers, it’s much easier for the coronavirus to spread.
Fortunately, employers and factory managers adapted to the changes. Agencies such as the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) laid down a list of tips for health safety in factories. But this doesn’t mean that the risks aren’t still there, even though it’s been almost a year since the pandemic started. For instance, USA Today reported that COVID-19 deaths occurred in several meatpacking plants all over the country. Thus, it has become crucial again to refamiliarize the best practices in a factory during a pandemic.
Invest in the High-quality Equipment
During trying times such as a pandemic, companies must find the right balance between keeping a steady flow of profit and ensuring the health safety of the workers. One of the best ways to do that is to ensure that factories have the best equipment. This is to ensure the efficiency of the workers and the equipment. And if efficiency is ensured, then the company will get the results that they need and the workers won’t have to do overtime work. So invest in must-have equipment, especially a high-quality variable transformer, to ensure that every machine in the factory is always running and in top shape.
Maintain Social Distancing
This is a basic rule now in any public space, not just factories. But it’s also fairly easy to forget. In places such as factories where people need to focus on work, it would be difficult to maintain social distancing if people need to interact with each other to collaborate. Thus, factory managers will come into play by strictly enforcing this rule. As the CDC stated, factory workers must maintain six feet from each other and that they shouldn’t work while facing each other.
Necessitate Protection Equipment
Factory workers must ensure that each person in the factory is properly equipped with a face mask. Gloves and face shields are extremely beneficial as well. Again, much like maintaining social distancing, wearing a face mask is the norm now. But many people also tend to forget this. So factory managers must make sure that such protection must be worn at all times. Clear barriers made from plexiglass would be good, too, if it’s possible in certain factories.
Operate with Flexible Hours
Unlike those working from home, establishing a flexible schedule in a factory is extremely hard. But it’s not impossible. What factory managers can do is to set up a staggered hours scheme for the workers. This means that they would have different shifts. For example, some workers would come in at 7:30 AM and end their workday at 3:00 PM. But some would start at 10:30 AM and end at 6:00 PM. This way, there would be fewer people who would be in one room at the same time — thus, lowering the risks of the spread of the coronavirus.
Offer Paid Time Off for the Sick
While companies are eager to maintain the flow of profit, workers are also adamant about maintaining their income no matter what. And no one can blame them. During these trying times, it’s understandable if workers want to keep on working to earn their keep. But this also means that many of them would still go to work despite feeling sick. This is a huge no-no for factories because they might have COVID-19. As a result, they might spread it among the workers and completely disrupt the whole operation. So what employers can do is offer paid time off for the sick so that workers would be encouraged to just stay at home.
Even though vaccines have been distributed in several countries now, it’s still unclear when the COVID-19 pandemic will truly end. So while it’s still ongoing, it’s important for essential workers such as those who work in factories to maintain health safety while working.