Michigan is allowing manufacturing to resume, as our state gradually reopens after a "stay home" order was issued on March 24th to help stop the spread of COVID-19. We are grateful that our team has not been directly impacted by COVID-19, though family and friends have. As we reopen, we are doing everything we can think of to ensure our team stays healthy.
We are starting with non-overlapping shifts, Monday-Wednesday and Thursday-Saturday, with our cleaning company using CDC-recommended sanitizing procedures in between each shift. We will start with a single person each shift, then have separate teams (A & B) that do not overlap. I will work from home most of the time, and will minimize my use of the kitchen and bathroom when I'm in the office.
Until further notice, we are implementing the following policies and preventative measures.
- No non-essential travel, including to trade shows.
- No attending concerts.
- No visitors.
- Provide information and guidance on how to work safely.
- Follow strict procedures for working safely.
- Work from home when possible.
- Self-attestation of no COVID-19 symptoms or contacts before each shift.
- Temperature checks at the beginning of each shift.
- Employees who are feeling ill or displaying symptoms are asked to stay home. Any employee who wants to stay home for any reason can stay home.
- Wash hands upon arriving, and every two hours.
- Wear face masks unless you are alone in the building. We will provide masks for employees who did not bring them.
- Maintain a minimum distance of 6 feet between people.
- Sanitize bathroom, kitchen, and high touch surfaces multiple times per day.
- Open the shop door for fresh air when weather allows.
- Hand sanitizer throughout the building.
- Disinfecting wipes and Kleenex at each workbench.
- Our cleaner will clean twice a week using CDC-recommended sanitizing procedures.
- Provide a camping chair for each employee to take lunch breaks outside.
- Rearrange workbenches so that people are 8-10 feet apart.
- Set up a 2nd QA station to avoid sharing.
- Purchase additional hand tools, power tools, and storage to avoid sharing.
- Split music equipment into sets in different offices assigned to different people (no sharing).
- Anyone who does office work has a private office with a door.
- Install a no-touch faucet in the bathroom.
- Wear a mask and nitrile gloves while packing and shipping.
- Hold finished pedals on the shelf for 4 days before shipping.
I put together these preventative measures with the understanding that the highest risk of transmission comes first from close proximity, and second from shared tools. We purchased another set of tools to avoid sharing or borrowing. Any shared tool must be disinfected after you use it, using disinfecting wipes or 70% IPA. We will set up a 2nd QA station so that our test equipment only needs to be sanitized between shifts.
Scientific consensus is that the highest likelihood of being infected is from being in close contact with an infected person. Talking, touching, or working at a distance of less than 6 feet. Infection as a result of touching contaminated surfaces is less likely. The virus can survive for up to 24 hours on cardboard and 3 days on metal according to some studies, but the virus degrades quickly outside a host, becoming less and less infectious in a matter of hours.
The Michigan Safe Start guidelines recommend wearing a cloth face mask when you cannot maintain a minimum distance of 6 feet. Our rule is that you should wear a mask if you are not the only one in the building; however, if you are at your desk and the only person in that room, it is probably safe to remove your mask. Note that a cloth face mask does not provide any significant protection to you - it is to protect others around you. Think of it as changing you from a viral Godzilla to a viral Pigpen, with a cloud of contaminated air escaping your mask.
Gloves are recommended when you are disinfecting common surfaces. Gloves do not protect you from the Coronavirus, although they can serve as a reminder not to touch your face. Transmission through surface contact happens when you touch a contaminated surface and then touch your eyes, nose, or mouth.
Wash your hands often with soap and water for 20 seconds or a hand sanitizer that contains at least 60% alcohol. The CDC recommends soap, which breaks apart the coronavirus and causes it to disintegrate (which takes time, hence the 20 seconds). Hand sanitizer is a backup when soap is not available.
Temperature checks and self-attesting to symptoms and contacts provide minimal protection, since people can spread the virus before they develop any symptoms. However, they are a low-cost measure that provides another layer of detection.
The simple recommendations for keeping yourself healthy are:
- Stay home if possible.
- Wear a cloth face mask if you have to go out.
- Stay at least 6 ft apart.
- Wash your hands often.
- Contact your health care provider if you develop symptoms.
- CDC recommendations on cleaning and disinfecting
- MI Safe Start Plan to re-engage Michigan's economy
- http://michigan.gov/CoronavirusTEST (to sign up for testing)
- OSHA Guidance on Preparing Workplaces for COVID-19
- Lear Safe Work Playbook
- Dow Return to Workplace Playbook
- Tom Bihn’s efforts in their Seattle factory (they also make comfortable masks)