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Covid Return to Work Guide for Machine Shops

These are challenging times for all of us, and we all struggle with different emotions as we navigate the best course of actions to stay healthy, keep others healthy, and maintain productivity. It is during times like these that business leadership can truly send a message of care and empathy to all their employees by taking extensive, coordinated action to prevent Covid-19 from spreading while on their watch.

In late June, 12 weeks into the pandemic here in the United States, we continue to see a wide variability in the rate of infection across counties, regions, and states. Some areas, like New York, where the virus did the most damage, are now seeing very few new cases. Other counties that were low in infection rate at first are now seeing large spikes. This experience tells us that our actions significantly influence the spread of the novel Coronavirus.

  • When precautions are taken methodically and consistently, they can greatly reduce the spread of Covid-19
  • When precautions are not pursued, the virus has an opportunity to spread, and in many cases it does.

The good news is, we do have control. The more consistent and methodical we can all be, the less likely our region will suffer from the virus and additional closures and quarantines. We need to apply all the level of detail we bring to our jobs every day to rigorous safety protocols.

Safety is not for the 98 times the tool performs as we expect it to; safety is for those 2 times when the unexpected happens.

Return to Work Outline for Machine Shops

We are laying out some of the high-level points that machine shops are advised to take under consideration as they return to work. They are a starting point based on the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) Coronavirus Disease 2019 document for Manufacturing Workers and Employers.

Prepare Facilities

When approaching facilities preparation it is important to understand how Covid-19 spreads. We know more now than we did in March, but this area is constantly changing, so be sure to check back with CDC regularly for updates.

What we know now is that person-to-person contact is the most frequent means of transmission. Transmission occurs when one person with the virus (does not necessarily show symptoms) projects respiratory droplets through the air by coughing, sneezing, or talking.

While this is the primary means of transmission, spread through surfaces is also possible. ”It may be possible that a person can get COVID-19 by touching a surface or object that has the virus on it and then touching their own mouth, nose, or possibly their eyes. This is not thought to be the main way the virus spreads, but we are still learning more about how this virus spreads.” (CDC, “How COVID-19 Spreads”).

Therefore, workspaces need to change in order to limit these two possible means of infection.

  • Appoint a Covid-19 workplace coordinator be appointed to manage facilities preparation
  • Configure workplaces to ensure team-members stay at least 6 feet apart
  • Use physical barriers where teams must operate at closer distances
  • Use visual cues to remind workers to maintain social distancing
  • Consider airflow control measures such as fans to ensure airflow does not move from one worker to another, but not at the cost of creating heat hazards
  • Place hand sanitizer stations around the workspace
  • Extra care and organization around social areas, such as splitting lunch into various shifts for instance, limiting the number of people in the vicinity
  • Wipe down surfaces repeatedly, at least between shifts

Prepare Workers

Because the primary means of transmission is person-to-person contact, maintaining clear communications with your teams can make a huge difference in achieving a safe and secure workplace. Additionally, many workers will appreciate any precautionary measures you take to ensure their health, so communications regarding COVID-19 measures are an opportunity to show workers that their health is valued.

  • Appoint a COVID-19 HR coordinator to manage employee education
  • Cloth face coverings or PPE such as respirators or medical face masks
  • Social distancing
  • Proper handwashing practices
  • Protocol for employer and employee if an employee becomes symptomatic
  • Ensure tools are regularly cleaned

For more detailed information, and especially if you are a large machine shop, we recommend the 70+ page Ford Motor Company’s Covid19 – Return to Workplace Guide.

How MachiningCloud Can Help with Return to Work

Being cloud-based actually makes MachiningCloud App a great return-to-work tool. Team members can work from home when they use MachiningCloud App to manage inventory, find tools and request quotes. This is one area where people can work remotely and increase productivity.

Now is the perfect time to dig a bit deeper into our featureset. We make it easy to integrate with inventory and CAM systems, so that you can import/export tool data to your systems on the machine shop floor.

Even more Features Coming in September!!!

Based on user feedback the upcoming upgrade will be the biggest release yet. We couldn’t be more excited to bring the next level of convenience and speed to your cutting tool orders. Don’t miss this one.

Until next time, stay safe out there, and see you in the Cloud!

MachiningCloud is a one-stop, industry-wide resource that gives you the ability to fast-track the process of creating tool assemblies. Our application reduces the time it takes to find, select, and assemble tools by 75% or more, so try MachiningCloud today. It’s easy to get started. 

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