Updated: Sep 7
By Alex Berryman
“With the current impact of COVID-19, it is essential that organizations work together to reactivate their supply chains in the safest way possible.”
- David Klein, President & Co-Founder of Inpectorio
While improving the health and safety of workers has always been an important goal of the ethical fashion movement, the outbreak of COVID-19 demands a new emphasis on the subject. Businesses are scrambling to find a way to ramp up production again without a resurgence of the outbreak, with many business leaders struggling to know how to keep people safe during these unprecedented times.
At Purnaa, health and safety for employees and customers are extremely important. So we used the Inspectorio Rise COVID-19 tool to evaluate how well we were protecting staff and to learn how to do better. Using real-time analytics and data, this platform helps companies gauge their compliance with health and safety best practices, offers training and insight on how to improve, and makes it simple to work together with stakeholders to identify areas of improvement and address them.
We recognize that Transparency in Manufacturing is necessary for accountability and growth in sustainable practices. So we wanted to share here about our Inspectorio Rise health and safety assessment and the subsequent improvements made to our policies.
After performing an initial self-assessment, we identified several areas where Purnaa could improve its COVID-19 safety protocol to better protect staff. After 2 months of work, our self-assessment score rose by 30%, going from a "Satisfactory" grade to an "Outstanding" grade!
How This Assessment and Safety Policy Implementation Process Helps Our Clients
If a client is interested in Purnaa’s COVID-19 safety practices, through the Inspectorio Rise tool we can share our self-assessment, receive specific feedback from the client, and address areas of concern iteratively. This transparency motivates continuous improvement and can give clients peace of mind, knowing that the people making their products are following the best safety practices possible.
Purnaa’s COVID-19 Health and Safety Policies
It is important to make employees aware of the policies and practices that keep them safe and also to make sure they know how to apply them. Purnaa’s HR team took the lead to implement the new COVID-19 safety policies. In order to communicate the health and safety regulations, the HR team broke the policies down into 4 categories:
Maintain social distancing measures
Curb spread by increasing sanitation practices and PPE distribution
Have a clear protocol in the case of infection or suspected infection
Regularly remind staff of protocol
Combined with the results of our assessment and protocols already put in place, we implemented the following procedures.
Maintaining social distance:
We have asked all staff that can work from home to do so, and any staff that comes into the facility to maintain adequate social distancing.
Sewing lines have been set up to maintain social distancing between individuals and teams. Teams usually share the same sewing space, bathrooms, and lunch area; in order to create less overlap, we have assigned each team to their own floor level, even converting our conference room to a sewing space and our outlet (which is closed) to a manager's office so their normal office can be another sewing area.
As many staff travel to work by bus, Purnaa has hired two buses to pick up those without their own transportation and to drop them off again in the evening.
Sanitation practices and PPE:
We enforce hand washing multiple times per day even for visitors and delivery personnel. Additionally sanitizing stations are placed throughout the building for regular hand sanitizer applications.
We have ramped up sanitization practices in the cleaning of the facilities and machines, ensuring all machines are sanitized thoroughly between uses.
It is mandatory for all staff to wear masks inside the building, even when maintaining social distance. Following the assessment, we gave each staff 5 washable and reusable masks to ensure they had adequate PPE.
Infection or suspected infection:
At the core of this procedure is our flexible leave strategy that allows for staff to take leave during the pandemic so that any staff that needs to take leave can without fearing ramifications.
If a team member suspects they or a family member are positive, we ask for them to inform a team leader and remain at home until 3 days after all symptoms have passed. This includes any of the following symptoms: fever, shortness of breath or difficulty breathing, cough, sore throat, a headache that doesn’t go away after a day, vomiting or diarrhea, or loss of taste or smell.
If a team member is tested positive with COVID-19, we will ask all of their team to stay home and quarantine for 14 days. This is so other teams can continue work and limit the spread of the virus.
Awareness campaigns and training:
The HR team has conducted 3 training sessions with all staff, creating awareness for physical and mental health during COVID-19.
We conduct monthly meetings for all staff to remind them of safety protocols and update them on any new safety efforts
Transparency in the Era of COVID-19
Now more than ever, it is important for consumers and brands to care about how their product was made. Ask your manufacturer the following questions to know how they are protecting their staff during COIVD-19:
How has your manufacturing style changed to create an adequate social distancing
What are your protocols if someone is infected?
What are your leave policies? How have they changed in COVID-19?
What PPE has been provided to staff?
Be assured your products are being made ethically, not at the expense of the health and safety of the workers. Start by producing your product with Purnaa and submit your design here and learn more about how you can support ethical manufacturing.
Read More From Purnaa:
Black Swan of Supply Chain - Inspectorio Rise
Protecting Indonesian Supply Chain Workers - Inspectorio Rise
A Post-pandemic Fashion Industry: Supply Chains Emerging Out of COVID-19 - Textile Value Chain