PATH to Reopen Your Business [Webinar]
Logo, Travelers. Text, COVID 19: Risk Management Today.
RENEE LAWSON: Welcome to today's webinar, PATH to Reopening Your Business. Before we begin, I'd like to say just a few words about our disclaimer. We're going to be discussing some best practices relating to your risk management processes during today's session, but we can't possibly cover every scenario you might encounter. And since every company and scenario is different, it's going to be up to you to take this information and use it in a way that best fits your company's individual situation.
Also, for any legal decisions that might relate to the use of the information discussed in this presentation, always follow the advice of your own legal counsel.
My name is Renee Lawson, and I'll be your moderator today. We have two very knowledgeable panelists here to talk about how employers can cautiously and responsibly open for business while taking measures to help stop or limit the spread of COVID-19 in the workplace. Joe David is a senior industrial hygienist here in the Travelers Risk Control Department, and Chris Hayes is a 2VP with responsibilities for workers compensation and transportation, also in the Travelers Risk Control Department.
2020 has been a challenging year. COVID-19 has brought about an ever-evolving world with information and guidance coming from all sides. And now that we find ourselves moving into whatever our new normal will be, the ongoing safety of employees is paramount in ways we never considered before.
Whether your business remained open, or you're planning to reopen, or you're somewhere in the middle, chances are you have some questions. You want to do it the right way. So preparation and planning are key to making sure that you provide the best outcome for your staff. Our goal is to provides you with a better understanding of how COVID-19 affects and impacts your workplace and discuss how to apply proven risk management principles to this new risk.
We'll be using our PATH approach to help you step through this issue and apply these elements to your own business.
COVID in Workplace.
So Joe, to get this conversation started, can you talk a little bit about the difference between a public health issue and an occupational illness and where COVID-19 fits into that?
JOE DAVID: Sure, Renee. To begin this discussion, let's level-set with some COVID-19 basics. We should remember that COVID-19 is a public health issue. Every one of us has an inherent risk of exposure and subsequent infection in routine everyday life. COVID-19 is not a classical occupational disease risk, such as exposures generated from work tasks like metal fumes from welding or metal working fluids from machining.
COVID-19 is a public health risk, which is a new potential risk factor exposure in occupational settings. Since COVID-19 can affect all people, your employees will be affected also, and this will impact every business organization in some manner. The risk of exposure created by this new normal should be addressing the organization's risk management process with the ultimate goal being to interrupt or minimize the transmission potential within the workplace.
RENEE LAWSON: So you said interrupt or minimize transmission. How does that work?
JOE DAVID: Well, COVID-19 is the illness caused by the SARS-CoV-2 virus, and this is a respiratory virus. The virus is transmitted between people through droplets that occur when infected people sneeze or cough. These virus-laden droplets are considered to be the primary mode of transmission.
According to the CDC, or Center for Disease Control, person-to-person transmission occurs during close contact with a person that has COVID-19 primarily from these respiratory droplets which become aerosolized and can then be deposited in the mouth, nose, or eyes of nearby people, or they can be inhaled into their lungs.
The six-foot distancing rule, which is meant to eliminate close contact, is really based upon the science of airborne droplets. According to information provided by the CDC, gravity causes these droplets, which are bigger than 5 microns in size and invisible to the naked eye, to fall to the ground within a distance of six feet from the infected person.
RENEE LAWSON: All right, thanks. So is the virus just airborne or are there other ways to get the virus?
JOE DAVID: No. Because these airborne droplets have to go somewhere, they do not disappear into thin air. After sneezing or coughing, virus-laden airborne droplets will be deposited on surfaces where the virus will remain viable for hours to days on a variety of surfaces. So people can always become infected with SARS-CoV-2 virus by touching contaminated surfaces or objects and then touching their mouths, noses, or eyes.
Consideration for regular and routine cleaning and disinfecting of frequently-touched surfaces and for the use of face coverings if spacing cannot be maintained are key elements to interrupt the transmission pathway. Disinfecting cleans a potentially contaminated surface, whereas face coverings, if worn properly, contain droplets produce from sneezes or coughs and prevent them from becoming airborne.
