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Thursday, March 19, 2020

Hunt's COVID-19 Response Plan

The world health community continues to monitor the emergence of the SARS-CoV-2 virus and the disease it causes. The virus, named “corona virus disease 2019 (COVID-19)” has already had a tremendous impact on our daily lives, including the way we conduct business at Hunt Electric Corporation. Hunt is committed to the protection of our employees, trade partners and the communities in which we do business.

This plan describes the measures Hunt Electric, along with its subsidiaries ECSI, ARS and Power Solutions are taking to preserve the continuity of operations. Managers and employees are all responsible for implementing and complying with all aspects of this plan. Our goal is to mitigate the potential for transmission of COVID-19 in our work locations, and that requires full cooperation among employees and management. Only through this cooperative effort can we establish and maintain the safety and health of our employees and workplaces. Hunt managers and supervisors have our full support in enforcing the provisions of this policy. We are serious about safety and health and keeping our employees working at Hunt. Worker involvement is essential in developing and implementing a successful COVID-19 Response Plan.

We have implemented a COVID-19 Response Team which is meeting regularly to monitor the rapidly changing situation, including the current recommendations from the Center for Disease Control (CDC), World Health Organization (WHO) and State Departments of Health. Our Response Plan follows Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and Minnesota Department of Health (MDH) guidelines and Federal OSHA standards related to COVID-19 and addresses:

  • Communications and training that will be provided to managers and employees
  • Prompt identification and isolation of sick persons
  •  Hygiene, respiratory etiquette and personal protective equipment (PPE)
  •  Housekeeping – cleaning, disinfecting and decontamination
  •  Engineering and administrative controls used to achieve social distancing
  •  Management and supervision necessary to ensure effective implementation of the plan

The following general measures are designed to both protect personnel and contain the spread of COVID-19. Everyone’s compliance and participation in these measures is expected. Containing the spread of this disease is essential to avoid the overtaxing of medical facilities and the associated personal tragedies that have occurred worldwide.

COVID-19 Symptoms

Common signs of infection include respiratory symptoms, fever, cough, shortness of breath and breathing difficulties, chills, repeated shaking with chills, muscle pain, headache, sore throat or new loss of taste or smell. In more severe cases infection can cause pneumonia, severe acute respiratory syndrome, kidney failure and even death.
Disease Transmission and Risk Factors
COVID-19 is transmissible by respiratory secretions such as saliva or mucus. Infected individuals can spread it by introducing the virus into the air, which can then be inhaled by other individuals nearby. There is also concern that COVID-19 may be transmitted by touching a surface or object that has the virus on it and then touching your mouth, nose or eyes. For these reasons, people are advised to cover their cough, wash their hands, and disinfect frequently touched surfaces to prevent transmission of the disease.
Hunt will make every effort to promote and provide the necessary resources for a safe work environment. This requires employees and their close contacts to hold themselves accountable to practicing the CDC’s recommended guidelines for prevention and avoidance not only at work, but also during non-work time. These measures include practicing social distancing, washing hands, wearing the recommended PPE when in public and practicing good hygiene at home. COVID-19 is a contagious virus and our organizational safety depends on individual accountability for taking the necessary preventive measures both on and off the job to ensure the safety of all employees.

Communications and Training

This Response Plan will be communicated by email to all employees and necessary training will be provided prior to returning managers and employees to any closed work location. Additional communication and training will be ongoing via Teams meetings and emails provided to all employees who did not receive the initial training. Managers and supervisors are to monitor how effective the program has been implemented by notifying the COVID-19 Response Team as new information or questions come up. Management and employees are to work through this new program together and update the training as necessary. This Response Plan has been approved by Hunt management and was posted throughout the workplace. It will be updated as necessary. Hunt will utilize of a variety of communication methods to keep employees informed of changing requirements.

Visitor and Employee Screening

Employees have been informed of and encouraged to self-monitor for signs and symptoms of COVID-19. The following screening questionnaire was implemented to assess employees’ health status prior to entering the work location and for employees to report when they are sick or experiencing symptoms. In addition to limiting outside visitors from work locations, persons returning to a jobsite or office location and employees absent from work for any reason must be screened and approved by the Response Team before being allowed at any work location. Employees are asked to complete the screening questionnaire using the following link: https://tinyurl.com/HEC-COVID-19-Screen. The screening will follow CDC recommendations and ask the following questions:

  1. Have you been diagnosed with COVID-19?
  2. Are you currently or have you in the past 14 days experienced fever (100.4oF or higher) without using fever reducing medication, coughing or shortness of breath, chills, repeated shaking with chills, muscle pain, headache, sore throat or new loss of taste or smell?
  3. Have you traveled internationally, been on a cruise, or used public transportation* (see below for definition) for personal reasons to any domestic location categorized as Level 3/high risk by the CDC in the last 14 days?
  4. In the last 14 days, have you been in close contact* (see below for definition) with anyone who has been diagnosed with COVID-19?
  5. In the last 14 days, have you been in close contact* (see below for definition) with anyone who:

a. Is experiencing symptoms and may have COVID-19 but is yet to be confirmed as a positive OR
b. Has been tested and received a positive result for COVID-19?

