In addition to the responsibility that manufacturing and food safety professionals have in keeping their workforce safe and productive, they now have to include all of the new protocols and procedures that the coronavirus demands.
With that in mind, our team of experts came together to share best practices for manufacturers still operating. Note that you may have to tailor them to suit your particular facility’s needs.
Recommended Training Topics
Keeping critical topics top of mind is always a priority in the day to day life of safety, but during a pandemic, hygiene practices can become a life or death situation.
Recently Intertek Alchemy created and deployed a COVID-19: Overview awareness course to share best practices on effective training, mitigating the spread of the virus, and ensuring that your employees are competent and compliant. The 12-minute course covers how to:
Mitigate the spread of the coronavirus
Recognize symptoms and protect from respiratory illnesses
Prevent transmission to others
Note: For any clients who already have eLearning, there is no need to download the course, but if you intend on having your team watch it immediately, simply add it to your learning plan!
We also highly recommend the following Alchemy courses and communication topics to supplement your safety program during this time:
Effective Hand Washing Techniques
Promoting Personal Hygiene
Cleaning and Sanitizing Procedures
Maintaining Safe Training Environments
If your facility is conducting group-based training in this time of physical distancing, we can offer some tips for doing so safely:
Consider reducing learners per session. If you typically accommodate large groups of employees for training, reduce the amount employees to maintain the CDC-recommended distance of 6 feet between learners.
Try moving to a larger space to allocate more space between learners. Scout out larger areas in your facility that can be used for training.
Think about delivering the training via kiosk mode. Kiosk mode is a great option for enabling employees to learn independently. It gives employees individual access to all courses through Alchemy Player.
How to access: For a step-by-step guide on how to access kiosk mode in Alchemy Player’s Admin Settings, please click here. Note: you will need an internet connection to upload the records back into Alchemy Manager once employees complete their training.
For assistance with set up or operation, please contact our support team.
Consider deploying training through eLearning. Quite similar to kiosk mode, eLearning enables employees to learn independently. However, an internet connection is required for eLearning, with a hardwire connection recommended.
How to access: Log in through Alchemy Manager site and navigate to the eLearning dashboard. Your employees will see an image on the screen displaying all of the required courses they must complete (unless the user is also an Alchemy Admin, they won’t see the backend information on their screen that you do when you log in).
More information on eLearning can be found here.
Tip: If you decide to move forward with eLearning, we recommend that you include each employee’s email address in their user account. This allows them to use the “forgot username/password” prompt to solve any login issues on their own. An email will be sent to them to re-program their password. If you don’t have time to add their email addresses, or you do not possess this information, you can contact our support team for help.
Tools for Ensuring your Employees are Competent and Compliant
We’ve covered important training topics and how to train safely, but how do we ensure that the trainings are taking place? Here are a few that we recommend:
Learning plans in Alchemy Manager. Learning plans are a set of courses assigned to employees for a specified period of time. They track who has been trained, who still needs training, and who hasn’t completed or passed training. It shows any gaps, leaving you with no doubt whatsoever on what training needs to be completed.
Note: If you‘re using Player 7, you can now download learning plans.
Alchemy Coach is a mobile app that can be used to observe employee behaviors and verify they are applying what they learned in training on the job. The observations can be delivered in groups or one-one-one. Are they practicing social distancing? Correctly wearing their protective equipment? Using effective sanitizing methods? Just be sure to practice the 6-ft separation rule when observing and coaching!
Alchemy Playbook is a mobile app that enables manufacturers to deliver consistent on-the-job training. And in case an employee is not available to do their job, you can easily look up other qualified workers for the job. We recommend that supervisor record proper ways to put on PPE and sanitize work equipment right on the production floor to and turn it into a course. Many of our clients are using Playbook to certify employees and supervisors on COVID 19 awareness and track qualifications as well.
Reinforcement Tools. It’s also extremely important to keep training top of mind. Intertek Alchemy has a variety of break room videos and posters that help reinforce what employees learn in training. The training content can and should also be reviewed by supervisors in their daily talks with our huddle guides .
Best Practices for Training Facilitators
Let’s get into the heart of the matter: best practices for safety for everyone in the facility in the time of COVID-19.
1. In addition to ensuring that employees are washing hands before and after training, remember that facilitators must do this as well, to protect yourself and keep yourself safe.
2. You must also sanitize the tools you’re using between sessions, including:
any surfaces that are frequently touched during training like tables, chairs, and doorknobs
3. And don’t schedule sessions back to back. Make sure you’re leaving enough time between each one to sanitize the room and wash your hands.
When it comes to disinfecting training equipment, there are a few key things to keep in mind:
Use sanitizing wipes with viricidal agents, like 70% isopropyl alcohol or CHG (chlorhexidine gluconate):
Don’t use abrasives, water, bleach, or acid-based cleaners
Wring out the excess liquid from the wipe before using to prevent water damage
Wipe gently to prevent tarnish - especially on decals such as remote numbers
Sanitize all device accessories, such as cases, straps, or styluses
Always ensure that device users are washing their hands regularly and effectively
Allot Yourself Extra Time
Finally, remember that this is a whole new world, and everything has changed and will continue to change. Allow yourself extra time to employ all of these measures!
Please visit our “COVID-19 Resources for Manufacturers and Food Processors” page that we developed for anyone in the industry who could benefit from accessing a list of resources on workforce training, business continuation, PPE, financial assistance, and more industry-related resources regarding the COVID-19 pandemic.
You may also want to check out our LinkedIn Community Connections group, which serves as a gathering place for industry professionals to post questions, offer best practices, and simply share information for others to benefit from.
And make sure to check out our valuable knowledge base in Manager for more answers to your questions. To access, log into Manager and click on the help icon. This opens a new window in your browser, revealing the knowledge base. Now you can use the search bar at the top to find: tutorials, videos, and tip sheets.