Canadian Underwriter

What you’ll need to think about when re-opening

June 30, 2020   by Adam Malik

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While maintaining employee safety is critical, there are other areas of your business that require diligent attention before re-opening, explained Hub International’s risk leader.

With re-opening taking place across the country after the COVID-19 pandemic forced many to close, a business’ day-to-day operations going forward will need to change compared to what they were before the World Health Organization declared the novel coronavirus a pandemic on March 11, Scott Fouts, vice president of risk services at Hub, said during a webinar hosted by the brokerage, Workplace Safety: Employer Obligations and Best Practices.

Like your brokerage, suppliers and vendors are going through their own safety protocols and even a limited number of staff to keep in line with physical distancing guidelines. So if you depend on monthly deliveries of certain items, you may want to loosen your demands and order enough to last you longer.

“So understanding that you’ve been ordering products and supplies two weeks, 30 days out in the past — you may want to make sure that’s pushed out to 60 or 90 days, giving them time to make sure that they can provide the much-needed services to you. And vice versa,” Fouts said. “You need to start that open communication with some of your vendors and suppliers or anyone else that has to do with moving your products to and from.”

The physical locations of many brokerages and commercial clients have been stagnant for months, meaning contractors are probably needed to get the location up and running in proper working order, Fouts pointed out, including facility management, equipment and fleet. Again, they’re following their own set of protocols, so working with them well ahead of time is essential to ensure doors can open sooner rather than later. “They also have protocols to come to the place of your business.”

“You need to start that open communication with some of your vendors and suppliers or anyone else that has to do with moving your products to and from.”

Give thought to how your brokerage will handle deliveries as well. Packages or letters being received are touchpoints and could create possible transmission of the virus.

“You need to have a drop zone for your facility, whether it’s an office, manufacturing, hospitality, restaurant — it really doesn’t matter,” Fouts said. “All those types of delivery companies that are dropping things off, have a drop area [for them].”

The “drop area” should be cleaned and disinfected regularly. And packages should be cleaned and disinfected before being brought into the business.

“Understanding where those deliveries are going to be, where those touchpoints are going to be, as well as communicating that to your delivery folks — that’s another opportunity to understand who’s coming into your facility, what their protocols and procedures are and making sure their employees are healthy and safe,” Fouts said.

Scheduling will become a critical job function — whether it’s scheduling when employees are in the office, visitors will be coming and going and deliveries.

“There’s going to be a lot of scheduling, again, knowing there’s going to be a lot of strain on everyone else’s operations trying to get back to full operation,” Fouts said.


Feature image by Victorero

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