Many in the U.S. are under stay at home orders, encouraged to work from home where possible. Although many manufacturing facilities are considered essential and still open, safety managers and their support staff do not always need to be onsite. With your routine disrupted, this may actually be a great time to accomplish safety projects that your normally crazy busy days do not allow you to do. Here are 12 ideas for tasks that safety managers working from home can do themselves, or can assign to their safety team members to keeping teams busy and productive during this time:
1. Develop Your Pandemic Plan
What better time than now to develop a plan for dealing with a pandemic? What actions did your company take? What has worked and what didn’t? As a contractor, a number of clients have asked to see our plan. What will you do about your own vendors and contractors next time? What about visitors? Read our article on pandemic preparedness plans to get some ideas on how to get started.
2. Review/Develop Cleaning Procedures
The events of the past month have shown a spotlight on the way we handle the spread of germs from person to person. What are your procedures for cleaning and disinfecting respirators? What about your other personal protective equipment? What are the proper protocols? How often should they be cleaned? What cleaning products are EPA-approved and most effective on the PPEs’ materials?
3. Review Your Emergency Plans
We are entering wild weather months of spring and summer. How would your company deal with the effects of tornadoes, floods, wildfires, hurricanes, hail storms, high wind events, heat waves, etc.? What are your business continuity plans if one of these events would occur at your facility? How would you be affected? Electricity powers the lights, your computers, and your machines. What would you do about electrical service interruptions? Did you know that there are EPA regulations for emergency power generators? What other regulations would come into play?
4. Review Your Written Safety Programs
Written safety programs need to be reviewed on a regular basis, and some of them actually have OSHA rules about how often they are to be reviewed. Take a look at all of your plans. What do they commit you to doing, and is your company doing what it says you are supposed to be doing? Who else in your company is affected by these programs and needs to review and be aware of what they require? Remember that if it’s in writing that your company will do it, you will be held to that in a regulatory inspection. Are your programs compliant with OSHA standards?
Are you missing a plan? Visit SafetyPlans.com to purchase one you can edit and expand upon.
5. Take Advantage of Web Conferencing for Safety Training
Many companies have been using web conferencing software to hold online meetings or to just check in with each other. Take this time to get some of your general safety training out of the way. You could do weekly toolbox meetings or even longer sessions. Just make sure that you document what was held, on what date, who was the trainer, and who attended. You could even take a screenshot of the online attendees list, or a screenshot of the webcams of the persons in attendance to add to your documentation. iSi can help you facilitate/setup this training, request more info here.
6. Spruce Up Your Training Materials
Speaking of training, now’s a good time to look at the training materials you’re using and consider giving it a refresh. Is the training still current and within the regs? Are the people in your videos dressed like characters from the 80s? At the very least, does your Powerpoint need a new look and some new pictures?
7. Write your RFPs
What services and products will you be needing for the rest of the year? Does your procurement/purchasing department require you to help them develop solicitations? Now would be a great time to knock out scope of work development, writing descriptions of what you’re going to need and developing the criteria for what information you want to see back from your vendors’ responses. Instead of waiting later when the RFP will go out, do this part now because you know you’re likely to be swamped later and won’t have the time to put much thought into it.
8. Get Quotes for Services and Products
If you already know the products and services you’re going to need, even if it’s later in the year, go ahead and approach your vendors now. It’s likely they’re working from home too, and with business slowing for everyone, now is a good time for them to work on pricing and proposals. With the uncertainty in the business climate, you may even get better pricing if you ask for it now than you would later when business will be catching up. Make sure you let them know what time frame you’re going to need it, and then ask vendors if they’ll hold that pricing until then. Get a quote from iSi.
9. Develop a Presentation for a Local Organization or Conference
Local safety organizations, safety conferences and civic groups are ALWAYS looking for speakers and presentations. The most popular highlight real-world safety management ideas, tell stories on how you have solved a problem that other EHS managers likely have faced, or just share how handle a particular part of compliance. For civic groups, use your knowledge of general safety principles and find a topic that may apply to all types of businesses and business owners. Speaking to a group or professional event is also a great way to get publicity for your company and yourself as a professional in the community.
10. Research Products and Services That Will Make You More Efficient
Once everyone is back to work, it’s likely your budget will be strained, labor may be stretched, and you’ll have to do more in order to catch up. Now is a good time to find products or services that will help make you more efficient and save money in the long run. Try out new software, get samples of products, and find resources that can give you assistance to help you make up for gaps in staffing. Now is the time to round up the tools for your toolbox that you may need to use later.
11. Permit Reviews
If you have them stored electronically, take a look at completed lockout/tagout and confined space entry permits. Were the requirements of the permits fully executed and documented
12. Clean Up Your Email
How many times have you gotten the notice that your email boxes are full and it has been at the worst time you could’ve gotten that message? Go through your inbox and delete what you do not need anymore and read what you may have missed. Don’t forget to go through your sent items too. If you find you are not making much headway in creating space, sort your messages by size. This will allow you to uncover those emails with the 50 MB attachments that you don’t need anymore.
Marketing Director | Project Manager, E-Training Solutions
Tami has been with iSi for over 24 years. During this time, she has enjoyed helping promote regulations compliance awareness and education through her involvement with iSi Training and through leadership roles with industry conferences and professional organizations.