RENEE LAWSON: Excellent. Again, thank you. So now Chris, as a risk manager, is this a workplace issue or a public health issue?
CHRIS HAYES: Thanks, Renee. So as Joe said, we have to remember that COVID-19 is a public health issue. All of us have an inherent risk of exposure and subsequent infection in just everyday normal life. COVID-19 is not a classical occupational disease risk, it's a public health risk. That's a new potential risk factor in an occupational setting.
COVID-19 can affect all workers and will impact every business organization in some manner. The risk and exposure created by this new normal should be addressed in your organization's risk management process with the ultimate goal of interrupting or minimizing transmission at the
RENEE LAWSON: As safety and health professionals, Travelers has been dealing with risk management for more than a century. So Chris, can you talk about the connection between risk management and COVID-19?
CHRIS HAYES: Absolutely. Organizations are always addressing challenges and employee safety through solid risk management practices, and COVID-19 is just the next challenge that we all face. There's a good chance that everyone who's listening to this already has a solid risk management process, and this is just another piece to it.
When we think about a risk management process, we think about things like identifying and understanding the risk, implementing controls, training and educating employees, and then monitoring the effectiveness and adjusting as needed.
RENEE LAWSON: OK. So is there any one plan that somebody should be following?
CHRIS HAYES: I'm sure it would be great if there were one plan that everyone can follow and one clear set of detailed instructions to operate safely. But the truth is, there is not. There is no one set of rules that's going to work for everybody. Workplaces are just too diverse for a one-size-fits-all approach.
So as an example, every construction company doesn't have the exact same fall protection program, and every manufacturer doesn't have the exact same lockout-tagout program. So everything needs to be tailored to the individual organization's unique circumstance.
The Noise Around Us.
For good reason, much of our time and attention in 2020 has been spent absorbing information on COVID-19, and it's tough to get through all that noise and focus on the really critical issues that are impacting business and the health of our employees.
Our PATH program is just that. It's a way to cut through the noise and focus on reducing the risk of transmission in the workplace. That is our academic, PATH-- Plan, Act, Train, Health. And these are core principles we think everyone should consider to operate safely in today's environment. And we'll walk through these in today's presentation.
RENEE LAWSON: Great. So where does the company start? What's the first step?
CHRIS HAYES: Well, the first step is to plan, and we'll come back to that a few times over the course of this discussion. But for now we're going to talk about being able to take a good look at your organization, understand the different roles employees fill in that organization, and understand how the exposures might change from job to job.
RENEE LAWSON: So Joe, Chris mentioned looking at your organization and figuring out your individual risk. What would that mean?
JOE DAVID: Well, as Chris indicated, the primary consideration is the level of inherent risk within an organization's work environment. This can be better defined by referring to the OSHA risk pyramid which divides the job task in the four risk exposure levels. These range from very high to lower risk. The very high risk is associated with our frontline health care professionals and similar occupations. In general, OSHA indicates that most US workers will fall into the medium-to-lower-risk categories with proper planning and action. The basis of the risk pyramid is considering a business's need to have contact within six feet of people known to be or suspected of being infected with the SARS-CoV-2 virus.
The question really becomes, can the six-foot physical distancing rule be maintained? And if not, which work environments inherently pose a higher risk of workplace transmission? Some other factors that we need-- that may not be directly associated workplace but we need to consider are prevailing conditions in the communities, where employees live and work; employee activities outside of work, such as travel to more highly affected areas; and individual health conditions. These factors may also affect employees' risk of getting COVID-19 or developing complications from the illness.
RENEE LAWSON: OK. So to better understand this concept, can you share some different scenarios?
JOE DAVID: Sure. Let's compare a receptionist in a business office versus a receptionist in a medical clinic. The general job duties may have some similar parallels, but there are very different risk levels. Within a medical clinic, infected or potentially infected visitors or patients can be expected, whereas in a business office, policies and protocols can be implemented to control access and minimize the number of people on-site.
