Reopen businesses safely

In San Francisco, the sounds of construction once again fill the air. Detroit auto workers have returned to the assembly line. And Pittsburgh residents can even enjoy a round of golf — provided they maintain a six-foot distance.

After nearly twelve weeks of lockdown, a graphic from the Washington Post shows that most states have already begun lifting restrictions to varying degrees. How and when businesses transition out of lockdown and reopen depends on a number of factors, including their location and industry. But we’re starting to see some early signs of businesses coming back to life.

The road to recovery

In the construction industry, for example, the path forward is starting to look a little brighter. During the COVID-19 shutdown, many contractors saw projects put on hold or canceled. According to a survey conducted in March by the Associated General Contractors of America, 28% of contractors said they had been directed to halt or delay projects. In other cases, customers have pushed back bidding or paused projects to save money. Ohio State University, for example, paused work on 11 construction projects to preserve liquidity. Some contractors have also reported disruptions due to shortages of building supplies and workers, as well as delays in obtaining necessary permits and inspections.

Now, with states loosening restrictions, construction activity is picking back up. Many states are allowing contractors to finish projects that were suspended. Delayed new construction projects are being finalized and scheduled. And bidding opportunities are ticking up. With the increase in activity, the sight of masks and social distancing will become as commonplace on the job site as hard hats and safety vests.

Manufacturers are upbeat about the future as well. Despite supply chain disruptions and significant changes to operations, nearly all of the 700 manufacturers surveyed by SME stated that their company was still operating in some capacity. In fact, half said they were still fully functional while only 8% were completely shut down.

Some manufacturers have responded to the crisis by pivoting to produce essential goods such as PPE and medical supplies. General Motors, for example, recently delivered its first batch of ventilators.  Here at Safeguard, we’ve created new social distancing signs to convey safety messages — in addition to continuing to fulfill our role as a critical supplier to our nation’s essential industries.

As the U.S. and other countries reopen, some manufacturers are starting to see demand for their products pick back up. Increased lead times are expected as manufacturers address the effects of the virus on their suppliers, workers, and operations. However, over two-thirds of manufacturers said they are optimistic that the industry will recover to its pre-COVID-19 level of production by the end of 2020.

In other industries, the future is less certain. Bars, restaurants, gyms, and movie theaters are keeping their doors shut or offering limited services. Schools and universities remain closed for the foreseeable future. Officials at California’s public universities, for example, say it’s not likely students will return to campus this fall. Venues with large public gatherings, such as theme parks, professional sports, and entertainment arenas, are weighing their options for the rest of 2020. So are hotels, resorts, and cruise operators.

Paving the way forward

Once businesses get on the path to reopening, they will have to navigate a complex new reality. The immediate threat of COVID-19 is far from over, and protecting employees and customers will remain the top priority. Many factors will need to be considered, including cleaning and disinfection, social distancing, and ongoing monitoring. To that end, the CDC has issued guidelines to help businesses reopen safely.

Beyond protecting people and resuming normal operations, one major concern when it comes to reopening businesses is cost. Nearly every industry has taken a hit, and cash and capital remain tightly scrutinized. Businesses may be able to reduce their expenses without sacrificing safety by strategically reducing non-essential spending — say, for office space and leased equipment.

Similarly, they may be able to preserve liquidity by delaying or canceling capital improvement projects and instead selecting the most impactful facility improvement and maintenance projects. For example, we’ve seen businesses using our retrofit anti-slip products to extend the life of ladders, ramps, and walkways rather than pay to replace them.

The road to reopening is a bumpy one, but we can get there if we keep safety at the forefront. At Safeguard, we’re here to support you as you continue essential operations or plan for the future. Contact us to speak to one of our experienced team members today.

COVID-19 has upended life as we know it. Schools are closed, sporting events cancelled, and travel is on hold. Businesses have been forced to shutter their doors or severely restrict operations to prevent the spread of infection.

Now, as some states begin to lift stay-at-home orders, corporate executives, managers, and safety leaders will have to work together to figure out how to move forward responsibly. But it won’t simply be business as usual. Priorities have shifted, and companies face a number of new considerations as they transition from lockdown to re-open.

All Hands on Deck: Safety Priorities During a Pandemic

If you’re like most organizations, you probably approved your 2020 budget back in the fall. You spent weeks or months discussing future goals and needs. After many back-and-forth negotiations, management greenlighted expenses for new construction projects and upgrades to existing facilities and equipment. Of course, those budget assumptions were based on a prediction for the upcoming year. 

But with the rise of COVID-19, the phrase “safety is our number one priority” has taken on new meaning. Businesses have devoted their full attention and resources to slowing the spread of COVID-19, fulfilling essential missions, and softening the blow to operations and finance. The primary considerations during lockdown have been establishing social distancing or work-from-home arrangements, securing necessary supplies like masks and gloves, and preparing workers for some new potential hazards they might encounter.

