As businesses slowly reopen with COVID-19 still circulating, it’s obvious that “business as usual” won’t be a return to pre-COVID-19 norms. Top of mind for employers and employees, now more than ever, is health and safety. When we ask what our clients’ most pressing need is right now, the overwhelming majority respond the way this client did:
“We need help with assessing our facilities’ COVID-19 response plans, policies, and practices to make sure we’re doing everything we can to safeguard the health of our employees and customers.”
Our top two recommendations?
1. Identify and address gaps in your COVID-19 response plan with a systematic COVID-19 Gap Assessment.
As guidelines and requirements continue to evolve, it’s important to know your facility’s COVID-19 response plan, policies, programs and practices are based on current Occupational Safety and Health Act (OSHA) requirements, as well as recommendations from the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), American Society of Heating, Refrigeration, and Air-Conditioning Engineers (ASHRAE) and other applicable agencies.
A systematic COVID-19 Gap Assessment should evaluate and offer recommendations for:
- Determinations of highest areas of concern for risk of virus contraction or transmission
- Sensible engineering controls to isolate, contain, and protect workplaces of highest concern
- Personal protective equipment (PPE) recommendations based on task and locations
- Administrative controls regarding interaction of personnel
- Decontamination plans based on equipment, task, location, etc.
- Identifying Indoor Air Quality (IAQ) concerns with shared HVAC systems
- Identifying “deep clean” best practices for COVID-19 affected or suspect areas
- Conformance with CDC COVID-19 prevention, containment, and response guidelines and protocols
We’ve found the best way to start our gap assessments is through a Pre-Gap Assessment Questionnaire. We’re able to compile and analyze data obtained from this questionnaire to guide our discussions and recommendations during our Gap Assessment WebEx. The minutes from that WebEx become the framework for a comprehensive report that includes a summary of recommendations and action items to make sure our clients are doing everything they can to safeguard the health of their employees and customers.
2. Validate your cleaning and disinfecting procedures with a meticulous Cleaning Protocol Assessment.
We recommend engaging a Certified Industrial Hygienist (CIH) to assess your facility cleaning and disinfection activities, specifically those in response to suspected SARS-CoV-2 contamination. An experienced CIH can anticipate and recognize problems before they arise and should provide at least the following activities in their assessment:
- Review of proposed cleaning and disinfection procedures, including comparison to CDC cleaning and disinfection recommendations
- Onsite observations of cleaning activities to determine if such activities follow established cleaning procedures
- Wipe sampling of disinfected surfaces to evaluate the effectiveness of cleaning activities.
Need help with assessing your facilities’ COVID-19 response plans, policies, and practices? We’re here to help.