Managing Uncertainty In The Covid-19 Pandemic

We interviewed Arianne Bohnert, Project Manager, Health & Safety at ECOH Management Inc., to understand how they have been navigating the uncertainty of the COVID-19 Pandemic, and the role SalusPro has played in helping them implement controls, both internally and with their clients.

 

Protecting People, Property and Planet since 2000, ECOH Management Inc. (ECOH) is a respected provider of Environmental, Health and Safety consulting services.

With offices in Mississauga and Ottawa, Ontario ECOH specializes in Hazardous Materials, Occupational Health & Safety and Environmental Management. Committed to providing clients with superior customer service, and with a proven ability to respond quickly and efficiently, ECOH offers unique solutions to environmental challenges.

ecoh.ca/covid-19-services/

 

 

Q: Can you walk us through the impact that Ontario’s newly enhanced COVID-19 regulations have had on the industry from a safety perspective?

The most significant impact has been managing the uncertainty.

Many of our clients have had to reallocate budgets in order to acquire Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) and to implement the necessary control measures to protect their staff and maintain day-to-day operations. There is still uncertainty about a second wave of infection and the effect this may have.

We have noticed that some sites are dealing with challenges pertaining to the management of restrictions, specifically the number of people permitted to work in an area. Some project sites have implemented a five-person maximum, which can be challenging for general contractors to manage with various engineers, trades workers, and safety inspectors involved. Sign-in protocols, screening, and cleaning are vital to protecting people and preventing the potential spread if a worker tests positive with COVID-19. From my perspective, those who have implemented stringent precautions have been effective in preventing positive cases on their work sites.

 

“The most significant impact has been managing uncertainty”

 

Q: How were day-to-day operations affected for your business once we went into lockdown? And how have they evolved since the Pandemic started?

At the beginning of the Pandemic, the government came out with a list of essential services and the work that ECOH provides was included in it.

ECOH is a health and safety consulting company with divisions in environmental management, occupational hygiene, hazardous materials and general health and safety. Given the nature of our work, we are used to wearing and providing specialized PPE to protect against job hazards (e.g. respirators, protective clothing)

As the Pandemic started to unfold, we were proactive in acquiring the additional PPE that we felt would be needed in order to maintain our day-to-day operations; masks, face shields, gloves, and cleaning supplies.

We also provided training to all of our employees on proper donning and doffing, sanitizing, and hand washing procedures. These activities were a part of regular protocols, but now there was the added pressure of COVID-19 protection.

ECOH works on projects across Canada, and the various Provinces have varying requirements and restrictions which we have had to manage in order to sustain operations.

 

Q: Can you share some insights into your process for COVID-19 infection control?

As a leading health and safety provider, it is imperative for ECOH to implement the highest standard of COVID-19 infection control within our own offices and workplaces, as we would recommend for any client.

Within the ECOH office, infection control measures included the implementation of directional flow (mapped by arrows), frequent cleaning of high-touch surfaces, and increased professional cleaning of all shared spaces (e.g. staff washrooms), mapping of physical distancing between work stations and implementation of PPE (masks) throughout the office.

In addition to this, ECOH created a “COVID-19 Daily Screening Form” using SalusPro, which allows us to complete a screening form for each site that ECOH staff visit in a day, whether that is our ECOH office or a client site. Our Hazard ID form for each project/site, which we use to communicate site-specific hazards to staff, was modified with COVID-19 related hazards and controls; both ECOH and client-specific. SalusPro’s improved functionality, allowing customers to modify forms makes it easy for us to update them as hazards or controls related to COVID-19 change.

 

“A major part of working with clients right now is that they want to see controls in place for managing COVID-19”

 

Q: How would you describe the role SalusPro plays in helping companies run their safety programs effectively throughout the COVID-19 Pandemic?

ECOH implemented SalusPro in June 2019.

Initially, SalusPro was used for hazard identification and communication between staff. While many of the hazards are consistent from project to project, there are site-specific considerations. Our goal was to track and record this activity. Since that time, we have adapted and improved our use of SalusPro.

With SalusPro, there is undoubtedly an efficiency. Once the forms are submitted, it’s completed with very little effort required from a records management standpoint. This helps to ensure documents are not getting missed like they might in a paper-based program.

As the COVID-19 Pandemic continued, we began utilizing SalusPro to support our screening processes. We require employees to fill out the daily COVID-19 Screening Form in SalusPro each time they attend the office or any of our client sites.

In the event that any site came back to us and said they had a positive COVID-19 case, we can search that worksite and support contact tracing to find out which workers may have been at risk.

An added benefit is the ability to search through the data in real-time to verify records and progress of form completion.

 

Q: How has moving to a digital safety platform helped ECOH prepare for your upcoming COR audit?

ECOH is currently in the process of preparing for its COR audit. Internally, we are focused on getting our processes in place and implementing the digital piece.

Our philosophy is that it is not enough to say a job has been completed safely, it needs to be proven. SalusPro is an excellent tool for managing safety documentation. SalusPro is capable of organizing information and data filterable by site, worker, form type, so that data can be retrieved at any time.

Furthermore, SalusPro contributes to continuous improvement and tracking compliance, which supports ECOH’s goal of being COR certified.

 

“It’s not enough to say a job is completed safely, it needs to be proven, and Salus is an excellent tool for managing safety documentation”

 

To learn more about ECOH Management Inc. visit their website: ecoh.ca

 

About Salus

Salus is a digital safety solutions provider for the North American construction industry. Founded by the former head of a high-rise window installation company, Salus has incorporated real-world site level safety experience into the design of its flagship platform, SalusPro – a web-based solution for the business level and mobile app for the field.

With workflows that mirror how safety programs operate in the construction industry today and with the ability to manage subcontractors, assets, incidents and compliance, Salus is at the forefront of innovation for cloud-based safety.

Click here to learn more about SalusPro safety software or request a demo below.

 

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