Within the medical office, the risk will be considered high. Whereas depending upon the occupancy loading, the business office environment can be classified anywhere from low to medium based upon the ability to main the physical distancing requirement. In a manufacturing setting, let's consider a facility with employees working in close proximity to each other, such as a meat processing facility at a breakout table versus a job shop where small quantities of customized products are manufactured.
In the meat processing plant, employees must work close together to efficiently process the product. In this case, it is very difficult to maintain proper physical distancing, so additional controls may be needed to reduce the level of risk. In a job shop, the work task can be organized to allow for proper distancing. So this is really an example of a fixed versus a fluid work environment.
RENEE LAWSON: What about something as simple as whether you work inside or outside?
JOE DAVID: That's a very good question, Renee, because indoor and outdoor worker environments are common in construction. With an outdoor environment, there may be more space to allow for proper distancing, whereas an indoor project could be limited to a very confined area. But outdoor work does not preclude you from evaluating the work task since there may be multiple person tasks that don't allow for physical distancing. Some good examples include two-person lifts or manning a concrete pumper hose.
CHRIS HAYES: Joe, I have a question for you. From where I'm sitting, I can see three people working outside, and they look like they're working closer than the six-foot distance. Is that OK on a windy day like this?
JOE DAVID: Chris, the fact that they're outside does not minimize the requirement for the sixfoot distancing. We still have the six-foot rule in effect where gravity is still going to allow that aerosol to get within that person's breathing zone. So if they are doing something where they can't be six foot apart, they need to look at other sorts of protection, and in this case they may go to cloth face coverings.
RENEE LAWSON: All right, so Chris, once a company has evaluated their risk level, what is the next step on the PATH?
CHRIS HAYES: So the second step is Act, which is putting into place appropriate controls to reduce the risk of transmission in the workplace. So in this slide, we see something here that should look familiar to anyone who's worked in safety or risk management, and that is the hierarchy of controls. It's not concept you're probably already applying inside your organization, and COVID-19 is another place to make it work.
We'll move through the hierarchy and give examples of how each of these controls can be applied to a number of organizations to reduce the risk of COVID-19 transmission. The key element is to think about this as a process to avoid escalation of disease transmission. Your goal should be to reduce the opportunities for the disease to move through the workplace.
Eliminate at top.
One set of controls isn't necessarily better than any other. The controls at the top the hierarchy can significantly reduce risk, but there could be more challenges in implementing them. There might be challenges in terms of costs or changes in operation. Other controls you see towards the bottom of the hierarchy, like administration and personal protective equipment, might be less costly, they might require less retooling and preparation, but they're also more intensive in terms of management and they have a risk of human error. They require significantly more employee engagement to be effective.
Also keep in mind that establishing one type of control doesn't mean you can't supplement it with another type of control. So Renee, we both started our careers in transportation safety. This makes me think about, say, if I get my brakes worked on. Just because my brakes are working effectively doesn't mean that I can now take my seat belt off. You only have as many layers of controls working together as possible.
So you may find that you want to start with administrative controls and personal protective equipment, and then as resources and time allow, implement more engineering controls. And we'll come to that later, an example of the two-person lift.
RENEE LAWSON: OK. So can you to talk us through this hierarchy of controls and give us some ideas for what a company can do at each level?
JOE DAVID: Sure, Renee. Let's begin with elimination. Elimination when referring to classic workplace exposure really involves removing the exposure from the work environment. And in the absence of any exposure, only minimal management oversight is needed and specific controls are not required. However, we cannot eliminate the SARS-CoV-2 virus. So in a COVID-19 world, elimination really refers to eliminating those tasks or functions that require large gatherings or close contact between employees.
Since people are the source of transmission, we can eliminate some transmission sources by determining who is really essential and business-critical to our operations and who should be on our work sites. Those who are not essential may be able to work from home and may come back to the site in a phase 2 process.
Some examples of the elimination concept might include eliminating workplace access to noncritical contractors and visitors, which eliminates transmission points; eliminating reception seating areas to prevent group gatherings; eliminating shared services such as community coffee bars, which are common touch points; eliminating tasks requiring large amounts of people to be in one area; and eliminating unnecessary travel.