*Definitions
• Public transportation:
o Any mode of transportation resulting in prolonged close contact with the general public or other non-household members whose health status is unknown.
• Close contact:
o Being within approximately 6 feet (2 meters) of a COVID-19 case or potential case for a prolonged (10 minutes or more) period of time; close contact can occur while caring for, living with, working with, visiting, or sharing a healthcare waiting area or room with a COVID-19 case or potential case OR
o Having direct contact with infectious secretions of a COVID-19 case or potential case (e.g. being coughed or sneezed on)

If the person answers yes to any of the questions above, their access to all work locations is prohibited until a member of the COVID-19 Response Team reviews their response and contacts them to discuss their return to work. If the response team determines the person must quarantine for a period of time, they will again need to complete the screening questionnaire prior to returning to a work location. Hunt has informed employees to stay home if they are sick and will intervene with those who display symptoms at work. Hunt also promotes having employees stay at home when household members are sick, or when required by a health care provider to isolate or quarantine themselves or a member of their household. A doctor’s note is not required to validate sick time or illness.
Employees who have been confirmed to have COVID-19 are to report their diagnosis to their supervisor. Upon notice of a confirmed case of an employee, close contact of an employee or a trade partner contact, Hunt has implemented a plan for identifying and informing employees if they have been exposed to a person with a confirmed COVID-19 case at their work location. If potential exposure is confirmed, the employee with a confirmed positive and potentially exposed employee(s) will be discretely informed and required to quarantine for the 14 days. The privacy of employees’ health status and health information will be kept confidential.

Employees with underlying medical conditions of themselves or household members or those seeking accommodations should contact Megan Clyne (office employees) or Tom Andrzejewski (field employees). Employees who are quarantined or absent from work may request paid time away as permitted by their applicable Collective Bargaining Agreement and/or Employee Handbook and Policies.

Classifying Worker Exposure to COVID-19

The work-related risk to individual employees from Very High, High, Medium and Lower Risk depending on their need to interact with others within 6 feet of people who are known to be or are suspected of being infected with the COVID-19 virus. The requirement for repeated or prolonged contact with infected persons would elevate the risk to the highest levels. By practicing proper hygiene, sanitation and social distancing the risk to most Hunt employees is categorized as Lower Risk.

Very High Exposure Risk
These are primarily reserved for healthcare personnel during specific medical, post mortem or laboratory procedures. These include:

  • Healthcare workers (doctors, nurses, dentists, paramedics, emergency medical technicians) performing aerosolized procedures on COVID-19 positive individuals.
  • Healthcare or laboratory personnel handling or manipulating specimens from COVID-19 positive patients.
  • Morgue workers preforming autopsies on people known to have contacted COVID-19.

No one at Hunt would be in this Very High Exposure Risk category.

High Exposure Risk
These are jobs with high potential for exposure to known or suspected sources of COVID-19. Personnel typically included in this category include:

  • Healthcare delivery and support staff (doctors, nurses, technicians and other staff) who must enter patient rooms of those who are known or presumed to be COVID-19 positive.
  • Medical transport workers (ambulance crews) who must transport known or suspected COVID-19 positive persons.
  • Mortuary workers preparing the bodies of persons known or presumed to have had COVID-19.

While it is possible that Hunt personnel working at a hospital would need to enter a patient room to perform electrical work, it would be a rare circumstance. Outside of our hospital maintenance electricians, no one at Hunt would be in this exposure category.

People with High, or Very High Exposure Risk require a lot of control measures to ensure their health and safety. These include:

  • Work needs to be performed in an isolation room that has its own air supply and exhaust and maintains a negative air pressure relative to surrounding areas.
  • Where isolation rooms are unavailable, or as an additional precaution, certain hazardous procedures can be performed in a ventilated enclosure to isolate and remove aerosols.
  • Utilize very specific and vigorous sanitizing and disinfecting procedures.
  • Use PPE including gloves, gown, face shield, and respiratory protection.

Medium Exposure Risk
Personnel in this risk category would include those that require frequent and/or close contact (within 6 feet for 10 minutes or more) who may be infected with COVID-19, but are not known to be, or suspected COVID-19 patients.

  • This would include workers in transportation hubs with exposure to people arriving from domestic or international locations with greater community transmission than the work location.
  • Staff in educational institutions, high population density work environments and high-volume retail sales.

While some of our jobsites and work locations may approach the Medium Exposure Risk category due to the large numbers of people present, most Hunt employees do not deal with the general public which is generally required for the exposure to be considered medium. Measures to protect employees in this hazard category include the erection of plastic sneeze barriers or the use of a face mask or respirator, face shield, safety glass or goggle.

