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Posts Tagged ‘COVID-19’

Garmat Innovates to Combat the COVID-19 Virus

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The headlines scream that we are facing a critical shortage of PPE in the fight against COVID, and that protecting our medical providers against contamination is of the utmost importance.  There is a call to manufacturers to innovate and help overcome this crisis, 3D printers around the country are churning out masks, to help fill the void.  Manufacturers are turning their factories into medical device fabricators. At Garmat we are joining the fight to help stop the COVID-19 epidemic, with a new idea, an idea that protects the medical provider while saving PPE.

Garmat USA is a leading U.S. based manufacturer of Paint Booths and Refinish Equipment. Our company is well versed in innovation, and we possess agile manufacturing processes that allow for easy product customizations.  This led us to research ideas to help fight the COVID-19 crisis.

The core of our business is providing a clean environment through containment, which includes expertise in airflow and differential pressure.  We are leveraging that expertise to support the battle against COVID-19, and the development of the COVID-19 Walk-Up Testing Booth. This product was developed from start to finish in less than six days, and we know that getting it out the door is critical, so we focused all of our attention on the development.

The availability of safe and rapid testing is one of the most critical tools in the fight against COVID-19. In the weeks and months ahead, both the number of tests and availability of testing sites will need to grow exponentially. We believe Garmat’ s innovative COVID-19 Walk-Up Testing Booth developed by Garmat entrepreneur, Johan Huwaert, enables a rapid and effective rollout of testing sites. This solution saves PPE and protects the provider while providing a more efficient way to test masses of individuals.

Current testing methods are flawed when it comes to testing the masses of individuals in the months ahead. For example, in the medical office, when a patient is suspected of having the COVID-19 Virus, the medical provider must have on PPE. Most of these of the cases come back negative – so the PPE is wasted. Testing stations in Colorado provide Drive Through operations, which are unsafe, time-consuming, and not viable for those without access to transportation.

South Korea has been very proactive in testing its citizens for COVID-19, which has led to a lower number of cases and deaths. One hospital in Seoul has set up four walk-up booths outside the hospital for patients to enter for testing. Before the development of these booths, patients were treated in large negative pressure rooms that took a long time to disinfect. The innovation to “individual patient,” walk-up phone booth testing made processing ten times faster, allowing for more patients testing each day. It also reduced the amount of personal protective gear required by healthcare workers to perform the tests. The patient-centered booth in South Korea has one major drawback – it still requires a fulsome disinfection process after each patient.

Brigham & Women’s hospital in Boston designed a 3-sided plexiglass version, an improvement over the S Korea booth, as it  placed the healthcare provider inside, minimizing the surface area and time required for disinfection.  Garmat’s latest innovation advances Brigham’s version to provide additional protection for healthcare workers by fully enclosing the booth and applying positive airflow pressure, forcing contaminants from the interior of the booth.

The size and convenience of these walk-up style testing booths would allow for testing outside hospitals, urgent care centers, pharmacies, airports, universities, and major sporting venues. Garmat has ample production capacity in its Colorado manufacturing facility. Units can be shipped fully assembled on a standard pallet – install is as simple as placing the unit and plugging into a power source.

Garmat USA is America’s leading manufacturer of paint booths serving auto collision repair and industrial refinishing customers. Read more at the Garmat USA website. We are concerned about the spread of this virus and would like to do what we can help keep our families and communities safe. We know stopping the spread is vital, and protection for the provider is paramount.

Employment Issues Relating to COVID-19

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We have located a resource that we believe you will find useful in answering many of the important questions you are facing right now as an employer.

A regular speaker at our HD Repair Forum, employment attorney, Cory J. King, shares some good news – Automotive supply and repair and heavy duty collision repair in particular, is considered an “essential service,” supporting the critical transportation infrastructure in most, if not all, areas of the United States. This means that heavy duty collision repairers may continue operations while of course, complying with other federal, state, and local orders regarding social distancing, group sizes, etc.

Mr. King’s firm, FordHarrison LLP, has created a special Coronavirus Task Force to assist employers through the labyrinth of new and constantly changing laws, orders, and regulations affecting their workplace. Earlier this week, thousands of employers from around the world participated in a webinar conducted by that Task Force.

The webinar covered the main issues employers are facing amid the COVID-19 pandemic and discussed best practices to help organizations mitigate the associated employment law risks.  A link to that webinar, as well as around the clock access to the firm’s extensive resources and materials, which are being updated several times a day to stay current, are designed to help employers through this pandemic and is available on the FordHarrison Coronavirus Task Force webpage.

We encourage shops to take advantage of this free online resource. If you have industry specific questions, or need further assistance related to dealing with COVID-19 in the workplace or any other employment issue, Mr. King can be reached at (858) 214-3951 or cking@fordharrison.com.

If you have any questions, are looking to connect, or would like to share information regarding additional resources that may help the industry, please contact us or reach out to the organization’s Communications Manager, Jennie Lenk.