Let's move on substitution in the control hierarchy. Substitution refers to the exchanging and the use of a highly toxic material, such as a chlorinated hydrocarbon, which may be carcinogenic, for less toxic material. In a COVID-19 world, substitution can refer to substituting activities operations that require many people in small areas for more appropriate activities that are more conducive to physical distancing. Chris, do you have any insight to share?
CHRIS HAYES: Joe, absolutely. There are some great examples of how organizations are changing in ways that might just be with us from now on or the foreseeable future. A good example of this is just this meeting. We're recording this and doing this training from our own homes. And so the idea of virtual conferences, virtual training I think is just going to be part of how organizations change in the future.
Think about stores you may frequent or restaurants you frequent. There is very much a trend towards curbside pickup and curbside delivery, which, again, is a great way to change out our business or to reduce the risk of disease transmission. Once we go into an office environment, again, not using those meeting rooms the same way would be another way to change things.
As we think about the virtual world and different ways of communicating, now you think about those non-critical third parties that might come into your office, like a vendor or outside sales, those meetings that you used to look forward to having inside your facilities, they might move virtual as well. And one idea that we keep coming back to is the idea that physical signatures were just a very commonplace thing, and electronic signatures may become the way of the future. And that really starts taking us from the substitution to the engineering changes, which I believe you can cover a bit more detail.
JOE DAVID: Engineering controls in the new normal are used to interrupt the pathway of transmission. These controls can deflect airborne aerosols from entering and employee's breathing zone or they can eliminate the physical contact with potentially contaminated surfaces. Some examples can include barriers to deflect airborne aerosols, such as see-through barriers that we see for bank tellers, cashiers, and receptionists. This interrupts the airborne aerosol pathway.
We can reconfigure workstation and reduce the number of chairs available to achieve a six-foot separation distance. No touch, motion sensor-activated options such as trash receptacles, time clocks, water faucets, soap dispensers, and entry doors are also options. Establishing flow patterns using floor arrows and hallways, stairwells, or production floors; and/or the use of barriers and distance markings to really help maintain a six-foot distance of separation.
Engineering administrative controls tend to blend together. Administrative controls require a much higher degree of active employee and management participation and buy-in to be successful. Chris, can you comment on some of the various administrative controls that can be considered?
CHRIS HAYES: So typically policies, procedures, and training are part of those changes in administrative controls. And as we worked on creating a list here, there's really quite a range of things you can do. One of the ideas that we've discussed is really reducing traffic inside of a facility. So having employees assigned to a specific area, maybe color-coding and badges so people only go to a specific area inside a facility. That would minimize the amount of transmission, say, between an office and a workshop.
JOE DAVID: As a last resort, personal protective equipment or PPE should be used. PPE typically refers to equipment such as a filtering face piece respirator that protects a worker from inhalation hazards such as metal fumes from welding tasks.
This type of personal protective equipment eliminates an inhalation hazard for the employee wearing it.
In a COVID-19 world, face coverings are considered PPE that protects others from exposure. The key thing here is others. The purpose of face covering is to interrupt the flow of aerosols emitted by the wearer when coughing or sneezing so that the airborne spread is limited and surface contamination is greatly reduced.
RENEE LAWSON: OK, so our theme has been that physical distancing is the goal. If that isn't possible, should the default be to use PPE?
JOE DAVID: Oh, very good question, Renee. But of course, PPE should always be the last resort regardless of the potential exposure. You first need to consider properly-designed barrier guards that extend appropriate height, or other engineering controls as presented earlier. Work tasks redesigned to accommodate proper physical distancing is another preferred option. At this time you can also revisit job safety analyses since this is a new exposure in the equation which was not previously considered. But for the control hierarchy, the last resort is personal protective equipment.
RENEE LAWSON: But what about for common work tasks that require two employees to be in close proximity like a two-person lift? What can companies do to protect their employees while still dealing with that six-foot separation distance?
