How Foundries are Dealing with COVID-19

Non-ferrous foundries are considered essential workplaces by the Department of Homeland Security according to the guidance issued by the Cybersecurity & Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA). Accordingly, most non-ferrous foundries continue to operate during the COVID-19 pandemic and economic shutdown. While non-ferrous foundries are deeply concerned about their employees’ health, it can be difficult to figure out HOW to comply with social distancing and other requirements. 

NFFS interviewed a group of member foundries to determine what they are doing to protect their employees, and we have consolidated their feedback into the following list of ideas for you to consider. Please note that not all suggestions are suitable for all types of facilities. You should consider each topic listed below, and how it might apply to your own particular operations. Foundries are also encouraged to review the guidance available from OSHA, the CDC and their local health department as they develop their own internal safety protocols to address the COVID-19 virus.

  • Only essential employees are allowed to continue working. Office employees should work from home whenever possible;
  • Delivery drivers and other visitors may not enter the facility. Place a portable restroom outside near the shipping docks for drivers and visitors to use;
  • Place hand washing stations and hand sanitizer at each entrance to the building, and require employee use prior to entry;
  • Take employee temperatures prior to entering the building, and refuse entry to any employee who has a fever above 100°F or demonstrates other COVID-19 infection symptoms. Employees must also assess their own physical well-being every morning and report to management any symptoms consistent with COVID-19 infection;
  • Employees must remain six feet apart at all times whenever possible. Remove enough tables and chairs from the lunch room and break areas to ensure employees can remain at least six feet apart. The goal should be to eliminate any direct contact between employees;
  • Stagger your shift start times to help maintain a six-foot spread between employees at the time clock, in the shower rooms and in the break and lunch areas;
    Supervisor’s offices are limited to supervisors only, and only office personnel should be permitted in the office areas. Limit capacity in these areas to ensure the six-foot distancing rule remains in effect;
  • Place one-way signs in common areas with more than one entrance in order to mitigate employee interaction at doorways and in storage aisles;
  • Face masks must be worn at all times other than eating and emergencies, or when wearing the face mask interferes with other required PPE such as wearing a respirator;
  • Employees must clean their own work and break areas with bleach daily and after each use, including tables, chairs, microwaves, refrigerators and other common surfaces;
  • Maintain sufficient inventories of respirators and respirator cartridges, gloves, and other safety gear to ensure availability of necessary personal protective equipment for employees. Some items now have long lead times, so make sure you plan accordingly;
  • All incoming materials shall be handled with gloves;
  • Suspend all employee travel, and permit only essential travel that MUST be conducted in person. Substitute travel with video conferencing whenever possible.