Manufacturing industry offers new safety guidance in wake of COVID-19

by Talk Business & Politics staff ([email protected]) 392 views 

Manufacturers have released new guidance on operating safely amid the COVID-19 (coronavirus) pandemic as the U.S. Department of Energy seeks to boost manufacturing competitiveness through innovation.

The Manufacturing Leadership Council (MLC), a division of the National Association of Manufacturers, released Wednesday (May 20) a collection of strategies and operational practices that manufacturers are implementing to keep their employees safe and facilities operating. The New Operational Practices to Consider in the Time of COVID-19 include shared practices within the industry to help manufacturers as the economy moves from response to recovery and renewal.

“Manufacturers have been on the front lines throughout this crisis, and this guide leverages the experiences and real-world practices that manufacturers across America have put into place,” said Jay Timmons, president and CEO of the National Association of Manufacturers. “We’re all looking to get back to some sense of normalcy, but that’s not possible unless we can protect manufacturing workers. By collecting these practices, the MLC is helping all manufacturers continue to set high standards for protecting employees, families and communities, while creating products essential to our daily lives.”

Following are the shared practices in the guidance: Site access to mitigate exposure, workstation measures to promote social distancing, facilities and traffic management, shift and team design, leave policies, illness or diagnosis response, essential travel policies and returning nonessential workers.

The MLC compiled and shared these practices to help manufacturers that are working to meet or exceed recommendations from federal agencies while mitigating operational and business risks that aren’t included in those recommendations.

“Since this crisis began, the NAM has been working with Vice President Pence and the Coronavirus Task Force, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Occupational Safety and Health Administration and others to relay real-time information from our industry and to ensure manufacturers received the critical guidance they needed to operate safely,” said Todd Boppell, chief operating officer for the National Association of Manufacturers. “The MLC has also convened thousands of manufacturing leaders to share practices and develop new ideas for operating safely through this crisis. Manufacturers have come together to help each other and to help our country.”

The new guidance is not meant as legal, medical or regulatory advice. It’s also not a complete list of operational practices in response to COVID-19 but the most common best practices that have been provided to the National Association of Manufacturers.

Link here for the guidance report.

Also on Wednesday, the Department of Energy’s Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy announced a $67 million funding opportunity to stimulate technology innovation, improve energy productivity of U.S. manufacturing and support the production of cutting-edge products in the United States.

“As we move into the future, energy competitiveness is becoming increasingly critical to manufacturing competitiveness, and the Trump Administration is fully committed to securing U.S. leadership in manufacturing,” said Under Secretary of Energy Mark Menezes. “To create and sustain American leadership in advanced manufacturing, DOE is investing in new industrial technologies, materials and processes that will help bolster American manufacturing.”

Projects that will receive this funding will look to improve energy efficiency in energy-intensive processes and accelerate the transition to emerging, cost-competitive energy technologies in domestic production.

The following are the focus of the projects: Next-generation manufacturing processes that improve energy efficiency in energy-intensive and energy-dependent industries, including steel manufacturing; modular, hybrid or catalytic processes to improve energy efficiency in chemical manufacturing; and connected flexible and efficient manufacturing facilities, products and energy systems, including the integration of direct air capture at industrial facilities.

The Department of Energy plans to issue up to 33 awards. Industry partners must provide at least 20% of the funding for new research and development projects. Concept papers are due June 25.

Link here for information on the funding opportunities.

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