At Hartridge health and safety is familiar territory for us. It’s a fact of our business that from time to time we work with safety risks that cannot be avoided or mitigated completely. In these cases the task still needs to be done but with additional PPE to assist us. These tasks can involve heavy lifting, operating machinery, and handling chemical substances.
Today we have a new risk to our health as staff move about and work at Hartridge requiring more safety measures than ever before. Of course, it is the coronavirus which is still very much in our communities, both local and global, and is holding back a return to the normal life we knew before.
It was essential to basic business operations that Hartridge stay open if possible and thankfully it has. It has been tough because we have been working with a reduced operation for people’s protection and to offer as much support as we could, albeit limited, to our customers who are also battling through. One of the ways in which we have been able to open is to prioritize new safety measures and implement them quickly.
Advising safely about safety
We are no strangers to talking about safety. We have regularly made sure our advice on workshop safety & high pressure injection safety is easily available. High pressure injury training is mandatory for staff and trainees who visit us. This has because it is something we work with every day and we are high pressure technology experts; therefore we have a duty of care to make sure everyone knows the risks and take the necessary precautions.
However, we are not medical experts. So for our coronavirus protection measures we have needed to refer to the experts and make sure we are following the latest government guidelines to secure our workplace. We would also urge you to follow all and any guidelines, laws, and advice in your countries or regions, as they may be slightly different from what we have done here in the UK. What is clear is that prioritizing PPE & additional safety measures is one more thing you can do to protect your business and are able to operate where you can.
What does it look like at Hartridge?
Upon entry into reception anyone on site is temperature checked. Visitors are also temperature checked and fill in a health screening form. No one is allowed any further into the building than the reception area because this means that if anyone does come onto site with a high temperature and potentially unwell with covid-19 the amount of exposure of the building and staff is known and contained.
Temperature is just one indicator of one of the symptoms of covid-19 and is by no means a perfect indicator. However, it is something definitively measurable and therefore is a straightforward approach for a business to adopt. The type of temperature checking device is critical to providing accurate measurement which is why we have chosen to invest in a temperature & ID checking camera.
We initially had hand held laser thermometers but it quickly became apparent this procedure would be needed for a long time and it became more cost effective to get a better, longer term solution.
After the temperature check is passed you collect your facemasks. The facemask must be put on in reception and you must keep it on at all times while moving around Hartridge.
This has been key for us to have staff on site and moving around freely. In our test bays where 2 staff members are required to work together on one machine & keeping the distance is not always possible the team additionally have face shields where keeping a distance is not possible.
At main doorways, and provided to each staff member individually, is hand sanitizer. There are signs up helping to remind all on site to use these regularly. It is helpful for team members to use hand sanitizer on arrival as this is obviously the moment when coronavirus could be introduced to the site.
There are lots of distancing markers throughout the site. This is important because sometimes its tough to appreciate just how far 2 meters actually is, and it is very easy to relax your awareness of maintaining the 2 meter distancing when speaking with friends.
It doesn’t have to be branded signage like we have opted for. Simple tape markings would do the same job, but branding these stickers can help something that might feel alien to fit in easier.
We have an open door policy on certain high-traffic areas of the building to minimize how much we have to touch surfaces. This does not apply to doors which a performing an essential security job regulating access to the site as a whole. It would not affect our fire safety procedures either because fire marshals would close these as they evacuate and sweep the building just exactly as they would without covid-19.
Something simple like this costs no money at all but can go a long way to contributing to less surface contact.
As well as floor markers we have lots of other signage around on walls to help remind people to combine these steps at all times. All measures like these together are keeping employees safe while meaning that the business can be open. All of these measures are in line with government guidelines and best practices, and if they changed tomorrow we would need to see what further steps we need to do to keep up with them.
While we are not medical experts we do believe that when it comes to additional safety measures to manage the risk of covid-19 & protect staff we cannot do too much, but we can do too little.