Andy Balaskovitz highlighted D+M Metal Products in a MiBiz article about changing requirements in the workplace due to the coronavirus. The State of Michigan is reopening our economy in phases and requiring that employers implement safety measures designed to ensure that workers are protected. Included in those measures are workplace health screenings.
Workplace Health Screenings
D+M Metal never closed due to the pandemic. We were designated an essential business early on due to the fact that we make parts necessary for a variety of useful products, including ones produced in the healthcare sector. However, that doesn’t mean that it was “business as usual” for us. In the past 70 days we have transitioned our plant and our processes to keep workers as safe as possible while they do their jobs and become compliant with executive orders Gov. Gretchen Whitmer signed when she allowed the manufacturing sector to reopen. Executive Order 2020-77 mandates that manufacturers:
“[C]onduct a daily entry screening protocol for workers, contractors, suppliers, and any other individuals entering a worksite, including a questionnaire covering symptoms and suspected or confirmed exposure to people with possible COVID-19, together with, if possible, a temperature screening.”
We are meeting this requirement for workplace health screenings by staggering when our workers arrive so that they can take time to answer the questionnaire. They enter our building during one of our four shifts between 5:30 and 7:30 AM, and they must report how they are feeling as well as have their temperatures checked. It’s a very brief process. Limiting how many people are on one shift removes the potential for bottlenecks during arrivals.
What do we do with the data we collect? We send it to local health officials in hopes that they will use it to track, predict, and prevent future outbreaks of coronavirus so that health and society will be protected. None of the data we submit contains identifying information.
We are participating in this program with Meijer, Cascade Engineering, and many other Kent County businesses. The work that has been done to make the health screenings quick, simple, and painless is a help to smaller businesses like D+M Metal that do not have the time or the resources to create health screenings from scratch.
Moving Forward beyond COVID-19
Gov. Whitmer opened up two large geographical sections of Michigan for retail and hospitality last week. Many people believe that West Michigan can’t be too far behind, especially with the numbers of new cases and hospitalizations dropping. However, reopening will have complications too. In the beginning of this pandemic, no one knew what we’re dealing with, but, as time has passed, it’s easier to understand what it means for individuals and also businesses.
It’s likely that we will see safety precautions implemented and continued into 2021. Some of them may change. Daily health screenings may not be necessary after some time has passed, or they might temporarily disappear and then return later, such as in the fall and winter.
Challenging or not, these changes seem to be here to stay for now. It’s been our experience that health screenings and other cautionary measures can be implemented without too much workplace disruption. These problems can be solved, it just takes patience and perseverance. We would like to thank Andy Balaskovitz for taking the time to interview us and include our experience in his article about West Michigan businesses tackling the coronavirus.