CHRIS HAYES: The two-person lift is a great example that a lot of organizations are going to be facing as a way to rethink their process during this time. Now a short-term solution may be to use face covering and gloves and to enforce hand hygiene. But know that face coverings are not fully considered as a substitute for social distancing.
So the long-term, the solution would be to review the work task and eliminate the need for the two-person lift by using a mechanical lift aid or redesigning the process. A redesign of the process can also mitigate potential material handling injuries, which is a very commonly associated with the task.
RENEE LAWSON: OK. So I'm going to be honest.
CHRIS HAYES: Yeah.
RENEE LAWSON: Even I am a little confused about masks these days. There are N95 respirators and cloth masks and surgical masks and even bandannas are being used. So Joe, can you clear up some of that?
JOE DAVID: Oh, of course. Well, to reiterate what Chris said, face coverings are not a substitute for physical distancing. We must always remember that. But face coverings really is a broad term that can include cloth coverings, surgical masks, face shields, and for health care settings, the N95 respirators that you mentioned.
The CDC recommends that everyone should wear a cloth face covering when they are in public. This face covering is meant to protect, again, other people in case the wearer is infected. There is evidence of people being infected with the SARS-CoV-2 virus and really not exhibiting symptoms. So a face covering is a means that can help prevent transmission since proper use interrupts the pathway of droplet transmissions through the air.
Cloth face coverings should be worn in public settings where social distancing measures are difficult to maintain. They should fit snugly but comfortably over the nose and mouth and against the side of the face and should not be restrictive or cause difficulty breathing. Only respirators are approved to provide protection of the wearer from other people or other inhalation hazards around them. The CDC does not recommend respirators for non-health care workers.
And remember, to qualify as a respirator, it must have an approval from NIOSH, such as what we see in the workplace, disposable N95 or P100 respirators. Respirator uses for reducing exposures to other workplace hazards such as metal fumes and welding, and these must be NIOSH-approved.
RENEE LAWSON: OK, what about gloves?
JOE DAVID: Well, the use of gloves is really not a substitute for thorough and frequent handwashing. There are a variety of reasons. Infectious materials can contaminate the gloves and can then be transferred if you touch your face with a dirty glove. Also, gloves can reduce the number of germs that may get on your hands, but they're not 100% foolproof and there is some breakthrough that can occur.
Also, hands can become contaminated removing and disposing of these gloves. In fact, as a best practice, all health care professionals thoroughly wash their hands after removing gloves.
RENEE LAWSON: So thank you both for walking us through that. But before we move to the next step on our PATH, I'd just like to reiterate something about the hierarchy of controls and how those at the top are predominantly employer-driven, and the ones at the bottom, those are the ones that require the employee to do something or wear something. And this is where you're going to need your staff to buy into these policies on more than a, it's the rule level.
CHRIS HAYES: Exactly. As you start putting these controls in place, think about how you'll engage their employees. You want early adoption, strong adherence, and you want employees who are confident that you were concerned for their safety and do what you can to manage their risk.
RENEE LAWSON: Right. And as we move down the PATH, our next step is training. Training and education can be particularly challenging in this environment. People are anxious, and they're going to be looking to their leadership for guidance. In the past you might have had full company meetings with everybody in one place to hear your message. Now you're going to have to consider other methods and new avenues. So Chris, how can a company make this work?
CHRIS HAYES: What of the constants we talk about often is employee engagement. The more your employees believe in and buy into what you're doing, the more likely you are to succeed. Almost every organization is going to have changes to process and protocols that require communication and training.
If you've been shut down by health concerns and are planning on bringing employees back, the first day back is not the first time they should be hearing about your COVID-19 plans. So have a plan to communicate with employees before they come back. Solicit feedback from employees
as well. So the best ideas in workplace safety come from people working in the shop, on the line, on the warehouse floor.
Ideas that might look great on paper might not work out so well in practice. So remember, that's not a reason to give up on the safety practice. It's just a time to rethink, retool, and try again. Joe talked about it earlier, there are some controls we have learned through engineering, and others are going to take a daily commitment from employees.
That's why we also need leaders to get involved and model the way. Those new requirements for protection or safe work practices, leaders have to be seen embracing these changes.
