BIA urges governor to revamp reopening guidelines for New Hampshire manufacturers
‘One size fits all guidelines simply do not work in the manufacturing sector,’ it says
New Hampshire businesses, and especially manufacturers, should only have to follow recommended safety guidelines to reopen or stay open if they think they are practical, according to the Business and Industry Association of New Hampshire.
In a far-reaching letter to Gov. Chris Sununu and members of the Governor’s Economic Re-Opening Task Force, the BIA said the guidelines issued Monday had “little or any input from manufacturers” and are “simply not feasible for every manufacturer.”
The BIA has formed its own working group to recommend “fixes” to the guidelines. They consist of adding words like “if practicable” or “if feasible” to many of the task force’s recommendations, which were adopted from recommendations from the Center for Disease Control.
The letter was issued on the same day that the Associated Press reported the White House shelved the CDC’s recommendation to the states on reopening the economy.
Manufacturers have voluntarily taken into account many of these recommendations, but these new guidelines ”turn many of these recommendations into requirements for all businesses, forcing manufacturers who have successfully prevented the spread of Covid-19 at their workplaces to take extra, often unnecessary precautions,” the letter said, adding that “one size fits all guidelines simply do not work in the manufacturing sector.”
The result would be that manufacturers that have been successful at preventing the spread of the virus will be forced to “take extra, often unnecessary precautions,” the letter said.
Here is a comparison of some of the task force’s guidelines and the changes the BIA would recommend:
Task force: Employers should take the temperatures of their employees on-site with a non-touch thermometer each day upon the employees arrival at work
BIA: If practicable, employers should take the temperatures of their employees on site with a non-touch thermometer each [day] as soon as practicable.”
Task force: Employers must strongly promote frequent hand hygiene and alcohol-based hand sanitizer must be made readily available”
BIA: Encourage frequent hand hygiene and provide access to hand washing stations and alcohol based hand sanitizer.
Task force: Employers must reduce the risk to employees in the workplace by supporting the use of cloth face coverings in areas where social distancing is difficult to maintain.
BIA: If practicable, employees should wear face coverings over their nose and mouth and/or gloves when at work and around others in settings where social distancing may be difficult
Task force: Adjust manufacturing processes to build in social distancing and maintain a safe distance of at least 6 feet between employees. Whenever feasible, in accordance with social distancing protocols, erect impermeable barriers to limit contact with others.
BIA: If feasible, adjust manufacturing processes to build in social distancing and maintain a distance of at least 6 feet between employees. If not feasible, use other workplace controls to reduce exposure between employees, such as physical barriers.