Rave blog Post

Why Pen and Paper is Not Enough for Tracking Manufacturing Employee Health Checks

Amid this unprecedented time, manufacturing facilities have been a crucial and integral part of our country’s supply chain. Employers have had to adapt to new guidance from the CDC and OSHA to ensure the safety of their workers and prevent the spread of the coronavirus. Although some manufacturing plants have adopted new technologies to streamline facility operations - specifically for daily COVID-19 health checks - others have been tracking these health checks with just a pen and paper, which is certainly not the most ideal situation.

COVID-19 Guidance for the Manufacturing Industry Workforce 

For manufacturing employees, the option to stay home and work remotely is often not possible. When facilities across the United States began to reopen, workers had little choice in whether they were going back or not, especially with unemployment rates skyrocketing across the country.

OSHA released the following bulleted tips for manufacturers to reduce the risk of exposure to the coronavirus:

  • Encourage workers to stay home if they are sick.
  • Establish flexible work hours (e.g., staggered shifts), if feasible.
  • Practice sensible social distancing and maintain six feet between co-workers, where possible.
  • For work activities where social distancing is a challenge, consider limiting the duration of these activities and/or implementing innovative approaches, such as temporarily moving or repositioning workstations to create more distance or installing barriers (e.g., plexiglass shields) between workstations.
  • Monitor public health communications about COVID-19 recommendations for the workplace and ensure that workers have access to and understand that information.
  • Allow workers to wear masks over their nose and mouth to prevent spread of the virus.
  • Use Environmental Protection Agency-approved cleaning chemicals from List N or that have label claims against the coronavirus.
  • Promote personal hygiene. If workers do not have access to soap and water for handwashing, provide alcohol-based hand rubs containing at least 60 percent alcohol. Provide disinfectants and disposable towels workers can use to clean work surfaces.
  • Encourage workers to report any safety and health concerns.

Related Blog: The ROI of Investing in Workplace Safety in Construction and  Manufacturing

Why Pen and Paper is Not Enough for Tracking Employee COVID Health Checks

Daily health checks have become a necessity for manufacturing organizations and businesses alike. With workers coming in and out of the facility, it is crucial to ensure they don’t have a temperature, any symptoms, or have been exposed to COVID-19.

The traditional pen and paper method of having employees fill out a daily questionnaire was certainly a good option when the pandemic first hit but is now not a recommended way to fulfill daily employee health screenings. One reason for this is concerns over spreading the coronavirus further. Experts have suggested that people should avoid sharing objects - including pens and paper - because if somebody were to cough or sneeze on the object, the virus could easily spread.

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"If a coronavirus patient sneezes or coughs on a file, paper or pen and somebody else uses it, they might also get infected from the virus. How long the virus can survive depends on the surface, temperature, and humidity of the area," Dr. Ravi Malik, former secretary of the Indian Medical Association told Business Standard.

Additionally, the pen and paper method can take up valuable time for organizations trying to keep up with critical demands and deadlines. Coupled with the other COVID-19 measures manufacturing facilities must take, having employees fill out forms daily - while still adhering to social distancing policies and other recommendations mentioned above - can slow production and impact how productive the organization is overall.

Could Technology Help Streamline Daily Employee Health Checks?

The answer is simply; yes. Technology tools have become widely available amid the current public health crisis designed to help businesses streamline daily operations. A mass notification solution with polling capabilities is a great alternative to the traditional pen and paper daily employee health checks and is a safer and quicker way to screen workers.

Related Blog: Car Manufacturers Setting a Reopening Blueprint for Others to  Follow

Administrators can set up a polling link that will be automatically sent to employees on a either a pre-determined schedule, or when employees enter a geofenced area, such as the facility parking lot. Employees can then answer the daily employee health screening questionnaire from their own personal mobile device before entering the workplace. This prevents the spread of the virus as workers aren’t sharing any objects or making contact with other workers in order to answer the screening questions.

For example, the polling question could look like this:

Q: Please indicate whether you have any COVID-19 related symptoms, such as:

  • Fever
  • Persistent cough
  • Nausea
  • Diarrhea
  • Loss of taste or smell
  • Difficulty breathing
  • Headache
  • Muscle aches or pains

A1: Yes, I have COVID-19 related symptoms.

A2: No, I am symptom-free.

Workers would then respond by selecting one of the two answers, which would be followed by an automated response. If an employee answered with “Yes” to having any COVID-related symptoms, they would receive the following example response:

“Thank you for your response. At this time, you should NOT come into work.”

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If an employee answered with “No”, they would receive the following example response:

“Thank you for your response. You can enter the facility and show the image below.”

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Workers can then enter the workplace and show the image from their confirmation screen to easily enter safely while not making any contact with others. Administrators will also access in-depth reporting on the backend which can show which individuals have completed the COVID employee health check with a Yes or No.

The reporting will also provide a list of workers who have not completed the health screen. Users can then easily send a follow up to those who do not fill out the poll with an already templated message or can simply resend the health check screening message. Streamlining the employee health screening process can make a huge difference, and a mass notification solution can help facilitate this. 

Universal - Coronavirus Recovery Solution Corporate

Tara Gibson
Tara Gibson

Tara is a Marketing Coordinator on the Rave Mobile Safety marketing team. She loves writing about all things K-12, State & Local, Higher Ed, Corporate, and Healthcare, and manages the Rave social media channels. When she's not working, she's taking care of her smiley, shoe eating, Instagram-famous fur baby, Enzo!

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