Social Distancing Guidelines: Using Plexiglass Barriers and Sneeze Guards
October 20, 2020
As employees start returning to work, social distancing, and how to accomplish it is a concern for business owners and management especially with the guidelines the CDC has put forth. Sneeze guards are becoming commonplace in offices, but people still have plenty of questions about its use. If you have questions about social distancing barriers or need guidance, you’ll find the information you need to help keep your employees safe at work in this blog as well as in our other Workplace Safety blogs.
What You Need to Know About Sneeze Guards
Social distancing guidelines from the CDC are fairly clear. The Centers for Disease Control recommends that everyone maintains a 6-foot distance from each other. If employees frequently interact with customers or there isn’t enough space in the building to keep workers socially distanced, plexiglass barriers can be effective when used properly.
A see-through barrier ensures that employees still feel connected, while also having the assurance their health is being protected. The physical barrier prevents droplets that can occur when people talk, cough, and sneeze from traveling to other employees.
Sneeze Guards are becoming more popular in the Covid-19 world. They started out in grocery stores and have since gained traction in the workplace. They act as an additional barrier between people interacting. You can review reasons why workplaces are adding sneeze guards here.
Types of Social Distancing Barriers
Both OSHA and the CDC recommend using plexiglass barriers to limit exposure to COVID-19. Pharmacies often use these barriers to protect staff from germs and viruses, even before the start of the pandemic. The World Health Organization (WHO) also recommends using physical barriers anytime a 6-foot social distance cannot be maintained.
Plexiglass is a popular material for social distancing barriers due to how easy it is to keep clean, it’s effectiveness and its availability. It’s also less expensive than using other materials like polycarbonate and tempered glass. These materials are durable but also come at a higher price.
Another affordable option is to use PVC social distancing barriers. Similar to plexiglass, PVC barriers are clear, easy to clean, and relatively durable. Constructed from antimicrobial and food-grade PVC, it is another option businesses have to consider. With all of the additional expenses that companies are spending, getting their buildings ready for occupancy, spending less for an effective safety product will help a business’s bottom line.
You can get a full look at our Social Distancing Barriers which include:
Where to Place Social Distancing Barriers
PVC and plexiglass barriers can be free-standing or permanently installed. The flexibility with free-standing ensures that businesses can place the barriers exactly where they need to be. Placing barriers should be done between desks, especially if the office is set up similar to a call center where there isn’t space between employees.
Retail stores should also have barriers that separate employees from customers at the check-out counters. Longer plexiglass or PVC barriers can be installed between workers on assembly lines and in poultry and meat processing plants. If it isn’t possible to place these barriers at some of your work sites, you should still place them where you can.
Rideshare services will also want to use a barrier to protect drivers and customers. The same applies to workers at airports, whether it’s at the ticket and check-in counters or in the shops and restaurants.
You can read frequently asked questions about social distancing barriers here.
Social Distancing Barriers Provide Three Critical Functions
The Canadian National Collaborating Center for Environmental Health (NCCEH) has released guidance concerning the use of social distancing barriers that outlines the three crucial functions the partitions provide.
- The barriers prevent droplets that could contain the virus from spreading through the workplace.
- Helps to re-enforce social distancing protocols that can be easily forgotten or overlooked.
- Masks may not need to be worn all of the time at work when plexiglass, PVC barriers, and cubicle extenders are in place.
How to Effectively Use Social Distancing Barriers
As businesses are getting ready to install barriers, there are a few guidelines they will need to follow. The size of the barrier should be relative to the dimensions of the workplace, while also considering whether the employee is sitting or standing. When it comes to height, the partition must be above the employee’s height.
If an opening needs to pass goods or paperwork through, it should be as small as possible and you should place them at the bottom to protect the employee’s breathing space. Barriers can be bolted in place or suspended from the ceiling. How the partitions are installed will depend on the specific needs of the company.
We understand that all of these considerations can be overwhelming and having the confidence to purchase the correct products for your facility is daunting. Action Services Group’s workplace safety experts are available to walk you through what you need to protect your visitors, customers, and employees. Schedule your call today!
The New Normal
Social distancing must be the ‘new normal’ for businesses to successfully open. While there are several steps companies will have to perform, installing either PVC or plexiglass barriers is something that should be on their list.
Both Plexiglass and PVC barriers are durable, easy to keep sanitized, and see-through and help businesses follow social distancing guidelines. They are also easy to install. Protecting employees and visitors’ health should be paramount and it starts with social distancing barriers. Our experts here at Action Services Group can walk you through what social distancing barriers you need to safely adhere to social distancing guidelines. Contact us today by calling 610-558-9773 or email [email protected]!
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“We received our order! The sneeze guards came 2 to a box and very well packaged. The package it arrived in, did not have any damage to it. In fact, the barrier was under bubble wrap and had corner protectors on it. Also, I must say, the pictures on the web site does not do this product justice! The guard is so clear that you don’t even know it’s there. I have recommended this product to our other 15 libraries in our county.”
– Fruitland Park Library – Jo-Ann Glendinning – Library Director