The coronavirus that’s sweeping the world is forcing billions of people to find new ways of doing things. Nowhere is that truer than when it comes to work.
Much of the world is now working from home. However, essential workplaces such as oil rigs and trade ports must stay open, with new safety measures designed to prevent the spread of the virus.
It’s tough. But one thing we are reminded of is that humans are adaptable. It started with “the elbow” replacing the handshake, and now whole countries are rising to the challenge of social distancing and self-isolation.
We are also reminded that things can change drastically at any time. The time for preparation is quickly passing, but what’s equally as important is response.
Corporately speaking, in the response to a health pandemic like COVID-19, health and safety professionals find themselves front and centre.
Using your Pro-Sapien software to adapt to COVID-19
We’ve always been of the view that enterprise software should be flexible. At a time like this, it’s incredibly important for the health and safety software of the world to step up to the mark.
With that in mind, here’s some ideas on how our customers can use their Pro-Sapien modules in novel ways during COVID-19.
1. Audits & Inspections
As early as January, workplaces in North America and Europe saw hand sanitizer stations popping up to encourage employees to stem the spread.
Likewise, posters were displayed with best practices such as washing your hands for 20 seconds and coughing into your arm.
When your company has dozens of sites and thousands of employees, it’s important to ensure a coordinated, consistent response. This helps to build trust in management—and we’ve seen that trust could be a key factor in public compliance.
COVID-19 Response Inspection
Using your Pro-Sapien Audits & Inspections software, you can create and publish a corporate COVID-19 Response Inspection form.
This inspection could be used to assess individual sites’ efforts and identify where a particular site needs more support.
For example, the form could ask:
- Are hand sanitizing stations available and clearly signposted?
- Is additional PPE being used where appropriate?
- Are awareness posters clearly displayed in all areas?
- Are employees observing social distancing wherever possible?
- Are all areas being disinfected and cleaned frequently?
With the responses, health and safety professionals can actively keep track of what each site is doing and know where more time-investment is required.
Furthermore, given the flexibility of the Inspections Form Builder, you could even create an inspection to purpose as an employee self-assessment checklist.
Pro-Sapien’s licensing structure lends itself well to this possibility—we don’t charge you more based on user count, so all employees with a SharePoint login could have access to complete a self-assessment.
Self-assessments encourage people to be mindful of their own behavior. They could be a useful tool in encouraging employees to adhere to new rules.
2. Risk Assessment
The existing crisis has undeniably become a risk to consider. It has not only affected the way we do things at work, but also where we are working from.
Therefore, a rapid evaluation of the new hazards we are facing is vital to put in place effective controls.
Risk Assessment for COVID-19 related hazards
By using your Risk Assessment Module, you can configure existing Risk Assessment forms and include different options on the drop-down selections.
For example, ‘COVID-19’ or ‘Virus Transmission’ could be added as a Hazard Group, keeping all hazards associated with COVID-19 organized together.
The next step would be specifying controls. In terms of the Hierarchy of Controls, the risk of contracting COVID-19 cannot be eliminated or substituted, so controls will fall within the Engineering, Administrative and PPE bracket.
By conducting Risk Assessments aimed at preventing the spread of the virus, controls can be documented and acted upon to reduce the risk specific to a particular task or location, rather than abiding by general guidelines.
Risk Assessment for home workers
When working from home, it is easy to forget about Health and Safety practices. However, there are still several hazards associated with working remotely.
Unsupportive seating can lead to bad posture and back pain, Display Screen Equipment (DSE) can be harmful to sight if used for a prolonged time period and using electronic hardware that has not been corporately checked raises the risk of electrical fire.
In addition, mental health is at risk as lack of defined work-life boundaries frequently lead to stress and burnout.
In order to ensure your employees work as safely as possible, someone familiar with the system can conduct an example home-working risk assessment and share it with staff as a guide. Recommended controls should be put in place where possible.
Even in normal times, encouraging employees to report observations provides a wealth of useful data. It’s a quick and easy form that takes less than two minutes to complete.
By adding an Observation Type for ‘COVID-19 Related’, you can refashion the Pro-Sapien Observations form for employees to report new issues that arise.
This could be that a colleague was observed without the right PPE or that the office’s furniture layout meant staff were unable to social distance.
Giving employees an easy method of notifying you of their concerns helps you understand what is actually happening “at the coal face”, as especially right now, you can’t be in dozens of places at once.
Observations are not a tool for placing blame. Rather, they allow you to identify potential gaps in training that previously went unnoticed, or new process issues that have arisen due to COVID-19 related requirements.
