A quick handbook of ensuring employee safety norms in the manufacturing industry
10 Aug 2020
The COVID-19 pandemic has brought with it unprecedented human challenges across the world. Organisations have had to rise to the occasion and act swiftly to migrate to new ways of working while safeguarding their employees. As the situation evolved, and the recommendations and requirements continued to evolve and change, the manufacturing industry had to step up and stay abreast of worker safety precautions, compliance standards and other regulations to protect their workforce, ensure worker safety continued operations and serve their customers.
Right through the lockdowns, while we, at ELGi, continued to be engaged and provide essential services to our customers across the globe, some operations were suspended due to the severity of the pandemic. For those whose work required them to be on site, we instituted policies and practices following guidance from the CDC, WHO and local public health authorities. We also ensured all our employees adhered to social distancing protocol and remote-working where possible, aside from taking the immediate decision to restrict business travel; all employees were advised to replace the same with telephonic discussions and virtual communication.
As the lockdowns eased out, we resumed essential functions, albeit with the implementation of several mitigation strategies, such as social distancing, increased hygiene and other similar approaches across every unit/office to ensure the safety of all employees, trainees, vendor representatives, suppliers, customers, contract workers, consultants, and all visitors.We significantly invested in creating awareness and ensuring adherence to the stringent norms that were rolled out.
I will touch upon just some of the measures deployed across the ELGi manufacturing facilities:
- For one, we strengthened our employee communications globally, disseminating regular guidelines to help employees cope better with the pandemic; in addition, our HR teams across the world personally checked in on every employee’s wellbeing during the lockdown.
- The leadership team has endeavoured to consistently address all employees and provide directives to ensure everyone stays safe and is well apprised of developments, during this unprecedented situation.
- All of our employees were immediately encouraged to work remotely, if and where possible.
- Preventive and periodic maintenance was carried out during the lockdown period across all plants and machinery, factory and office buildings. This helped ensure a seamless, hassle-free restart and provided a safe environment for employees to resume work.
- All common areas, parking spaces, meeting rooms, pantry, restrooms, equipment, high touch surfaces etc. are thoroughly sanitized and disinfected on a regular basis. All vehicles entering the facilities are also disinfected.
- All our shop floor employees have been given appropriate (PPE) personal protective equipment such as face masks, goggles, gloves, aprons as well as appropriate disinfecting agents such as, sanitizers and hand wash liquids. Touch free hand wash and sanitizer stations have also been installed at all units.
- We have also discouraged visitors across our facilities; however any business critical visitors are requested to adhere to precautionary measures with respect to screening at entry, social distancing and proactive disclosure.
- Additionally, we are paying close attention to the discomfort the employees face due to prolonged use of protective equipment such as masks.We have provided collar fans that can offer small volume of cool air which increases the comfort for all employees and prevents fogging for employees who wear specs.
- We have provided very well-spaced out breakout areas for employees to have their coffee/tea during work ensuring social distancing is maintained even off shop-floor.
- The canteen layout including providing partitions on each table to extend safe social distancing is well appreciated by the employees
- The local authorities who have been paying visits to our facilities have been highly appreciative of the various measures that are taken by us.They have stated that they would like to share some best practices with other companies.
- We continue to look for opportunities to improve comfort and safety of the employee which will significantly aid in employees adhering to safety norms.
This is uncharted territory for every organisation. By clearly constructing, communicating and enforcing safety policies and best practices, providing updated and ongoing training, and continually preparing for the unexpected, manufacturers across the globe can better mitigate risks, protect their workers and secure their supply chains.
By Jayakanthan R is Director – People & Strategy, Corporate-HR, Elgi Equipments Limited READ MORE