RENEE LAWSON: So thank you. We've been talking about reopening in terms of interrupting or minimizing the transmission of the virus. So with respect to that, let's move into our fourth step, which is help. So my next question is for Joe. What should a company consider from a health perspective?
JOE DAVID: One of the most important aspects is cleaning and disinfection of the work environment. To help reduce the transmission pathway, regular and frequent cleaning and disinfection based on CDC guidelines is a key. To cleaning recommended by the CDC as a first step only uses soap and water to physically remove dirt from surfaces. While cleaning may not kill all the germs, it lowers the risk of spreading infection and primes the surfaces and objects for disinfection.
Photo of woman cleaning.
Disinfection actually refers to the cleaning up shared high-touch areas on a scheduled basis using an N-listed EPA disinfectant in accordance with manufacturer's instruction. Shared high-touch points include light switches, door handles, elevator buttons, shared workspaces, shared tools,
and shared equipment.
Cleaning and disinfection should be concentrated in the high-touch areas and common areas. These areas can include entryways, lobbies, hallways, break rooms, and restrooms. The CDC offers detailed steps for properly cleaning and disinfecting facilities. Also on construction sites we need to consider job trailers or other temporary spaces that may need cleaning and disinfection daily and make provision for portable wash station and other disinfection supplies around the job site.
Note that the frequency of cleaning and disinfection should be increased proportionally with the number of persons in the space and the frequency of contact with these surface. Another thing to note is we need to empower and equip our employees to clean and disinfect their workspaces, tools, or shared equipment.
For example, if you have shared pallet jacks in a warehouse, shared forklifts in a warehouse, shared copiers in an office, or shared printers. So employees should be empowered to clean these before and after use. And also, we should consider removing unnecessary items from the spaces so that they do not need to be cleaned or disinfected. For instance, the community coffee makers, if we're not using them, why don't we remove them from the facility?
Some other items to consider, too, is now we are introducing a new task in the workplace, the cleaning and disinfection of the work areas. So now we want to consider these options and determine, do we need to wear appropriate PPE based on the setting and the product we are using for disinfection? We need to ensure that workers are trained on the hazards of the cleaning chemicals used in the workplace in accordance with the OSHA hazard communication standard.
Also, most importantly, we need to follow the manufacturer's instructions for all cleaning and disinfection products relating to concentration, application method, and contact time to kill the virus.
RENEE LAWSON: OK, so I'm hearing a lot about health questionnaires and things like that. So for this question I'm going to go to both of our panelists again. To Joe and Chris, can you give me more? Can you tell me how this works? Maybe give us some examples.
JOE DAVID: Sure. Before implementing specific procedures for medical-- or health screening, you should check on applicable federal, state, and local guidelines in addition to consulting with your medical providers and legal counsel. But screening employees is an optional strategy and an effort to reduce potential transmission points from the individuals.
Some practices or screening employees or visitors and vendors may include questionnaires for employees to self-report on temperature. Employees can be asked to take their own temperature either before coming to the workplace or upon arrival at the workplace. Self-reporting of symptoms such as cough, shortness of breath, and others as defined by the CDC is another option. Also, self-reporting of contact with COVID-positive individuals and on any international or domestic travel to areas with community spread is also another option. However, the most protective methods will still incorporate social distancing and/or physical barriers to eliminate or minimize the exposure pathways.
CHRIS HAYES: Renee, one of the key ideas that managers can support is the idea that every individual in a workplace has a higher level of personal responsibility. Not just for their own health, but the health of their coworkers as well. So as Joe described, a daily self-assessment is it means for everyone to gauge their own readiness to come to work.
RENEE LAWSON: So we've talked about a lot of ideas and controls. My next question is also for the both of you. What would all of this look like in a specific setting? Say a manufacturing environment.
CHRIS HAYES: Manufacturing is a great example for us to talk about. So as we look at what we've covered so far with the PATH model, the first step is to plan. In this case, we would review the different types of operations and see how exposures to disease transmission would change from job to job.
