COVID-19: OUR RESPONSE

Safety Protocols and Continuity Planning in Response to COVID-19

Safety Protocols and Continuity Planning in Response to COVID-19

These are the business continuity and contingency plans that ET Group is implementing during the Covid-19 pandemic.  ET Group will work with our customers and partners to provide service during this time of extreme disruption.  Our plans are fluid and reflect our best knowledge at this time. We will update our plans with new processes as we learn and adapt to customer requirements and emerging situations.

CEO, ET Group
Dirk Propfe

ET Group takes pride in the design, workmanship, and service of our workplace technology installations while building strong long-term relationships with our customers. Our quality standards are amongst the highest in our industry thanks to our highly engaged and dedicated staff.

ET Group is pleased to address immediate concerns communicated by our customers for their projects, service requirements as to our risk mitigation and contingency strategy for COVID-19.

For clarity, ET Group cannot assume responsibility for:

  • Manufacturer repair response
  • Providing replacement equipment in the event of supply channel disruptions

Below is a compilation of our Contingency Plan Level Definitions based on Best Practices gleamed from partners and affiliate organizations. Activities from a lower level may supplement an upper level. For example the creation of a Webex Team channel for group communication will be used to communicate to all ET Group employees during all Contingency Plan Levels.

Currently seventy-five percent of ET Group employees work remotely and collaborate utilizing our company Webex Teams application. We are ensuring newly added Work From Home (WFH) team members have access to the equipment and knowledge to collaborate effectively. We are working to ensure we have the best practices to ensure success and continuity of operations.

Level 1 (Standard Operations):

  • Vigilant monitoring of any risk to the safety of our teams.
  • Consistent use of healthy hygiene habits and practices to prevent the spread of COVID-19 and other respiratory illnesses like influenza.
  • Stay home when you are sick.
  • Cover your mouth and nose when coughing or sneezing.
  • Clean your hands.
  • Have Hand Sanitizers available in key areas of the office.
  • Post in key areas of the office reminder on “Good Hand Washing Practices.”
  • Avoid touching eyes, nose, or mouth.
  • Practice other good health and wellness habits: staying active, managing your stress, drinking plenty of fluids, eat and sleep well.
  • Create a Webex Team channel to provide sharing of information employee’s experiences. This also includes regular updates from PHAC (Public Health Agency of Canada), WHO (World Health Organization), and PHO (Public Health of Ontario) regularly updates their recommendations here.

Level 2 (Restricted Travel):

  • ET Group team members will not be travelling to CDC identified hot spots and Canadian travel advisories.
  • We will be monitoring PHAC travel advisories will post it on the Webex Team Channel.
  • ET Group will make any travel adjustment in accordance to PHAC travel advisories.
  • ET Group Team members will be ready to deliver work remotely internally and with clients, to remain responsive to changing conditions; we will ensure clients know we are flexible and ready to work in ways that keep us all safer.

Level 3 (Escalated Precautions)

  • Disinfect common areas i.e. Kitchen multiple times a day.
  • Wiping down the hotelling desk after each use with antiviral cleaning solution.
  • Encourage team members to wipe down their desk area on a regular basis.
  • Remove all shared technology devices such as keyboards and mouse and encourage anyone who is using the hotel desk to bring their own technology devices.
  • At every meetings’ check in, to remind each other to avoid touching our own faces.
  • Encourage the use of virtual meetings rather than in-person meetings (both Internal and external).
  • Implement recommended self-quarantine practices for anyone that believes they may be at risk of being infected due to their own movement and contact in work and home-life.
  • Taking laptops home nightly to ensure that they can work from home if needed.
  • No handshakes. No hugs. Look for creative non-touching ways of greeting one another. A toe-tap or bow are fun options. 🙂
  • Increase signage and messaging to reduce the risk of transmission (no handshakes, social distancing).

Level 4 (Extra Precautions):

  • All those who can work from home are to work from home.
  • Avoid close contact if you have to work in the office. Team members are encouraged to remain 2 meters apart.
  • Stop sharing of dishes and cutlery. Encourage everyone to bring their own.
  • Email to be sent out to all our key accounts to coordinate with them.
  • All client meetings, lunch and learn, social gatherings to be held remotely. If virtual meeting is not possible, please to cancel or reschedule.
  • All non-essential travel for work should be vetted by respective team Lead Links.
  • Ensure that Installers and Technicians have adequate equipment in their car just in case the office needs to shutdown.
  • The warehouse team to create a plan to transition key projects to alternative warehouse in case the office needs to shutdown.
  • In the event of a location-specific government or school-specific decision to close schools, ET Group recognizes that some parents will need additional accommodate. Please contact Mark Bystrek to discuss a solution. 
  • ET Group Team Members with children who are designated “at risk” because of a case of COVID-19 in their school are asked to remain at home, and if possible self-quarantine for 14 days.

