Global Public Health Experts Focus on Arkansas Manufacturers to Help Minimize COVID-19 Risks

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Global Public Health Experts Focus

Global Public Health Experts Focus on Arkansas Manufacturers to Help Minimize COVID-19 Risks

With funding from Arkansas Manufacturing Solutions (AMS), small and midsize manufacturers can get initial assessments of their COVID-19 risks at no cost

Arkansas Manufacturing Solutions (AMS) is hosting an informational webinar on September 2 for small to mid-size manufacturing firms interested in minimizing the risk of COVID-19 outbreaks in their facilities. During the webinar, public health experts from consumer safety leader NSF International will share tips and guidance for manufacturers concerned about minimizing the virus that causes COVID-19 in the workplace.

DATE: Wednesday, September 2, 2020

TIME: 10 a.m. Central

REGISTRATION: Register online

The webinar will also provide details about an AMS-funded program that provides small to midsize Arkansas manufacturers with no-cost initial assessments of their COVID-19 risks. NSF is one of three organizations approved to offer the AMS-funded assessments.

“An initial assessment of the workplace is the first step in ensuring you have the appropriate COVID-19 controls in place,” said Paul Medeiros, Managing Director of NSF International’s Consulting, Training and Technical Services group. “There’s no shortage of guidance from public health authorities. People are swimming in guidance, but they need help to operationalize guidance and applying it to their own unique workplaces.”

Small and midsize manufacturers can face unique challenges when it comes to protecting their employees and customers during the pandemic. In these businesses, even a small outbreak can dramatically reduce production, or cause a complete facility shutdown, due to isolation requirements when workers are exposed to the virus.

“Even if a manufacturer has already taken steps to deal with COVID-19 in the workplace, a free assessment from independent experts can provide additional confidence in the steps taken,” said Candy Burris of Arkansas Economic Development Commission Manufacturing Solutions (AEDC-MS). “Often, the assessment will provide additional perspective and observations that the manufacturer can use to fine-tune and reinforce initiatives meant to safeguard the workforce, products, and customers.”

NSF is currently assessing and developing COVID-19 prevention and reopening plans for businesses and workplaces around the world – from iconic fast-food restaurants and popular hotel chains to office buildings, manufacturing facilities, and museums. Locations that successfully create and fully implement a COVID-19 stay-open program will be included in NSF’s online registry and granted permission to post the Checked by NSF™ signage on-site.

A QR code on the signage helps employees and customers understand the program and validate ongoing participation. Compliance checks can be performed on-site, remotely, or through self-assessments using the new Checked by NSF™ app. Diligent monitoring serves as a constant reminder to employees and business partners that the organization is committed to their safety and job security –taking concrete steps to minimize virus risks and stay open during the pandemic.

“COVID-19 is new, but infection control and good hygiene requirements are not. NSF has been doing this sort of public health and safety work for 75 years,” Medeiros said.

NSF International (nsf.org) is an independent, global organization that facilitates standards development, and tests and certifies products for the food, water, health sciences, and consumer goods industries to minimize adverse health effects and protect the environment. Founded in 1944, NSF is committed to protecting human health and safety worldwide. With operations in 180 countries, NSF International is a Pan American Health Organization/World Health Organization (WHO) Collaborating Center on Food Safety, Water Quality, and Indoor Environment.

Arkansas Manufacturing Solutions (AMS) is a program of the Arkansas Economic Development Commission (AEDC), which was established in 1995 and is now an affiliate of the National Institute of Standards and Technology Manufacturing Extension Partnership (NIST MEP) to provide manufacturing extension services to Arkansas manufacturers.

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