To do this, businesses have had to divert dollars away from approved capital and operating budgets to their coronavirus response. So it’s understandable that many of the projects you planned last year have now been delayed or canceled. Universities have postponed construction of new buildings. Manufacturers have suspended planned facility upgrades. Everything is on hold, and no one knows for sure when or if these projects will be back on. 

Getting Back to Business

Even as businesses reopen, coronavirus will dominate the conversation for the foreseeable future. However, astute safety and facility leaders recognize they can’t let that push day-to-day safety down the list of priorities. After all, slips and falls are just as dangerous as they were six months ago. 

With little wiggle room left in your budget, you’ll have to get creative — something we’re no strangers to during this crisis. We’ve all exercised in our living rooms instead of the gym, or held virtual happy hours over Zoom instead of at the local pub.

Similarly, instead of spending money on major capital improvements, many people are looking for ways to extend the life of their current facilities. To make a worn-out set of stairs last, they’re installing step covers over the existing ones. Rather than tear out cracked cement, companies are covering walkways that might otherwise pose a tripping hazard. These are quick and relatively inexpensive fixes that will last well beyond the current crisis. 

Safeguard Technology: Your Safety Experts

At Safeguard, we understand your priorities have been impacted by the need to deal with COVID-19. Like you, our first priority is keeping people safe and healthy.

Wrestling with the decision to delay or cancel capital improvement projects isn’t an easy thing to do. Whether you’re scrapping your plans or just postponing them for a while, Safeguard Technology is here to help. We can extend the life of your existing ladders, ramps, stairs, and walkways so you can increase safety and still meet evolving budget constraints. Contact us to speak to one of our experienced team members today.

Workplace safety during COVID-19, woman wearing face mask

Business owners, safety leaders, and facility managers have been working around the clock to keep workers safe during the coronavirus outbreak

You’re following State and Federal guidelines and, if you are part of our critical infrastructure, striving to maintain operations.

By now, you know the basics: wash your hands, regularly disinfect surfaces, avoid close contact, and stay home if you’re sick. However, employers also have a responsibility to protect workers from hazards that aren’t immediately obvious.

With so many things to think about and so many priorities competing for your attention, is your organization prepared for these situations? To help you cover all your bases, we’ve made a list of some workplace safety considerations during COVID-19 that you may not have thought of yet.

Preventing the spread of infection

Experts agree that the best way to protect the health and safety of your employees is to keep all non-essential workers home. For anyone who must come in to work, your first priority should be preventing the spread of infection.

Some infection hazards are obvious, such as the risk of spreading the virus through close contact — for example, two factory workers standing side-by-side. But there are other, lesser-known situations that also have the potential to spread infection. For example, are delivery people still entering your facilities? Do workers share phones, desks, tools, or equipment? It’s worth taking a closer look to make sure there’s nothing you’ve missed.

Preparing for reduced staff and supplies

With more employees working remotely or staying home sick, you will understandably have fewer workers on shift. That’s a good thing when it comes to preventing the spread of infection, but it can also increase the potential for problems. Workers who are tired, stressed, or working alone are at increased risk of an accident or injury, so it’s especially important to be vigilant.

In addition to reduced staff, many companies are also preparing for the possibility of supply shortages. Supply chain interruptions and increased demand may make it harder to get protective equipment like masks and gloves, as well as other necessary supplies for day-to-day operations. That’s not an invitation to panic, but rather a reminder to double-check your inventory and reach out to vendors to find out where they stand.

 Training for new hazards

Coronavirus has changed the way many of us work. But have you stopped to think about how to prepare workers for the new challenges they might encounter? For example, a shift supervisor may need coaching on how to respond if they suspect an employee is sick. Similarly, a shop-floor employee might need training on how to handle a new disinfectant safely.

If you haven’t already, now is a good time to evaluate potential training needs within your organization. That includes training opportunities for employees who are staying at home. What activities can you offer now that will ensure they are better skilled and trained when they return to work?

Ensuring business continuity

If your organization had a business continuity plan in place before COVID-19, your crisis team had a head start on mitigating risks and maintaining critical functions. If not, you may be in the process of building a strategy to deal with threats and enable ongoing operations. Now is a good time to document your actions so that, in the future, you will be well positioned to respond to potential threats as they arise.

Ensuring safety program continuity

As during any crisis or natural disaster, your safety program plays a crucial role in supporting your organization’s continued operations. So, while that might look a little different than it did a few weeks ago, it’s important to remain committed to your regular safety efforts. You might need to rethink how you complete audits and inspections, for example, or scale them back from a best-practice level. Along the same lines, you may need to find new ways to communicate with employees or to encourage workers to report health and safety concerns during this time.

