June 2020 – Reopening Safely Takes More than Just Facemasks and Social Distancing

June-2020---2-inside-EHS-reopening

Reopening Safely Takes More than Just Facemasks and Social Distancing

As we continue to flatten the curve, states have begun easing restrictions, and businesses are slowly starting to re-open their doors. As this begins to happen, companies must use caution and have a plan of action in place to address potential hazards and prepare for a potential second wave of the virus. While COVID-19 may be a unique and difficult hazard to identify and control, employers are still required by law to provide a safe and healthy work environment for employees.

Environmental Standards offers customized training, risk minimization & assessment, and health & safety oversight. Our staff of industry experts will help get you safely through these challenging times and boost your environmental, health and safety (EHS) program to a level of safety excellence that matches industry leaders.

Training

At a time when employees are returning to the worksite and business operations are ramping back up, training is an essential element to an EHS program. The COVID-19 pandemic has resulted in many individuals working from home, and that may continue for a while longer, at least for those workers  able to do so. However, essential employees in businesses such as manufacturing, healthcare, construction, utilities, and food and beverage industries continue to go into work where they may have a higher probability of contracting the virus. During this time, required annual, semiannual, and as-needed on-the-job training may have fallen under the radar as organizations are quickly adapting to this challenging new hazard. It is a necessary time to revisit essential training, whether it is conducted in person using social distancing protocols or virtually. Training is one of the most consistently found requirements throughout OSHA, US EPA, and US DOT regulations, but many organizations fall short of regulatory compliance. Training is an effective way to protect your most valuable assets, the employees, and Environmental Standards can help.

By incorporating relevant material into the program, your employees will be trained on work hazards they experience on a daily basis. The information delivered in the classroom or virtually is not only interactive and specific to your needs, but is delivered by an instructor with 20 years of training development experience.

Risk Minimization & Assessment

Creating and updating EHS programs is a risk minimization requirement set forth by regulatory agencies such as OSHA, US EPA, and US DOT. The lasting effects and consistently emerging safety precautions of the COVID-19 pandemic will influence many organizational policies and programs. Personal protective equipment (PPE), visitor policies, confined-space entry, emergency response plans, and travel policies all will likely be updated to include pandemic response. The U.S. Department of Homeland Security issued a Memorandum for COVID-19 response within the critical infrastructure industry. The Memorandum states that, “All [critical infrastructure] organizations should implement their pandemic plans or put plans in place if they do not exist. Delaying implementation is not advised.” To ensure the safety of employees for the remainder of this event and future pandemics, EHS professionals can implement Risk Minimization Plans or update already existing plans for their organizations.

Environmental Standards’ health and safety professionals have assisted clients throughout the United States with EHS program development and review to meet and exceed their regulatory requirements. We have developed Risk Minimization Plans both internally and for clients to ensure preparedness as we all work through these unprecedented times.

EHS Oversight

Having a dedicated EHS presence with “boots on the ground” at jobsites and facilities is vital to ensure a safe work environment. An on-site EHS professional can collaborate face to face with other departments and provide firsthand hazard identification and control of the jobsite. With the additional hazard of COVID-19 exposure, now more than ever is a necessary time for EHS oversight.

Environmental Standards can provide both short‑term and long‑term EHS oversight for clients. Our EHS professionals have firsthand experience in manufacturing, oil & gas, food and beverage, pharmaceutical, transportation, construction industries.

For more information on EHS support services please contact Shaun Gilday or Cody Dye.

Shaun Gilday

Senior Advisor/Principal

ENVSTD CODY DYE

Cody Dye, GSP

EHS Specialist