The Hierarchy of Controls clearly illustrates how effective different controls and policies can be at reducing the spread of COVID-19.

Start from the top to implement the most effective controls possible in your facility.

Postpone, reorganize, or plan work to eliminate the risk to workers. Physical distancing is essential to control the spread of COVID-19. Most manufacturers and food processors have already added floor markers and directional signs to promote distancing and manage traffic flow.

Other common controls include staggering start times, shift, and breaks; restricting occupancy in common areas; and holding meetings outside or through video conference where possible.

Where employees cannot stay two metres apart, physical barriers provide critical protection. Use personal protective equipment such as surgical masks, face shields, and gloves to supplement more effective controls, or as a last line of defense when physical barriers and distancing are not possible.

Depending on a risk assessment in your work environment, appropriate PPE could include face shields, disposable gloves, masks, or coveralls.

Daily health checks and limited visitation may also be important safeguards. Because COVID-19 is spread through close contact, the pandemic has increased the need to maintain cleanliness and hand hygiene to reduce the spread.

Adequate handwashing stations are critical, along with fresh air where possible and a ventilation system working up to code.

“We really need to invest in relationships in our business. Purpose and connection protect against stress.”

— Chris Inkster, Freeport Industries, in a June executive panel on Leading the Recovery

Smart controls. Smart controls include no-touch trash cans, propped-open doors, disinfectants, and disposable towels to clean workstations. Policies that ensure workers wash their hands thoroughly when entering the workplace, before and after breaks, at shift changes, and after touching a surface others may have touched are also important.

Provide individual equipment for each worker—or sanitize any shared equipment when sharing of equipment cannot be avoided.

Make sure employees know what you are doing to protect them and what they can do to protect each other.

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