APPLIED ENVIRONMENTAL CONSULTING, INC. PANDEMIC POLICY
The following procedure is to be followed by all Applied Environmental Consulting, Inc. employees while working on the temporary jobsites of AEC clients.
How to conduct business during a pandemic disease situation?
What is a pandemic?
A pandemic is the rapid increased incidence rate of a certain infectious disease in an area that escalates to a large area. This is different from an epidemic which is more localized.
What types of pandemics are there?
Two examples of known pandemics are tuberculosis, which an airborne bacterial infection, and smallpox, a viral infection that has affected humans for thousands of years. Pandemics are nationally or globally and be far reaching and caused by many vectors, such as mosquitos, bats and other insects or wild animals. More recently is the COVID-19 flu virus which started in China and rapidly went globally within just several weeks during 2020.
What is a disease or disease containment plan?
A pandemic disease plan or disease containment plan is developed and a coordinator appointed when a pandemic is imminent. Identify a workplace coordinator who will be responsible for dealing with disease issues and their impact at the workplace. This may include contacting local health department and health care providers in advance and developing and implementing protocols for response to ill individuals.
What circumstances are to be considered of workers that may be in the proximity of a pandemic?
AEC personnel that may consider working at a jobsite must consider the following factors:
A. Is the pandemic disease in the region of intended work? Is so, travel to the site is prohibited.
B. Does the receiving corporation have procedures in place to receive visitors? If they do not, travel is prohibited.
C. Is travel an issue to get to the facility (air, ground)? If travel by air, travel is prohibited.
D. Social distancing including increasing the space between employee work areas and decreasing the possibility of contact by limiting large or close contact gatherings should be considered.
What safety methods are available to the employee?
If a pandemic disease is suspected which necessitates a pandemic plan, at a minimum, whenever out in the public, hand-washing stations shall be available to the employees in the immediate proximity of the work area. In addition, hand antiseptic hand cleaning stations with towelettes or paper towels are to be available at no cost to the employee.
Hand washing and use of hand sanitizers should be used by company personnel. Hand washing facilities, hand sanitizers, tissues, no-touch trash cans, hand soap and disposable towels will be provided by the company.
Clean all areas that are likely to have frequent hand contact (like doorknobs, faucets, handrails) periodically and when visibly soiled. Work surfaces should also be cleaned frequently using normal cleaning products.
What actions should be AEC employee pursue first?
The AEC employee should pursue performing as many tasks as possible in the home office and not going onsite. Going on the client’s site is only after the pandemic decree by the State Governor or President of the U.S. has declared to. So, until then, going on a customer’s site is to be avoided.
After the pandemic is lifted, the AEC employee should continue to proceed with caution and the measures as outlined in this policy.
What is the procedure for cleaning sites and equipment?
Surfaces and equipment that are potentially contaminated with a pandemic disease or infectious diseases can be cleaned by using the appropriate cleaning and bleaching agents supplied by the Health & Safety Officer. Any personal protective equipment (PPE) required will be supplied to the employee by the company.
What if one is suspected for being exposed to a disease?
For employees that have suspicion of being exposed to a disease, they are to contact their physician for guidance. This will include being tested, staying home and isolated and obtaining further instructions from health professionals. Any medical records that are generated on an employee to include vaccinations and occupational exposures are to be kept for a minimum of 30 years after the termination of employment.
What about flexible work hours if an employee is not feeling well?
If not feeling well, the employee is to work entirely out of his home and not to access a client’s site.
Flexible work policies will be developed as possible. Workers are encouraged to stay at home not only when ill, but also when having to care for ill family members, or when caring for children when schools close, without fear of reprisal.
What if a large number of the client’s employees become ill?
The AEC employee is to work out of his home and is not to access the premises of the client.
Business continuity plans to support our clients should be prepared so that if significant absenteeism or changes in business practices are required business operations can be effectively maintained. Tele-commuting or other work-at-home strategies are developed and used whenever possible.
What about immunizations?
An AEC employee is encouraged to obtain immunizations for the disease whenever it is available and accessible. Employees should be encouraged to obtain appropriate immunizations to help avoid disease. Granting time off work to obtain the vaccine will be authorized when vaccines become available in the community.
What is the procedure for communication during a pandemic?
For internal communication (within the company), the employee is to maintain a coordinated communication with company management to ensure that the tasks to be completed are being fulfilled as completely as possible without going on-site. Key contacts, a chain of communications and contact numbers for employees, and processes for tracking business and employees status would be developed, when appropriate.
For external communication (with the client), the employee provide periodic developments of progress and information for the client to review and comment. A procedure will be developed with the client’s input in order notify key contacts including both customers and suppliers in the event an outbreak has impacted our company’s ability to perform services. This procedure must also include notification to customers and suppliers when operations resume.
What are the AEC employee to do if there is a potential for large crowds or meeting groups?
An AEC employee is to avoid working with a large group of people, visiting a client with a large number of employees or attend or conduct training sessions until the pandemic is lifted.
When is the pandemic plan reviewed?
The plan is evaluated each time a pandemic or epidemiological event occurs that could potentially affect the health of an AEC employee. The details of the plan are to be reviewed as to relevance and accentuated depending on the type of disease as its potential spread.
The plan and emergency communication strategies are to be periodically tested, as appropriate, to ensure it is effective and workable.
What is a lessons learned?
Whenever employees are to use this plan when working with clients, it is encouraged to describe to the AEC management and fellow employees the experiences of the event and how AEC was able to (or not able to) accomplish the assigned tasks in support of the client.
Following a pandemic event, the person responsible for implementation of the plan is to identify learning opportunities and take action to implement any corrective actions.
When is training on this plan completed?
Training on this plan is communicated with all AEC employees at the beginning of a pandemic and periodically throughout the event to ensure its effectiveness.
Company employees will be trained on health issues of the pertinent disease to include prevention of illness, initial disease symptoms, preventing the spread of the disease, and when it is appropriate to return to work after illness. Disease containment plans and expectations will be shared with employees. Communicating information with non-English speaking employees or those with disabilities must be considered if any other those personnel are employees of the company.