Safety Measures While Getting Back To Work
Ar. Gaurav + Ar. Sheetal Joshi, Studio3 Architects
What are the factors one need to consider while resuming work?
We – the mankind cannot afford to ignore the learning from this ‘Lockdown Era’ as we try resuming routine work at our workplaces. As we move out of the safety our homes – one will need to ensure the personal hygiene practices we have adopted into our daily lives during the ‘Lockdown Era’ needs to observed & inculcated at our workplaces in a more meticulous way.
Post Lockdown with the World around us opening up, another wave of infection cannot be ruled out given the density of population especially in metropolitan setups. Here – we the Individuals & Organizations – have a larger role to play to contain & prevent the same. As the organizations who look forward to reopen post the Lockdown – its imperative for the Organizations to implement new strategies & adopt obvious health safety measures for their staff before resuming work.
What are the safety measures commended for employees?
Make Face masks & a pair of Gloves a part of your wardrobe for at least a year. Keep an extra pair handy in your baggage – just in case of emergency. Make sanitizing your hands at intervals a habit.
Travel – ensuring strict physical distancing norms (PDN’s) in Private or Public transport both. If your job involves travelling from one place to the other – make sure your next in kin is/are aware of your whereabouts throughout the day. Before travelling – be informed in advance about contamination in the zones you are likely to travel for work.
Keep everyone back home posted with your general updates once you report at work – especially if they are located in different cities or parts of the world. It reduces their anxiety levels especially if they are Senior Citizens.
Apart from your Laptop/Tablet & allied accessories – ensure to carry your own personal stationary like Pens, pencils, staples, Calculators etc. – unless you want to risk using stationary being used by multiple users. This is particularly applicable to Banking institutions and workplaces where Public interaction is more.
Do not pass on any information or news overheard in Public spaces. Verify for authenticity of such information before sharing. This will ensure containment of Fake news & peace of mind for you & your colleagues/co-workers as well
Avoid outside food unless unavoidable. Continue your intake of Warm water throughout the day along with your Vitamin rich foods at intervals.
Lastly – a very important tip – whatsoever affection you may have for your Colleagues, Co-workers, Best friends at your work place – this is not the time to display your affection through Hugs or even a Hi-Fi ! If at all you would wish to extend any greetings – a ‘Namastey’ should be good !
What are the safety guidelines to be followed by organizations?
SOP’s (Standard Operating Procedures) should include range of measures from Temperature screening at entry points to the Campus to use of Automation at various locations to minimize physical contact at Entry/Exit/Transit points. Here the HR & Admin teams will have a big task at hand to monitor if all the SOP’s are in place and followed as a ‘Protocol’.
Security staff at the Entrance should be equipped with relevant protective measures in proportion to their exposure to volume of Visitors / Staff handled by them. Ensure they take weekly breaks & maintain personal hygiene. Ensure they are strict – in enforcing rules – set by the Organization for the Visitors / Staff.
Overhauling / Audit of existing HVAC systems to be carried out especially in large offices, laboratories, factories, manufacturing etc. Involve experts on the Subject.
Minimize on Furniture in common assembly areas. Prohibit assembly of staff in common areas.
Multiple Elevators in Office towers to be assigned specific floors to avoid multiple contact with the control panels inside/outside the Elevators.
Replace Bio-metric access controls by Scanning of personal Mobile phones (integrating QR coding) for all Employees at the Entry/Exit/Transit points of each office unit in large complexes. Temperature screening and recording be made mandatory at Office entrances.
Inside the office premises – ensure safe distancing between 2 workstations as per PDN’s. Invest in preventive/protective equipment’s to ensure safety of the staff at workstations. Engage Space planners/ Architects/Interior designers for large office foot prints. Minimize gatherings at workstations.
Introduce see through partitions (sneeze guards) between 2 people seated side by side or face to face at workstations.
Stagger lunch & teatime breaks and restrict assembly depending upon the seating capacity after ensuring PDN.
Encourage maximizing use of Remote technologies & Web meetings/conferences for business. In case of on-site workers ensure PDN through proper supervising staff dedicated for the purpose.
Offices should maintain medical assistance numbers in case of any emergencies. Empanel Doctors to be available for consultation – on need basis. Industrial premises already have these facilities.
Invest in additional Facility Management resources, if required. Educate the Facility Management & Housekeeping staff on the Do’s & Don’ts of strict Hygiene standards to be maintained in and around the premises especially in Public areas like Lobbies, Lifts, Staircases, Parking lots, Toilets etc.
Lastly but importantly educate workers on importance of Life Insurance & Health Insurance schemes for them & their families.