You've implemented everything possible to prevent a COVID-19 outbreak- assessed hazards, put a safety plan in place, and trained workers. Is this enough?
It depends, says Kristin Onorato, WSPS Health and Safety Consultant. "Have you evaluated the effectiveness of these controls?"
Doing so will let you know which aspects of your plan are working, and which aren't. More importantly, it will highlight gaps and opportunities for improvement. It's all part of the RACE (Recognize, Assess, Control, and Evaluate) process for managing workplace hazards.
"Applying it to your COVID-19 controls adds a layer of confidence that if something does happen, you're ready for it," says Kristin.
But just how do you evaluate your controls? "COVID-19 is a relatively new hazard, so assessing your controls may be challenging for workplaces to figure out," acknowledges Kristin. In response to the challenge, Kristin is leading RACE Evaluation - Evaluating the Controls in Your Workplace, a free WSPS Safety Connection virtual session on March 23. where you can hear about techniques for evaluating your COVID-19 safety plan, and cost-effective ways to apply them.
WSPS Safety Connection is a forum led by a WSPS health and safety expert where health and safety professionals can connect, exchange ideas and share best practices. During the pandemic, these 2-hour sessions take place online.
A sample evaluation scenario
Consider this: a worker feeling ill tries to follow the instruction in your workplace's isolation protocol to "Find a Supervisor." However, the instruction doesn't explain how. Leaving the workstation to search for the supervisor could potentially infect co-workers. The direct and indirect costs to your people and your workplace could be enormous.
Conducting a practice drill of the isolation protocol beforehand would have allowed you to identify the hazard, adjust your instructions, and achieve your desired endgame: preventing transmission of the virus.
Make evaluations part of your existing processes
Adding evaluations to existing processes could save time and engage employees, suggests Kristin. "Evaluating doesn't belong to just one person. Everybody could take a piece related to what they are doing, including workers, supervisors, HR, health and safety coordinators, and senior leadership."
For example, the joint health and safety committee (JHSC) could add these considerations to their inspection checklist:
- inventory (are COVID-19 supplies arriving regularly?)
- signs and floor markings (are they readable a year into COVID?)
- physical distancing (are employees following guidelines?)
About the WSPS Safety Connections session
During Kristin's interactive session, you'll discover evaluation techniques such as drills, inspections, evaluations, and interviews, which are elements of the RACE (Recognize, Assess, Control, and Evaluate) process. You'll also find out how to apply the process if your evaluation identifies opportunities for improvement.
How WSPS can help