Safety Best Practices during COVID-19

A key focus of FRA as defined by our Mission statement is to communicate relevant and timely information promoting safety to our members. We are all seeing the important and crucial role that safety has during the current COVID-19 crisis that has disrupted both the forest products industry and the world at large.

During these difficult times, FRA members and industry partners are implementing and sharing useful and critical information on how they are doing their part to keep their employees and customers safe. Below you can find information and suggestions concerning best practices on social distancing, work procedures, and travel as submitted by FRA members and our industry partners. All information is anonymous.

Additionally, please visit the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) website for more information and recommendations on how to keep yourself safe from COVID-19. The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) website is also a great reference tool on making sure you have the most up to date information about keeping your workplace safe.

If you have any additional safety tips and recommendations that are being implemented at your workplace to prevent the spread of COVID-19, please share them with Jacob Minor, [email protected], and we will add them to the list. 

Social Distancing

  • Office doors shall stay locked at all times.
  • Do not come in direct contact with others.
  • Find alternative means of communication in the field instead of face- to-face.
  • Do not allow passengers in your vehicles.
  • Utilize video conferencing technology to hold virtual meetings.
  • Work at home as much as possible.
  • We will begin following the social distancing guidelines from our Infectious Disease Control Policy, which are listed here:
    • Avoid meeting people face-to-face. Employees are encouraged to use the telephone, online conferencing, e-mail or instant messaging to conduct business as much as possible, even when participants are in the same building.
    • If a face-to-face meeting is unavoidable, minimize the meeting time, choose a large meeting room and sit at least one yard from each other if possible; avoid person-to-person contact such as shaking hands.
    • Avoid any unnecessary travel and cancel or postpone nonessential meetings, gatherings, workshops and training sessions.
    • Do not congregate in work rooms, pantries, copier rooms or other areas where people socialize.
    • Bring lunch and eat at your desk or away from others (avoid lunchrooms and crowded restaurants).
    • Encourage employees and others to request pick-up/delivery information and orders via phone and e-mail in order to minimize person-to-person contact. Have the orders, materials and information ready for fast pick-up or delivery.
  • Stagger lunch breaks to minimize crowds in break room.
  • Temporarily suspended food vendors and delivery. Suspended employee lunch celebrations/trainings with carry in meals.
  • Temporarily suspended recreational activities on company property (fishing / hunting).
  • Conducting webinar meetings when possible. Suspended meetings with large groups until further notice.

Procedures

  • Employees will have assigned two-way radios. Do not use anyone else’s radio.
  • Lockers are not to be used until further notice. Bring what you need with you and keep your items in your vehicle.
  • All employees will have an assigned machine until further notice. No employee is permitted to operate another employee’s assigned machine without proper approval from their supervisor. If approval is granted the machine will be sufficiently sanitized before the operator enters the cab.
  • Run with rotating breaks so no more than two people are in a break room at a time, one if at all possible. 
  • Instruct anyone with any cold symptoms to stay home.
  • Mandatory 14-day self-quarantines for potentially exposed.
  • Screening of all who enter the mill sites. 
  • Limiting number of contractors working onsite and restricting all visitors. 
  • Put measures are in place on guidelines for social distancing and proper cleanliness of workplace surfaces. 
  • Provide PPE (personal protective equipment) and antibacterial products.
  • When exiting a machine or truck for the day or to move to a different machine, sanitize the controls. Keep social distancing outside of the equipment.
  • Sanitize all work areas daily and the common equipment after each use. Doorknobs and the likes are sanitized several times per day.
  • Every department must institute a plan with their assigned cleaning staff or employees to disinfect common surfaces (vending equipment, communication devices, door handles, stair rails, etc.) in their area.
  • In Operations, operators must clean the control panels/screens at the beginning of their shift to ensure there is no transfer of any virus from one operator to another by touching the equipment. Department heads will be responsible to ensure these activities get done.
  • If an employee is identified as being sick at work, the employee will be sent home. The items/areas that he/she was in contact with should be disinfected immediately, and the department leadership must document who the employee was in contact with in case the illness is identified as the Coronavirus.
  • We are initiating a ban on outside visitors other than product deliveries and contractors essential to our operations. Any essential contractor working within our facilities must complete the attached visitor form. The host of the contractor is responsible for the completion of this form by the contractor.
  • If you are sick with symptoms such as; cough, body aches, fever, or difficulty breathing, stay home and follow the normal absence notification procedures. The best way not to infect others is to not be around others if you are sick.
  • Wash your hands frequently and don’t touch your face, nose and ears. This virus is thought to spread from person to person by being in close contact with others (within 6 feet) and/or through respiratory droplets from someone who coughs or sneezes. Due to this transmission, washing hands and not touching your face is extremely important.
  • Allowing only employees or contractors on our job sites.
  • Provide hand sanitizer for truck drivers and contractors as they sign in. 
  • Implemented process in shipping for exchanging paperwork with truck drivers. Drivers remain in their truck.
  • Extra care with accepting shipments from Fed Ex and UPS. Spraying boxes with Lysol.
  • Implemented a daily cleaning schedule in every work area of the mill. Cleaning schedules are audited daily.
  • Distributed stylus pens for all employees to use on the time clock and vending machines (anything with buttons)

Travel

  • One respondent shared questions that were being asked of employees entering their facilities:
    • Have you traveled to a country or state that is included on the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) risk assessment list for travelers related to COVID-19 within the past 14 days? As of March 10, 2020, this includes China, Iran, South Korea, Italy, Japan and Hong Kong.
    • Have you knowingly directly come in contact with someone that has traveled to a country or state that is included on the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) risk assessment list for travelers related to COVID-19 within the past 14 days? As of March 10, 2020, this includes China, Iran, South Korea, Italy, Japan and Hong Kong.
    • Have you knowingly come in contact with a person with the Coronavirus (COVID-19) in the past 14 days?
    • If you answered yes to any of the questions above, you are not permitted to enter our facility until 14 days after the date in which the last potential contact could have occurred.
    • For our records, please indicate the date on which the potential contact would have last occurred.
We are initiating a travel ban: No international travel and no nonessential domestic travel.   Business travel is permitted only if it’s critical to our business. If in question, please contact your manager. This travel ban is through April 30. It will be re-evaluated at that time.