Reprioritizing projects

Responding to the coronavirus crisis requires all hands on deck. Organizations are devoting their full attention and resources to mitigating risks and ensuring business continuity. As a result, big capital improvements like new building construction and facility upgrades have taken a backseat. Going forward, business owners and facility managers are evaluating which projects should continue and which can wait. There is no one size fits all answer, so you’ll have to make a judgment call in the end based on your specific situation.

Your takeaway

Keeping your employees safe and healthy during COVID-19 is no easy task. We are all learning from and adapting to this unprecedented event. We hope these workplace safety considerations will help you plan, prepare, and respond effectively.

Here at Safeguard Technology, we care about your workers, customers, and the public and are ready to help you face the challenge of protecting people. As an essential supplier for emergency services, healthcare, transportation, food and agriculture, energy, and other industries, we are still open and operating during this time. Our team is ready to answer any questions you may have about our continuity plan or your anti-slip needs. Contact us to speak to one of our experienced team members today.

Safeguard Continues Operations | April 6, 2020

Ohio’s new stay-at-home order goes in effect Monday 4/6/20. This order is similar to Governor Mike DeWine’s initial order of 3/23/20 but with the addition of specific instructions on controlling traffic flow at essential businesses that are open to the public.

“The requirement that essential businesses determine and enforce a maximum number of customers allowed in a store at one time. These businesses must ensure that people waiting to enter the stores maintain safe social distancing.”

To help our customers who must enforce social distancing rules, Safeguard is offering five new designs of Social Distancing Signs, one of which allows for a custom message to suit unique needs.

New Social Distancing Signs

These vinyl signs convey social distancing rules at your facility. Place on floors, walls, or doors – anywhere people gather as they wait. Bright colors and bold messages are sure to be noticed. Easy installation and removal. Made in USA.

Download PDF – Social Distancing Signs

PLEASE WAIT HERE WITH CART

Size: 11” x 11” (280 x 280 mm)
Part # WVPN-RED/WHT-11X11-PWH-C
Price: $99.95 / Package of 5

PLEASE WAIT HERE

Size: 11” x 11” (280 x 280 mm)
Part # WVPN-RED/WHT-11X11-PWH
Price: $99.95 / Package of 5

YOUR MESSAGE HERE (Custom Text)

Size: 11” x 11” (280 x 280 mm)
Part # WVPN-RED/WHT-11X11-YMH
Price: $99.95 / Package of 5

WE PRACTICE SOCIAL DISTANCING

Size: 23” x 23” (584 x 584 mm)
Part # WVPN-RED/WHT-23X23-WPSD
Price: $214.95 / Package of 5

STAND HERE PLEASE WITH FOOTPRINTS

Size: 23” x 23” (584 x 584 mm)
Part # WVPN-RED/WHT-23X23-SHP-S
Price: $214.95 / Package of 5

CALL TO ORDER 800-989-1695​

Safeguard is Open & Operating | March 23, 2020

Safeguard is a critical supplier to various businesses that are deemed essential by authorities: emergency services, healthcare, transportation, food and agriculture, energy, and other industries. Thus, we will remain open to serve your anti-slip safety needs during the COVID-19 response.

Safeguard has been designated a “Critical Infrastructure Supplier” based on the guidance from the U.S. Department of Homeland Security to ensure continued operations of critical infrastructure services and functions.

Additionally, we will be complying with Ohio Governor Mike DeWine’s “Stay at Home” Order (reference section 12, part v.). This order goes into effect 11:59 PM Monday March 23, 2020 and is scheduled to end at 11:59 PM Monday April 6, 2020 unless modified. UPDATE: The order has been extended through May 1, 2020.

We will continue to update this information as the situation develops. We will make every effort to fulfill our role as a critical supplier to our nation’s essential industries. 

COVID-19 Response, Ready to Help | March 20, 2020

To our customers,

It goes without saying that your business is valuable to us. However, of greater value is your safety and wellbeing and that of your immediate family and your extended work family. Safety has been and will always be our core business. We know that, due to the worldwide pandemic, everyone is more focused on safety – and the shift to personal safety is well warranted.

At Safeguard, we have made some necessary changes to help reduce the spread of the coronavirus. Some ways that we are playing our part include:

·        Following the guidelines of local, state, and federal health agencies to help reduce the spread of COVID-19

·        Eliminating non-essential travel

·        Cancelling or postponing on-site meetings

·        Minimizing large gatherings of employees

·        Securing supply chains for uninterrupted raw material availability

·        Maintaining all essential operations to support our customers’ needs

We will continue to monitor the ongoing situation and adjust accordingly. We thank you for your continued business and support as we work through this situation. We will keep you informed of any changes that could impact you and your business. We intend to continue to operate safely and appropriately. We wish you good health and look forward to a return to normal operations in the very near future.

All the best from the Safeguard team.

Best regards,

Bill Kosinski

President

Safeguard Technology, Inc.

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