Steps to Creating Coronavirus Pandemic Plan

Use the following checklists as you develop your written Coronavirus Pandemic Plan, to ensure that you cover all of the areas you want.

Before writing or revising your written plan:

  • Read and understand any regulations, laws, standards, and/or guidance related to the pandemic, as well as how it affects your industry.
  • Understand the fundamentals of the coronavirus pandemic (e.g., signs and symptoms, modes of transmission, etc.).
  • Understand the company’s critical business processes.
  • Review your current Disaster Recovery Plan to see what you can borrow to develop your Coronavirus Pandemic Plan.
  • Develop a budget and timeline.
  • Obtain management commitment to the plan.
  • Assemble a team to develop the plan.
  • Collaborate with community businesses, insurers, health plans, healthcare facilities, government agencies, and emergency responders.

When writing the procedures:

  • Meet with upper management to determine the content you may want the written Coronavirus Pandemic Plan to have.
  • Determine who will have access to your written the plan.
  • Determine who will receive training.
  • Document who provides input to the development of the plan. Consider upper management, supervisors, human resources, safety management, union representatives, employees, contractors, and other outside entities.

Determine which elements you want to include in the plan:

  • Purpose. A statement of the plan’s purpose.
  • Administrative Duties. Assigns responsibility for developing and maintaining this plan.
  • Critical Business Processes and People. Lists the critical business processes, as well as critical people.
  • Business Impact Analysis. Identifies the severity and probability of pandemic scenarios for the business. This section rates the human, property, and business impacts of a pandemic and provides an occupational exposure determination.
  • Business Assessment. Explains how the business situation will be assessed for pandemic status and needs.
  • Goals and Objectives. Provides short-and long-term goals.
  • Roles and Responsibilities. Designates roles and responsibilities.
  • Communication. Provides procedures for internal and external communication.
  • Training. Lists training topics.
  • Inventory, Supplies, and Services. Lists primary and alternative supplies and services.
  • Technology. Ensures that technology is in place for a pandemic.
  • Air Circulation. Ensures optimal air quality.
  • Hygiene and Housekeeping. Lists hygiene and housekeeping practices.
  • Personal Protective Equipment. Contains provisions for personal protective equipment.
  • Social Distancing. Lists ways employees are to keep their distance from other people.
  • Travel and Off-site Worker Restrictions. Lists travel destinations, off-site worker locations, and restrictions.
  • Medical Surveillance. Provides a procedure to keep those suspected of having pandemic away from work until well.
  • Sick Leave and Time Off. This section provides for various company benefits for eligible employees.
  • Stress Management. Ensures that employees are aware of the company’s employee assistance program and know who to contact with questions.
  • Security. Covers certain security measures.
  • Coordination/Collaboration with Outside Entities. Ensures that the company coordinates with outside entities.
  • Other Measures. Allows for further measures.
  • Recordkeeping. Lists maintained records.
  • Plan Evaluation. Describes how the plan will be evaluated and updated.
  • Appendices. Lists documents attached to the plan.

Items to keep in mind when developing a plan

Similar to the creation of any safety or security plan, variables need to be weighed in, including:

  • As you examine critical business processes prior to drafting your Pandemic Plan, look at business processes that are related tasks performed together to ensure that the business continues to be viable. These are supported by mission-critical systems, such as electric power, telecommunications systems, databases, and files, which, if interrupted, create an unacceptable consequence. Key internal and external business dependencies must be identified, including infrastructure and information sources.
  • You will need to determine departmental operations and functions, impact of downtime and major absenteeism, critical time periods (daily and yearly), continuity and recovery needs and time frames, and key personnel names (including retirees and contractors), addresses, and telephone numbers. Don’t forget to consider your collective bargaining agreement when considering contractors. You may wish to identify executives responsible for the operations and continuity of each critical process.
  • When creating a list of critical inputs, you will need to include such items as your raw materials, suppliers, and sub-contractor services/products. Identifying critical inputs and how they may be interrupted should also be factored into the risks associated with a pandemic.
  • You will need to look at the job functions when addressing exposure determination. Examples include positions that have face-to-face contact with customers and the general public and positions that require travel to pandemic outbreak areas versus those that are stationary (e.g., warehouse, dispatcher, sales, receptionist). Some employees may be at higher risk because of the nature of their position. For example, an in-house company doctor or nurse would be on the frontlines when an outbreak begins. Company-trained first responders on each shift and/or supervisors are also vulnerable to risk when they are called to offer first aid to ill employees.
  • You may need to list realistic scenarios such as the effect of restriction on mass gatherings, the need for hygiene supplies, public travel restrictions, healthcare service shortages, etc.
  • List scenarios like absenteeism, overtime and burnout, illness, family member illness, fatalities, community quarantines, public transportation shutdowns, school and business closings, power and communication outages, employee fear and anxiety, etc.

Perform a business impact analysis

As you conduct the business impact analysis, examine:

  • Human impact (high (5) to low (1)) (these include the safety, health, and psychological impacts on people during a pandemic);
  • Property impact (very high (5) to very low (1)) (these include property, technology, infrastructure, and environmental damage); and
  • Business impact (high (5) to low (1)) (these include financial, compliance, contractual, operational, image, and other impacts.

Compute the total impact rating by adding the human, property, and business impact ratings. Scenario probability is the likelihood rating:

  • Expected (5),
  • Likely (4),
  • Moderate (3),
  • Unlikely (2), or
  • Rare (1).

Compute the probable impact by adding the total impact rating to the scenario probability. The travel impact is the degree of travel restriction (high (5) to low (1)) (these include local, state, domestic, and international air, sea, and land travel restrictions.)

Motor carrier-specific concerns

As you effectively strategize to limit the impact of a pandemic on your operation, there are some areas of concern that are unique to just the transportation industry. Consider the following:

  • How likely are your customers and their manufacturer customers able to continue operation? What would the demand for their products or services be (pharmaceutical vs. appliances vs. toys, etc.)?
  • Are you able to re-assign cross-trained employees to fill in the gaps? For example, is a mechanic licensed with a CDL able to take loads since he/she is already in the DOT random pool and fully qualified under Part 391? Can a dispatcher or supervisor fill in as a driver if qualified, and can someone else assist in dispatching?
  • Will drivers who are absent allow other drivers to operate their vehicles as temporary replacements for non-working vehicles?
  • What is the availability of fuel and lubricants? How long can you operate if a shortage occurs?
  • Is there enough available certified maintenance technicians in-house if your third-party fleet maintenance service is unable to service your equipment?
  • Could there be a shortage of repair parts or supplies for vehicles and equipment at sites that are still operating?
  • Are there procedures in place for vehicles, including trucks, trailers, and buses, to be adequately cleaned and disinfected between shifts and load changes?
  • Are there specialty support operations available during a pandemic, such as tank wash stations and cleaning supplies for bulk hazardous materials?
  • Are open warehouses or storage containers available locally on short notice if you need to stockpile supplies temporarily?
  • Can essential materials and supplies be safely, legally, and practically stored at regional distribution centers or at dispersed sites along likely traveled routes?
  • Have you authorized essential workers to make purchases via a credit card or purchase order?
  • Do you have pre-established contracts with multiple vendors on essential supplies? If your supply chain is disrupted, how long can you operate?

This is just the beginning of a long list that would reflect the nature of a terminal operation.