Unique Safety Measures At HCCB Factories Amidst The Pandemic
HCCB introduced a concept of working in small independent groups to prevent transmission of COVID-19 among people in its factories. This was implemented essentially to minimise human contacts and help immediately identify and isolate employees with exposure to any COVID-19 case. The small groups were carefully formed to make each one of them self-sufficient thus eliminating any need for criss-crossing of individuals from one group to the other. This was part of the several unique safety measures implemented by the company to ensure complete safety of its employees and other partners working in all the factories spread across 15 locations in India.
To begin with HCCB carried out a detailed risk assessment of its factories and identified hot spots where people are likely to come face to face for specific activities. The company also instilled mandatory work from home for all office-based staff who are not required to be physically present in factories. As a preventive measure, the company redesigned the work and rerouted the workflow to minimise people contact at all these vulnerable points. A case in point was the special cubicles created for the security staff posted at all the factory gates. Working as a barrier, the covered enclosure helped the security guard take the temperature of every individual entering the factory premise without any physical exposure to anyone. The company also made it mandatory for people working in all the hot spots to wear additional personal protective equipment such as face shields and hand gloves.
Besides, HCCB abolished the general shifts, revised standard operating practices (SOPs) wherever necessary, introduced staggered timings with provision for social distancing in canteens, restricted number of people in personal or official vehicles, and created separate gates for people to enter and leave the factories as a one-way flow to further minimise people contact. Apart from ensuring regular sanitization and deep cleaning of the entire factory premises, the company also created clearly-defined floor signages in all walking and operating areas to further help people maintain social distancing. In addition to strict sanitisation protocols for employees entering sensitive processing areas, HCCB added a provision for foot pedals and door steps in most door handles across all factories to prevent any possibility of contraction of germs.
HCCB also introduced an APP that encourages the employees to provide a daily update on their health conditions. The App keeps the employees informed of all the COVID-19 related policies and preventive measures as the situation unfolds. Among other measures, HCCB implemented facilities to spray all vehicles and goods entering the factory premises with disinfectant. Additionally, every factory identified isolation rooms for people showing any COVID-19 related symptoms as per the Government protocol. The company also issued guidelines to discourage any work-related travel or in-person meeting with any individual, colleagues or visitors, inside the factories. To further reinforce its commitment to safety of people, the company operated its factories with a bare minimum capacity with even less manpower than the government approved strength to further minimise human contacts.
Commenting on the significance of safety measures at factories, G.S. Raghu, Vice President, Health, Safety & Wellness, HCCB, said, “There’s a clear mandate in our company that nothing is more important than the life of our people and partners including customers, suppliers and community. We are committed to make every effort to not only comply with the strict personal hygiene protocols of wearing face masks, hand sanitising and social distancing norms prescribed by the Government but also implement several additional measures required to further mitigate the risks of transmission.”
Building on the preventive steps taken, HCCB designed and deployed a method for carrying out internal virtual safety audit of its factories. One such audit was being executed by Global Audit Organisation, a separate entity of the Coca-Coca System. Among other confidence building measures, HCCB ensured that the treatment for COVID-19 was covered under the company’s employee insurance scheme.