In the midst of the COVID-19 crisis, declared a national emergency on March 13, businesses are wrestling with how to develop and implement Consequence Management Plans (CMPs) that balance health and safety against the economic, political and logistical realities of extreme social distancing. Many are finding their plans to be ineffective and overly optimistic, often lacking details or realistic options. With testing still not widely available or timely, infected (and infectious) employees are showing up for work feeling fine and with no idea they might be “hot” for virus. Checking temperatures at the door is a lagging indicator and, for most, having everyone stay home means shutting down the plant.
You need a trusted partner with the experience and credentials to evaluate your plans and practices and offer meaningful, solid advice. It is critical to understand the risks and implications of any action or inaction and the effects it will have on your employees and your business. Practice early intervention, because if it looks like it might become a problem, it already is. Over-respond at every opportunity. Trying to save money with a minimal response assures failure. And if it hasn’t been said enough already, remember that hope is not a plan.
GDS’s Dr. Scott Harris received his PhD in Environmental Science, with a specialization in Disaster and Emergency Management, from Oklahoma State University and holds degrees in Public Health (M.S.) and Geology (B.S.) from Western Kentucky University. A former U.S. EPA Federal On-Scene Coordinator, Scott was the EPA Region 6 BioWatch lead, a national sentry program for early detection of biological weapons of mass destruction (WMD) events and served on national workgroups and Joint Terrorism Task Forces to develop best management practices (BMPs) and internal capabilities for surveillance, first response, Hotzone sampling, quarantine, decontamination and return to service. He authored Consequence Management Plans for weaponized biological agent events for all major cities and airports in Texas in coordination with the CDC and DOD.
As Deputy Incident Commander for USDA Green Team Iowa for the 2015 Highly Pathogenic Avian Influenza response, the largest in Agency history, Dr. Harris received a USDA commendation noting “it was extraordinary how quickly Scott immersed himself into our culture. Scott integrated very well with our team and was an important resource and voice of experience throughout the time he spent with us. His knowledge, experience and attitude of bringing the best information forward to help the mission were
critical elements in his acceptance and his contribution. He served as an extremely valuable advisor to our leadership on hand, calling on his previous experience as an EPA Federal On-Scene Coordinator and coaching our team on the complexities of working a sustained Type 1 event… In simple language we owe you one.”
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