During our Monday, April 6 “Food Safety and COVID-19: What Businesses Need to Know” webinar, we discussed a number of recommendations to ensure food safety and worker health. One of the practical scenarios reviewed by Alicia Swanson, Food Safety Professional, involved key considerations when increasing employee distancing in production.
Specifically, are you working to implement employee distancing, but having difficulty in a production facility? Here are six key questions to ask of your team.
Do we have time to increase the gaps between shifts?
Most facilities have a small overlap between shifts. Schedule a gap (or if you have one, a larger gap) between shifts so personnel from each shift don’t overlap and sanitation can have time to sanitize time clocks, lockers, etc.
Can we stagger break times?
Be prescriptive with breaktimes so there are no crowds during breaks, while also limiting personnel in the lunchroom and locker rooms.
Have we taped distancing recommendations on the floor?
Apply what some retailers are doing by putting tape on the floor to mark the proper distance between individuals in areas where people work closely (think inspection table) and other common areas.
Are tools and materials assigned or community?
Assign an owner responsible for sanitizing (pens, clipboards). Assign materials like wipes, boxes of gloves, etc., to a single individual.
Do we have dedicated zones or traffic flow?
You may need to temporarily change your zoning policy. Like with visitors, consider only one entry door and a separate exit door to control the flow. If you only have one door, establish a red light/green policy for everyone coming and going.
Have we communicated the need for these changes to our employees?
Maybe most importantly, your employees need to know about these changes and why they’re important to maintaining worker health. Communicating through your managers, line leaders, posters, break room TVs and other tools provides them the information they need to successfully implement your policies.
As you have questions or need additional insights, please contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org.