Impact Washington — a nonprofit that consults small and midsize manufacturers across the state to help them improve operations — is offering free assessments of manufacturing facilities to help operators ensure they’re meeting guidelines for safe restart and operation under the governor’s COVID-19 guidelines.

The preventative and preparedness assessments are done virtually by an Impact Washington consultant with recommendations typically turned around within a week, or sooner if necessary, said Carol Blayden, director of client engagement and marketing for Impact Washington. Assessments can be done before a manufacturer restarts operations under Phase 2 of the governor’s reopening guidelines or after the manufacturer is already operating to ensure it’s in compliance.

“Many of the manufacturers we’re working with have not stopped producing through the COVID crisis,” Blayden said, noting the service is available to all Washington-based manufacturers, including producers of food, fiber, crops, livestock, and livestock products.

“These are the governor’s guidelines and they are not recommendations, they are requirements,” she said.

Impact Washington has done more than 100 assessments so far.

The assessment reviews 15 areas against more than 75 requirements and controls. Impact Washington, as part of the assessment, also is helping facilities determine whether engineering controls, administrative controls, or personal protective measures are recommended based on facility work areas and each employee’s risk of exposure based on their job function, its website says.

The assessment, which takes a couple hours, is followed by an implementation plan and debrief to ensure a smooth restart of each facility as soon as possible, according to the website, adding the assessment summarizes and documents individual risk levels found within each facility and provides recommendations for specific workplace controls.

“Your COVID-19 Infectious Disease Exposure and Recovery Manual must include and describe how your business has implemented the requirements and is in compliance with the guidelines and standards,” Impact Washington said, noting that the Washington State Department of Labor & Industries will perform in-person spot checks and that firms ignoring pandemic orders could be cited and fined.

The assessments are paid for by funding in the federal CARES Act and will continue as long as companies need them, Blayden said. There’s also federal funding for operational needs related to manufacturers’ COVID recovery projects, she said, noting applications for project funding are now being accepted and will require a manufacturer match. To qualify for funding, an assessment will be required or proof that the firm has a plan in place following the governor’s guidelines, she said.

Impact Washington generally works with manufacturers with 20 to 499 employees, but has a dedicated consultant for those with fewer than 20 workers.

“Impact Washington is a resource for any questions or guidance that they need during this time,” Blayden said. “We’ve got a team and we’ve got external resources; if we don’t know the answer, we can point them in the (right) direction.”

To schedule an assessment, call Impact Washington at 425-438-1146 or visit Impact Washington and click on the green tab in the lower left.

For an Impact Washington guidance whitepaper on preventive measures and controls, click here.