Many companies are still refining how they’ll safely bring employees back to the office. Yet not every business can operate with a 100 percent remote workforce. For some, essential employees need to be onsite at all times. Ampirical is one of those businesses.
An Inc. 5000 company, Ampirical provides electrical transmission, distribution and engineering services, and construction. These essential businesses support investor-owned utilities, municipalities, rural cooperatives, and industrial clients throughout the U.S. spanning Arkansas, California, Florida, Georgia, Louisiana, Mississippi, North Carolina, Pennsylvania, and Texas.
Since Ampirical is in the electrical transmission business, safety is the one area where risks and compromise aren’t tolerated. Long before COVID-19, the company established and enforced the highest levels of safety for employees, contractors, and customers.
Refining safety protocols through technology
When the COVID-19 pandemic first hit, Ampirical, like many companies, initiated policies for onsite employees based on CDC guidelines. Employees reporting to the office were not allowed to enter without first having their temperatures taken. After the temperature check, employees used to answer COVID-19 related health questions that were presented in a .pdf document. Employees submitted their responses via email to their supervisor and the company’s Health, Safety and Environment manager. If temperature readings and the answers to health screening questions were at acceptable levels, the employee was allowed to enter work. It wasn’t long before the daily PDF check-ins got unwieldy as mountains of files were hard to quickly comb through for contact tracing.
Now, Ampirical uses a system developed by RMS Omega Healthcare. Their standalone unit takes employee temperatures and connects the data to HR and building security. It also offers facial recognition so that employees and visitors can be tracked to the point of entry, which is critical if they are showing COVID-19 symptoms.
The financial impact of COVID-19 and OSHA regulations
While contact tracing is critical to helping stop the spread of COVID-19 and keeping employees safe and healthy, it also plays an important role in organizations that must comply with OSHA regulations.
Any COVID-19 case that can be traced to a work environment will be considered by OSHA as a recordable event. If employees are out sick due to contracting the coronavirus at work, their lost time may also be recorded. For many companies, this could be catastrophic.
If OSHA Total Recordable Incident Rate (TRIR) and Days Away or Transfer (DART) rate exceed a certain number, the company won’t be allowed to bid on work – even with existing clients. Ampirical estimates this could result in millions of dollars in lost revenue.
Touchless check-in app supports contact tracing, health screenings
While Ampirical’s initial approach to ensuring the safety and health of employees entering the office or a construction site met all the necessary guidelines, it was nearly impossible to use the health screening information for any meaningful insight, especially contact tracing. There was simply too much paperwork involved.
This is what led the company’s Health, Safety and Environment Manager, Rod Courtney, to Safe Site Check In, a touchless app that streamlines the employee and visitor check-in process. When employees and visitors arrive at an Ampirical site, they point their smartphone at a QR-coded poster hanging at the entrance to work. They answer COVID-19 related health questions based on local and national directives, and are immediately notified if they are approved or denied access. HR and supervisors are instantly notified if there’s a risk of the coronavirus at work. Since all health information remains on the employee’s smartphone, personal health information is protected.
Safe Site Check In supports contact tracing, allowing Ampirical to alert employees and visitors about potential exposure to COVID-19, while complying with HIPAA requirements and minimizing the risk of violating OSHA regulations for optimal health and safety at work.
Additionally, Safe Site Check In supports multiple languages and custom check-in questions. Since it doesn’t require IT, any HR or Administrator can quickly set up a dedicated check-in area. This makes the app easy to bring into the workflow of a company as employees return to the office.
According to Courtney, “Ampirical has taken the position that our employees’ health and safety is our number one core value. We will not operate in an environment where employees are put at risk. While it is hard to see into the future, I believe temperature taking and medical self-checks will be around for a long time.”
Using the RMS Omega Healthcare system with Safe Site Check In provides Ampirical with a comprehensive and trackable way to ensure employees and visitors are working in a safe and healthy environment. “We’ll continue to rely on these tools for the foreseeable future,” Courtney added.