Level 5 (Employee Infected with COVID-19):

While we are hopeful that with all of these precautions, we will avoid having an ET Group Team Member become infected, we need to also be prepared for the incidence of the disease in our team. If someone is diagnosed with COVID-19 we will initiate:

  • Mandatory work from home for the entire local office (14 days).
  • Notify respective property management and any cleaning staff who should avoid the office for 14 days.
  • Notify clients and vendors that an infection has occurred and the necessary steps have taken.
  • Closing the office and leaving the office uninhabited for 14 days or as recommended by local public health.
  • Ensuring signage is placed on entranceways to the office, informing people not to enter during decontamination.
  • Possible third-party sanitation of our offices if recommended by Toronto Public Health.
  • Gaining expert advice regarding reopening our offices.

Level 6 (Government Mandated Restrictions)

In the event of a location-specific government mandate, we may be required to close or only be allowed to work from home.

  • Lead Links, Controller and HR to meet to discuss the impact to the workforce and determine the next steps.

Level 3 (Escalated Precautions)

  • Disinfect common areas i.e. Kitchen multiple times a day.
  • Wiping down the hotelling desk after each use with antiviral cleaning solution.
  • Encourage team members to wipe down their desk area on a regular basis.
  • Remove all shared technology devices such as keyboards and mouse and encourage anyone who is using the hotel desk to bring their own technology devices.
  • At every meetings’ check in, to remind each other to avoid touching our own faces.
  • Encourage the use of virtual meetings rather than in-person meetings (both Internal and external).
  • Implement recommended self-quarantine practices for anyone that believes they may be at risk of being infected due to their own movement and contact in work and home-life.
  • Taking laptops home nightly to ensure that they can work from home if needed.
  • No handshakes. No hugs. Look for creative non-touching ways of greeting one another. A toe-tap or bow are fun options. 🙂
  • Increase signage and messaging to reduce the risk of transmission (no handshakes, social distancing).

Options

Option #1: Provide service where contracted and applicable.

  1. Determine Individual Client Status
  2. Understand customer requirements
  3. Suspend Onsite Project Implementations
  4. In locations where adequate “Social Distancing” can be facilitated, ET Group will determine if project work can/is to continue
  5. Continuance of ongoing design, CAD and Project Management activities that do not involve going to site

Option #2: Put all Service and Operations on Hold

Recommendation on Options

At this time it is recommended that Option 1 be adopted. This may change at any time as we monitor and adjust our activities based on direction from various governments and our leadership team.

Additional Considerations & Scenarios

  • For field service and support, ETG technicians may encounter safety issues for example insufficient “Social Distancing” at a clients facilities. In the event ET Technicians encounter onsite safety issues escalation to Lead Link is recommended.

Project FAQs

Q) What status does ET Group feels they are in at the moment (Klick Status Rating)?

A) Based on the Klick Status scale, ET Group classifies our status as Level 6.

  • 75 % of our staff already work from home prior to the COVID – 19 outbreak.
  • 95% of our employees have the necessary equipment to work remotely. The other 5% can work from our remote warehouse to allow us to continue to deliver equipment for projects and service
  • 100% of the employee who rely on Public Transport have the ability to seamlessly work from home.
  • We have no one who has travelled outside the country for business since November 2019.
  • We have no one who has travelled outside the country for pleasure since end of January 2020.
  • Any employee who plans to travel outside the country for pleasure or business is mandated to work from home for 2 weeks.

Q) What is ET Group doing to ensure projects are on schedule to meet the delivery date?

A) The following steps have been implemented to ensure our project delivery is on schedule:

  • Our PM and support staff have the ability to work from home
  • Our installers have equipment and supplies so that do not need to go to the office in the event we have to close the office.
  • Our warehouse can transition to our secondary warehouse to ensure timely delivery of equipment
  • We have an extensive list of sub-contractors who can assist as required.

Q) What if any risk or impact does the school closures have on ET Group ability to deliver?

A) There is no impact to the client because of the school closure. The employees that have challenges with childcare have been accommodated.

Q) What protocol will we have if an ETG team member is infected?

A) In the event one of our employees test positive with COVID–19 and they have been engaged in one of your projects or provided service at your location. ET Group would immediately contact you to communicate the positive result and possible exposure. We would inform the senior management of ET Group and follow the Ontario Public Health’s direction.

Service FAQs

Q) How will ET Group triage service request?

A) The ET Group Help Desk will triage service request by clarifying “Is a dispatch required”? If a dispatch is required, customer will be asked “ET Group is taking added precautions to keep our clients and employees safe during the COVID-19 outbreak. To your knowledge, has there been any incidents of Covid-19 exposure or anyone in self isolation at the site we are dispatching to?” A Technician will be dispatched if the response is “No”. If the Service Technician feels unsafe at any time during the service call, the Service Manager will be contacted for direction.

