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Tips and tools for social distancing at work

Jun 29, 2020 | Safety

In a post-COVID-19 work environment, onsite and offsite safety processes are likely to see changes to give customers, visitors, and employees the social distancing space they need. Get ahead of new workplace and employee safety requirements by updating policies, procedures, and controls.

Tips and tools for social distancing at work

1. Use People counting software

Use a people counter system such as SafeCount™ by Irisys to keep track of how many people are in different areas of your building to facilitate social distancing. These easy-to-install systems can be deployed throughout a building, not just at main entrances and exits. Place sensors in high-traffic areas to see a real-time, anonymous count of how many people are in the area. SafeCount™ can even be connected to external display screens, enabling employees to see if it’s safe to walk into the area or not.

The system makes it easy to anonymously measure occupancy to ensure social distancing guidelines are followed and occupancy restrictions adhered to. Track footfall patterns throughout your building and even schedule employees and maintenance based on the data and analytics the system provides.

2. Clean your tools more often

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends regularly cleaning products to stay safe. Cleaning your tools regularly can lower the spread of infection and help keep employees safe at work and home.

Electricians, maintenance technicians, and other employees who share tools need to know how to properly clean their tools and equipment. These employees need to follow safe cleaning and sanitization procedures for test tools, such as multimeters and electrical testers, but also need to follow the correct protocols for cleaning or disposing of personal protective equipment (PPE), such as gloves and shields.

3. Invest in remote tools

Electrical measurement windows

Electrical measurement windows are installed into a cabinet allowing measurements to be made without needing to open the panel door. Electrical measurement windows are permanently connected to voltage and current sensors inside the panel allowing access to critical power quality and energy data. These windows reduce the risk of arc-flash and electrocution with increasing the safety of personnel. They can also decrease maintenance costs and reduce downtime since you can take measurement without disrupting operations.

IR windows

IR windows are inspection points that are directly into the panel door. These allow for thermal images to be taken of the inside of a cabinet without needing to open a door. Without the door opening, the NFPA 70E process is significantly reduced because full PPE often isn’t required and fewer work permits are often needed. Increase the safety of your employees with a reduced risk of arc-flash and electrocution, plus reduce the time and cost of preventive maintenance.

Remote and wireless tools

Keep additional employees out of full PPE and out of the arc flash boundary by using remote and wireless tools. Remote display tools, like the Fluke 233 Remote Display Digital Multimeter, allow one person to be in two places at once. Just connect the meter to the test point and then place the display in a location up to 10m (33ft) away where you can see it.

Tips and tools for social distancing at work

Products with built-in Fluke Connect®, like the Fluke 279 FC True rms thermal multimeter can transmit results wirelessly to a smartphone or computer. This not only saves time on reporting to validate work is complete but saves time employees need to spend within the arc flash boundary and in full PPE. Wireless tools make it easy to troubleshoot better by instantly trending and monitoring measurements live on your smartphone screen. Create and email reports right from the field.

4. Workplace sanitization and remote asset management

Organize and automate processes in your new normal with a cloud-based computer maintenance management system (CMMS). Software such as eMaint enables maintenance team members to work safely and remotely in collaboration with colleagues onsite. Your team to track how the steps listed above are being followed and optimize as the data is gathered. The CMMS provides you a paperless process to monitor asset condition data, schedule work orders, manage parts inventory, and more.

It also helps you track workplace safety activities, such as making sure facilities are regularly deep-cleaned and sanitized. For example, you can upload the standard OSHA, The CDC, state, and/or federal government documentation regarding COVID-19 prevention and risk assessment to eMaint to help update your company policies. You can also upload EPA-approved disinfectants preventing the spread of the virus, attaching them as ‘Tool Requirements’ for deep cleaning work orders.

In addition, leverage your CMMS to:

  • Automate and track workplace safety PMs and ensure daily, weekly, or monthly cleaning and sanitization
  • Configure the system to require form signoffs to confirm plant and facility areas have been cleaned and disinfected
  • Stagger work schedules to enable physical distancing
  • Create task lists for deep cleaning, including proper disposal of PPE and cleaning cloths and attach it to the work order

5. Follow CDC guidelines

Rules and regulations around reopening in a post-COVID-19 world are constantly changing. The CDC offers useful interim guidance for both businesses and employers. Include these strategies to adapt workflows and for facilities to adhere to social distancing guidelines.

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