A manufacturer might have an office staff, a production floor, warehouse, perhaps even a transportation group. Each has different levels of interaction with the public, with coworkers, and they interact differently with different surfaces, like vehicles, machinery, or a coffee maker.
JOE DAVID: Well, with the manufacturing organization that Chris presented, we have really four different groups to consider. We have office personnel, manufacturing personnel, warehouse personnel, and drivers.
CHRIS HAYES: So once we have that group of employees well-understood and understand what their exposures are, we move on to Act, which we'll look at different controls that will need to be in place for each of these different operations. Some administrative controls could be in place over the entire organization, such as limiting or rerouting foot traffic between production, warehouse, and the office. Others might be very specific, like a mechanical lifting device to reduce the need for two-person lifts.
Photos of work spaces with PATH diagram.
JOE DAVID: Yeah, and each of these workgroups may also require different actions to help achieve proper physical distancing and methods that interrupt the transmission pathways. In the office area, we can consider reducing occupancy by using the work-from-home option. We can also have alternative seating to maintain separation distance of six foot. We can also develop a flow pattern to, again, to stress that six-foot distance of separation. And we could eliminate shared services, like Chris discussed, like this coffee makers.
In production, we can also reduce occupancy, but in this case, the work-from-home option is not viable. In this case we can move to staggered work shifts. Also, in case the six-foot distance and cannot be achieved, barriers the separate employees are an option. We also need to review work tasks, especially those that require close interaction between several people.
In the warehouse, we can also reduce occupancy by stacking work shifts, but we can also try to reduce shared equipment such as forklifts or pallet jacks. Also, flow patterns can help maintain that six-foot distance of separation. We can also maintain a location for outside drivers or use barriers to keep them separated from our employees.
Now when we consider drivers, We've got to understand what the customer requirements are. Our drivers leave our site and head to a third-party facility, so we must understand what their requirements are. But also we gotta to consider, we have shared vehicles so we may have to have an increased frequency of disinfection.
CHRIS HAYES: So Renee, as you can hear, there's a lot of pieces to this depending on who we're going to be talking to. So communication and employee engagement is going to be key. So at this point we move on to the Train part of the PATH system. So some education training would be specific to individual jobs, but the overall message of supporting employee health by reducing the risk of disease transmission is something that can be supported by top management and communicated to all employees.
JOE DAVID: Excellent, Chris. The message really may be a little different for each of the specific groups you mentioned, but a company-wide communication is a best practice. We need to train on the controls and reasons for these controls in place and the protocols being used. These should be addressed prior to the entry, ongoing throughout the process, and also we should address the need for signage to remind employees of our procedures and protocols and the importance of such things as hand sanitizing.
CHRIS HAYES: And the hand sanitizing takes us to the last piece of this, which is Health. And we really need to adjust for the ongoing health efforts through things like health screening that we discussed earlier and consistent and active disinfection programs.
JOE DAVID: Yes. And the key point here is that the increased frequency of cleaning and disinfection and the provisions to maintain proper hygiene are very much key. And also as an option, we can consider optional health screenings.
CHRIS HAYES: So Renee, these are just a few of the ideas that Joe and I came up with talking about a single manufacturing environment. What's interesting is that these are things we just came up with in a few minutes of discussion. As we discussed in the beginning of this presentation, the core principles of safety and risk management really apply very well to reduce the risk of COVID-19 transmission in the workplace.
So there's no one single path through this, but going back to that PATH structure and looking at the hierarchy of controls can really help you figure out how to apply those principles to today's challenges.
Text, Thank you.
RENEE LAWSON: I just want to thank both Joe and Chris for giving us some really good information. Before we wrap this up, I wanted to say that moving forward, planning and communication are going to be essential. In times of crisis, there are two directions that human nature can take you-- fear and helplessness or confidence and engagement. And on the latter, if leaders have a clear path forward, people are amazingly resilient.
On behalf of all of us at Travelers, thank you for your time and attention to this very important and challenging issue. If you would like more information, please go to our website at travelers.com, contact your agent or broker, or if you are a Travelers client, contact your risk control consultant.