No matter what industry you’re in, what products or services you offer, the spread of COVID-19 has affected all of us. In the manufacturing sector, we know many of our customers run essential businesses and are doing their best to carry on. Now that we’re a few weels or so into this “new normal,” we wanted to remind our readers that practicing smart social distancing for manufacturers is still a huge priority. Don’t ease up and keep your team healthy.
Limit Contact on the Shop Floor
Hopefully every machine shop is taking logical measures. First and foremost, social distancing for manufacturers includes limiting the physical contact between floor personnel. The general rule is six feet apart. Furthermore, wearing gloves and protective face masks are becoming a norm even at shops that don’t normally require them.
But there are other ways you can limit contact in your shop. For instance, try limiting the amount of people who work with individual pieces of equipment, supplies and even office materials. Germs can live on these surfaces for a few hours up to several days. Impress upon your team the importance of limiting their own exposure to supplies as well as wiping down equipment after each use.
Try using fewer office supplies and printing less. For instance, one shop has gone almost completely paperless and “the only thing traveling with the] parts [along the manufacturing line] is a physical tag” with basic order information.
Clean More Often than Usual
This was mentioned above, but cleaning more than you might usually is a smart move. Wipe down equipment after each use when realistic, ensure common areas like break rooms, lavatories and offices are kept tidy and cleaned after each use.
Remind your employees that all normal sanitation measures should be followed and encourage them to wash hands and wipe down surfaces more often. Where latex gloves when it’s safe to do so, but remember, disposable gloves should be discarded after tasks and not reused. Work gloves and reusable masks should be washed after every use.
You may also want to clean or sanitize things you wouldn’t normally think of. Things like walkie talkies, machine controls, even coffee makers should all be wiped down regularly—especially if multiple people use them.
Going Virtual Helps with Social Distancing for Manufacturers (When Possible)
Finally, keep your shop limited to only essential employees who need to be there. Front office workers should be allowed to work remotely if able. If you’re unfamiliar with what’s required to keep your team efficient while at home, check out some of these essential remote working tools.
For essential employees, take measures to ensure they are remaining as isolated as possible. Consider staggering shifts when you can. Limiting the physical amount of employees in your office can help limit exposure and allow management to better control the environment.
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