How Heavy-Duty Collision Repair Shops are Doing Their Part

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As the world watches the spread of the COVID-19 Coronavirus, people and companies are doing everything possible to stay healthy, stay in business, and reduce the impact of this illness on the healthcare system and the economy.

Over the past few days we spoke with a number of shops and companies to find out what they’re doing to keep employees safe and healthy while trying to reduce the spread of the virus. The purpose of these calls was to gather information and share that with the HD Repair Forum audience.

Following are examples of the steps shops and companies across the US have put in place:

Steps for Staff

  • Every shop we spoke with has all employees wearing gloves at all times. There is a constant exchange of tools and wearing gloves discourages touching around the face.
  • Vendors and other non-employees are not allowed in shops in order to reduce contact and exposure.
  • Lunches and breaks are not at the same time for every employee, thus avoiding everyone congregating in one place at one time (physical distancing).
  • Some shops are purchasing lunch for staff; this reduces risk of bringing an illness from homes, and it supports local food-service businesses that may be surviving by pick-up or delivery only.
  • Some shops have altered work hours and created new shift times, so some employees start earlier in the day and leave earlier, while other employees come and leave later in the day. This establishes little, or no overlap while having fewer people in the shop at the same time.
  • Some businesses have opened on weekends to further spread out their staff’s time in the shop, and allowing some people, who have children at home to work more flexible hours.
  • To reduce bringing illness to the business some are offering a safe, clean place to change and asking workers to consider leaving work clothes and boots at the shop.
  • More hand-sanitizer stations are being placed throughout the business and a good supply of soap at every sink and wash station.
  • Anyone with so much as a sniffle needs to stay home until absolutely healthy.
  • If any staff can work from home, even for some hours, try to support that.
  • If a company has more than one location, no staff is traveling to other offices
  • Staff meetings in some shops are limited to no more than 6. Keep group meetings small, in open spaces if possible, and have people physically apart from one another.

It is critical to have staff buy-in for the measures you are taking. Some people are taking this situation more seriously than others, and it is very important everyone is in alignment with the steps and measures taken for the safety of all. One way to do this is to ask your team members for their ideas on how to keep everyone safe. When they feel they have a voice in the process, they are more likely to support new mandates.

Steps for Customers

  • No customers are allowed in shops. Customers are met outside and at a safe distance.
  • Some shops are requiring scheduled appointments only to spread out the number of people coming in for repair work.
  • Do not reuse pens; when a customer signs an estimate or invoice, give them the pen to keep.
  • Photo-estimating is being utilized as much as possible.
  • All vehicles are disinfected before any employee gets in a vehicle. Key touch points are wiped down including but not limited to:
    • Door handles (inside and outside)
    • Armrests
    • Steering wheel
    • Seat belts
    • Any push-button areas on the dash and doors (radio, electric windows, thermostat, etc.)
    • Cruise control and windshield wiper controls
    • Glove box and center console
    • Shift levers and knobs
    • Hazard light buttons

When all work is complete, the vehicle should be disinfected (following the same steps as above) before delivering it to the customer.
It is very important to communicate these measures with customers, so they know your procedures and feel safe when working with your company.

Steps for Leadership

  • Lead by example; if you ask your team to take certain safety measures, you should be abiding by those same measures or they won’t take you seriously.
  • Listen to your team. Many people are losing jobs right now. Kids are at home because schools are closed. Some products are not available on store shelves. All of this is creating stress. Anything you can do to give your employees some level of comfort in their roles will help with productivity and their overall well-being.
  • Look at opportunities to acquire products that your staff cannot get at a store. One shop had a large order of paper towels and toilet paper that they were able to share with their staff.
  • Stay informed of local, regional, and state mandates; they are changing, sometimes daily, and you need to be ready to make adjustments. Some states are requiring shelter in place or mandatory quarantines.
  • If possible, keep in touch with local officials. Your business may be able to help in some way.
  • Contact other shops and share ideas, challenges, and solutions. The HD Repair Forum was designed to promote networking within the industry and now is the time to take advantage of communicating with your industry peers.
  • Most importantly, keep yourselves, your team, and your customers safe. This is your highest responsibility.

In speaking with some of the vendor companies, many are cutting travel for their staff so communication and orders should be made by phone and email. Be patient with them as some of those companies are able to shift their efforts to the medical community. Gloves, dust masks, and head socks are difficult to come by right now, because they are being sent to medical establishments. Within your own shops, DO NOT REUSE THESE ITEMS! But do not be wasteful either, they are in high demand right now.

In addition to the many steps listed above, if you are taking additional actions at your place of business and you would like to share them, please let us know. Information is empowering, and this is certainly a time to help one another any way we can.

If you have any questions, are looking to connect, or would like to share the additional steps you are taking, please contact us: www.hdrepairforum.com/contact-us/