How to improve compliance with safety and sanitation guidelines for COVID-19

March 17, 2020 in Safety and Inspections

How to improve compliance with safety and sanitation guidelines for COVID-19

Safety and sanitation.

It seems like every news outlet, Facebook group and water-cooler hangout are talking about it. Even “the fist-bump” — what was once considered the more sanitary cousin of the handshake — is being replaced by “the awkward wave.” Even businesses that don’t typically consider cleanliness are taking a closer look at their safety and sanitation procedures, processes and checklists.

This month, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) issued guidelines for the prevention of Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19). On March 15, the organization took precautions a step further with new guidelines for “large events and mass gatherings.” 

The new guidelines include recommendations against conferences, concerts, festivals, parades, sporting events and other types of assemblies. The CDC recommends events consisting of “50 people or more throughout the United States” be canceled for the next 8 weeks. 

Though the recommendation does not include the operation of businesses, many companies are adopting temporary remote-work policies. However, more than half of U.S. jobs can not be conducted from home. Unsurprisingly, organizational leaders are now seeking more effective ways to update existing safety protocols to include new, best practices.

Yet, despite the perceived sense of urgency, the challenges faced by operational managers implementing safety and sanitation procedures remain the same.

Challenges faced by operational managers:

  • Effective Communication: How can we quickly share new information with team members? How can we receive instant feedback? How can we know what’s happening minute to minute? 
  • Foolproof Accountability: How can we know with absolute certainty employees are putting our guidelines into action?
  • Simplicity of Compliance: How can we make following instructions super easy for team members at every level? 

In recent years, a number of digital maintenance solutions have appeared, offering a range of capabilities for operational maintenance and safety. Yet, the majority of organizations are still relying upon paper checklists, binders, and filing cabinets. Why? 

While there are many reasons for the slow digital transference, we believe one of those roadblocks is unnecessarily complicated software

Translation: You shouldn’t need a certification to create or access a digital work order! The key to achieving compliance with safety and sanitation guidelines is twofold:

1. Help employees understand why it’s important

2. Make it easy to remember and follow instructions.

Below are some best practices for ensuring compliance with safety and sanitation procedures:

How to improve compliance with CDC safety and sanitation guidelines

1. Maintain Open Communication

Maintaining open communication between all team members is paramount to your organization’s success. Employees at all levels should have already received written correspondence explaining what is happening, how things are changing and what they can expect. 

Depending on the complexity of your organization, you may need to hold special meetings with customer-facing, sanitation, and operations team members. Ensure every departmental leader is aware of your new sanitation policies and feels confident discussing said policies with their department members.  

This messaging should be drafted in a conversational manner that can be easily understood, regardless of educational background. If your organization doesn’t already have software with group chat capabilities, we recommend adopting a messaging app like Slack that allows the formation of department, group and individual chats in one location.

Internal messaging apps allow for more efficient and timely communication than email can provide. This is a great way for everyone to hold one another accountable and for upper-management to quickly receive feedback on what is and isn’t working in terms of policies.

2. Maintain a Healthy Work Environment

New safety and sanitation guidelines

Set a good example for employees by maintaining a clean workspace. That includes, but is not limited to the following best practices: 

  • Promote hand and respiratory hygiene with posters like this
  • Ensure easy availability of 70% alcohol-based hand sanitizers.
  • Provide sanitizing supplies for equipment. 
  • Ensure adequate air circulation. 

You may also want to request notification from employees who have been to or plan to travel to, areas identified as representing a particular concern. Also, consider allowing “non-essential” employees to work from home and maintaining as much flexibility with everyone else as possible. Finally, stay familiar with your state and local municipalities for safety and sanitation guidelines.

3. Create adjustable checklists

Assuming employees understand “the big picture,” and are equipped with everything needed to follow instructions, they will be internally motivated to do their part. However, savvy operational managers know that even the best employees sometimes skip steps. 

What can we say? Humans prefer simplicity over complexity!

Inconvenient safety procedures are often ignored when faced with competing priorities. For this reason, we recommend creating digital checklists with built-in accountability for busy workers, executives and operational managers. If you own a smartphone, and know-how to download an app, you can create a free, digital checklist with the MaintainX app in as little as 5 minutes. Want some help creating your first checklist?

Enforce safety and sanitation guidelines

We hope you have found these reminders useful and that you now have some new ideas about how you might further simplify your organization’s operational and safety procedures.

Company leaders who maintain open communication, healthy work environments, and easy-to-follow procedures can make life easier for everyone during a stressful time. If you think MaintainX could help your organization enhance employee, customer and stakeholder safety, we’re here to help. Feel free to share this handout with your company’s leadership team or create your free account today.

Click here to get started with MaintainX.

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