4. Incident Management for Illness Reporting
OSHA has increasingly been releasing more guidance on COVID-19, including how to record cases of employees testing positive for the virus in the workplace.
“Under the new recordkeeping procedure, employers are responsible for recording cases of SARS-CoV-2 if the test returned to the worker is positive; if the case is work-related as defined by its 29 CFR 1904.5 standard; and if it involves one or more of the general recording criteria in 29 CFR 1904.7, such as medical treatment beyond first aid or days away from work.”– EHS Today
Pro-Sapien clients that wish to track cases at work can do so using the Incident Management software module.
To achieve this, you can set up an Illness Classification for ‘COVID-19’. You may wish to have ‘COVID-19 Suspected’ as well as ‘COVID-19 Confirmed’.
Some of the tabs that are opened by the Investigation workflow stage can be easily repurposed to help you track which other employees may have been exposed.
Health & Safety tab
There are several ways to use the Health & Safety tab.
- Track the names of all the employees the suspected/confirmed case came into contact with in the last 14 days. These people should be contacted.
- Record work absences or restricted work of the affected employee(s). This will help your organization assess the impact that COVID-19 had on work days.
- Input Initial Illness Classification as ‘COVID-19 Suspected’ and return to enter Final Illness Classification once more is known—for example, that it was ‘COVID-19 Confirmed’.
Notify line managers or the HR department of employees who have potentially been exposed to the virus. Appropriate steps can then be taken to require the employee to self-isolate.
Besides tracking, there is a limited amount an essential business can do after an employee becomes suspected of having COVID-19. Still, recording cases in the workplace introduces an additional level of insight that may help reduce the spread throughout employees.
At the least, COVID-19 illness data can be viewed alongside COVID-19 Response Inspections results to help identify why the virus may be more prevalent at particular sites.
5. Learning Management
It is in everyone’s interest to follow the rules. But in a time when there is such a thing as too much information, receiving clear training and guidelines has become more crucial than ever.
eLearning has now taken the spotlight as the only viable option while social distancing rules are in place. For clients using the Learning Management module from our partner LMS365, there are several steps you can take to manage COVID-19 training.
Publish COVID-19 awareness courses
Using the Course Creation Wizard, Learning Module Builder, and Quiz Builder, COVID-19 training can be easily published company-wide in a matter of hours.
To keep everything organized, create a ‘COVID-19’ training category and attach all related courses.
Being able to incorporate your own company-specific content will be highly valuable for workers. Moreover, if the equipment is available, EHS Managers may even want to star in training videos themselves!
Guidelines like washing your hands, staying a safety distance from others or self-isolating if you have symptoms should all be part of the course material.
Track progress and completion rates
Just like all courses in LMS365, you can track the completion rate of COVID-19 courses. With this capability you know how engaged your workforce is in your COVID-19 response and you can take further action if participation is lacking.
Create a COVID-19 Team area
With so many employees working from home, you’re likely using Microsoft Teams every day to stay in touch (like 44 million others).
So, we recommend setting up a Team dedicated to COVID-19 Awareness. With LMS365’s Teams integration you can dedicate a tab in the Team for all your COVID-19 training to maximize visibility.
Find more information on how to do this here.
6. Power BI
Once you’ve set up some COVID-19 configurations in your Pro-Sapien modules, it would be remiss not to view all that new information in charts and graphs.
Do you know our saying? Capturing the data is only half the story—it’s what you do with it that counts.
If you’re an Office 365 customer, you can use Power BI to create custom COVID-19 reports.
Your new Pro-Sapien COVID-19 categorizations will be available in Power BI automatically, so it’s simply a case of creating a new report.
This is where you can get real insights into how COVID-19 is affecting your business, including running totals of days absent from work, a bar chart for tracking suspected cases over time (your own curve to flatten), and simple cards displaying key numbers.
Stay tuned for more ideas on how to use Power BI for COVID-19 tracking. Be the first to get notified by subscribing to our content.
Configurability more important than ever
In this unprecedented situation, there is no silver bullet.
Configurability is one of the top reasons organizations choose Pro-Sapien, and it’s more important now than ever. Rather than rushing to deploy new, buggy functionality, Pro-Sapien clients can rely on the robust configuration options they already have.
If you have any questions about using Pro-Sapien during COVID-19, please don’t hesitate to get in touch with us at firstname.lastname@example.org or by reaching out to your regular Pro-Sapien contact.
Create or enhance your own COVID-19 Response Plan to return to work
Download our whitepaper to find out how some other companies are preparing for the return to work and some guidance from the Pro-Sapien team on how to navigate the ‘new normal’ in the workplace.