[Process to be finalized]

Q) How is ET Group managing unique customer requirements during COVID-19?

A) Our Service Team has reached out to a number of customer to identify their requirements. We have updated customer profiles to reflect this communication and all ongoing communication.

ET Group has developed the following questions and asks our clients to complete these to the best of their ability. Our team will assess the responses in an effort to evaluate the potential risk of our team members prior to their arrival for everyone’s mutual safety.

Q) Was anyone working within this location recently been diagnosed with COVID-19?

  • Has this location sanitized/decontaminated impacted areas?

Q) Will there be other persons in the proximity (same room) as our technicians will be working?

  • If yes how many team members will there be
  • Will the site be able to provide sufficient social distancing between team members at the location

Q) Has the site recently been cleaned to decontaminate surfaces in the areas being accessed by ET Group team?

Q) Are there facilities available to wash hands within the site that are accessible during our work efforts?

Q) Is the team keeping logs of entrances to the location for reference in the event of a positive test by a team member?

Q) Is there a communication strategy to notify team members that may have been exposed should a person test positive in the future?

Q) Are there any policies the ETG team needs to adhere to during their time on site that needs to be shared with our team? (ie shipping/receiving procedures that minimize risk for all parties when bringing equipment into location).

These Health and Safety guidelines are to be followed by ET Group employees and subcontractors to help protect everyone when going on a client site.

Health Protection Kits (HP)

There are HP kits available at the office and should be taken with you to the client site. They contain:

  • Disposable Rubber Gloves
  • Disinfectant Wipes
  • Hand Sanitizer
  • Bottle with anti-viral cleaning solution
  • Micro Fibre clothes
  • • Garbage Bag(s)

 

Key to Prevention:

  • Good Hygiene – Wash your hands properly using the proper washing techniques for a minimum of 20 seconds. ( Video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bQCP7waTRWU) On top of the recommended handwashing scenarios, you should also wash your hands when changing your work areas or leaving or entering a building. If hand washing is not an option, use the hand sanitizer.
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose and mouth with unwashed hands.
  • Physical Distancing – being at least 2

 

Gloves

Some may want to use gloves when working. You should know that gloves are not a substitute for proper hand hygiene. Below are some tips if you decide to wear gloves:

  • Gloves must be used in combination with handwashing.
  • Hands should always be washed and/or sanitized prior to putting on gloves and after taking gloves off.
  • Change gloves whenever you change work area and remember to remove gloves before touching your face.
  • Gloves should be thrown out and not used again once they have been taken off.

 

Cleaning Surface

Surfaces may contain the virus. It is strongly recommended that you wipe down the surface area or equipment prior to handling it with the cleaning solution found in the HP kit.

Note: A Virus is a protein protected by a coat of fat that can only be destroyed with substances such as 99.9% Isopropyl alcohol, chlorine/bleach amongst other solutions but not vinegar.

  • Spray the solution into the microfibre cloth before wiping down the surface/equipment (Note: Avoid spraying directly on equipment to avoid possible damage to the device being cleaned). Important: You should do a test swipe in a small area to avoid damaging the surface/equipment.
  • It is strongly recommended that you also wipe down all the electronic devices after you have finished handling equipment to leave the area sanitary for peers and colleagues. Also include cell phones and keys in this wipe down.

 

Masks

World Health Organization (WHO) is recommending that you should only use masks when taking care of a person with suspected COVID-19 infection or if you are coughing or sneezing. Note: There is no evidence that COVID-19 is transmitted through the airborne route. Based on this information we have decided not to provide masks in the HP at this time. We feel that it is important that masks are reserved for front line healthcare workers who are dealing with COVID-19.

Some clients or you may want to wear a mask. If you choose to use a mask, ensure that they are either surgical masks or N95 respirators. Here is the proper way to put it on

Other things to consider

  • You should clean up after you are done. Cleanliness is paramount. Put all your garbage in the garbage bag that is found in the HP kit.
  • Follow the client’s Health and Safety Policies/Guidelines on COVID – 19 along with ours.
  • To protect your family, you should wash your clothes and sanitize your keys and cell phone as soon as you get home.
  • You can use your elbows to press buttons or open door to help avoid touching surfaces.
  • Stay home if you are ill and let your PM know.
  • Remember, frequent hand washing, and physical distancing are your best defense.

 

Important

If at anytime you feel unsafe, under OH&S Act, you have the right to refuse to work. If that happens, please contact your PM to let him know of the situation and see if they can resolve the issue(s). If they are unable to resolve the issue, you can refuse to work and leave the site.

Note: This document is developed based on the information available at this time. As the available information is updated requirements outlined within our policies may be updated accordingly.

 

Important Links

Public Health Agency of Canada

Public Health Ontario

Public Health Ontario (PPE recommendations)

Ontario Ministry of Health

City of Toronto

World Health Organization

Our Recent Writings

Like what you see? See more posts.