Lower Exposure Risk

These jobs do not require contact with persons know to be, or suspected of being infected with COVID-19, nor with frequent close contact with the general public. Employees in this category generally have minimal contact with the general public and other coworkers.
The majority of our employees are in this risk category and therefore advised to follow CDC recommendations described below.

Handwashing, Hygiene and PPE

Basic infection prevention measures are being implemented at our work locations at all times. Employees are instructed to wash their hands for at least 20 seconds with soap and water frequently throughout the day, but especially at the beginning and end of their work day, prior to any mealtimes and after using the restrooms. Some workplaces may have hand-sanitizer dispensers (that use sanitizers of greater than 60% alcohol) that can be used for hand hygiene in place of soap and water, as long as hands are not visibly soiled. Hand washing stations are available for job sites when a sink and soap are not readily available upon request.

Hand-sanitizer, disinfecting spray and wipes, soap, and other PPE such as face coverings, gloves, shields, etc. are available. Employees will be training on proper use of PPE. Employees are asked to wear a face covering if they feel uncomfortable, are unable to maintain a 6-foot distance or are in a public area. Non-disposable face coverages should be washed daily and stored appropriately when not in use. Field employees should contact Dave Neang or Todd Dunphy in the Warehouse and office employees should contact their manager or Human Resources for supplies. Our supply of PPE is monitored daily to ensure we can promptly re-order when supplies decrease, and requests are evaluated based on need. Personal hygiene reminders are posted at all work locations. Community provided food (such as lunch buffets, donuts, candy dishes, etc.…) have been removed from work locations. Additionally, community provided convenience items such as microwaves, refrigerators, water fountains, coffee pots, etc. have been removed and suggestions for bringing a thermos from home, individual lunch boxes, etc. have been communicated to employees.

Respiratory Etiquette: Cover your Cough or Sneeze

Employees and visitors are instructed to cover their mouth and nose with their sleeve or a tissue when coughing or sneezing and to avoid touching their face, in particular their mouth, nose and eyes, with their hands. They should dispose of tissues in the trash and wash or sanitize their hands immediately afterward. Respiratory etiquette will be indicated on posters and supported by making tissues and trash receptacles available to all employees and visitors.

Housekeeping

Regular housekeeping practices are being implemented, including routine cleaning and disinfecting of work surfaces, equipment, tools and machinery, and areas in the work environment, including restrooms, printers, break rooms, lunch rooms and meeting rooms. Frequent cleaning and disinfecting will be conducted in controls, door handles, elevator panels, railings, etc. Employees should refrain from using other employees’ equipment, including desks, computers, phones, keyboards, tools, etc.

Our offices are cleaned daily by a third party. They use Quat-Stat 5 to disinfect. If an employee is diagnosed with COVID-19, our cleaning staff will discretely disinfect the work area of the of the employee with a confirmed COVID-19 case as well as the work spaces they used.

Social Distancing

To prevent transmission of the virus through the air through saliva or mucus, the CDC recommends maintaining a distance of 6 feet from another person. By maintaining a proper “social distance” of 6 feet from others, we will prevent transfer of the virus when someone coughs, sneezes or speaks. Social distancing has been implemented in the workplace locations through the following engineering and administrative controls:

  • Staggered shifts may be used to reduce the number of employees in the work location at one time.
  • In-person meetings are eliminated whenever possible, and when not, social distancing must apply.
  • If participation in an in-person project meeting is required, only one member of Hunt’s site leadership team will be allowed to be physically present.
  • Provide signage or instructions for employees and visitors.
  • Suspension of all non-essential business travel.
  • For essential travel, commercial air travel and other forms of public transportation are prohibited.
  • Disinfectant and hand sanitizer are available throughout the office locations and job sites.
  • Common areas such as break rooms, conference rooms, offices and training areas have been reconfigured to allow for appropriate distancing (ex. removing chairs) and in some instances closed.
  • Avoid large meetings, trainings or gatherings of more than 10 people, including break areas. Utilize Microsoft Teams when meetings include more than 2 participants.
  • When social distancing cannot be maintained, employees must use a face covering.
  • Employees and visitors are discouraged from gathering in groups and confined areas.
  • Visitors to office, warehouse and jobsite locations are only allowed by appointment and must receive approval from a member of the Response Team.
Site Specific Guidance

The implementation of the general measures described earlier in this plan may be carried out in a variety of ways based on work location. They are designed to protect our employees and communities while preserving continuity of operations. The following are some anticipated impacts and more specific expectations based on work location, in addition to the social distancing measures above. Employees are to maintain strict adherence to customer requirements at jobsites and other work locations.

Office Control Measures

All employees who are able to work remotely have been given the necessary equipment and instructed to telework. Flexible work hours may be available to certain positions.

  • Revised foot traffic pathways, including the use of entrance and exit doors.
  • Relocated printer areas and reconfigured break areas to allow for social distancing.
  • Supervisors are to report confirmed cases, illnesses and other absences to Megan Clyne for tracking purposes.
  • Office employees with confirmed COVID-19 cases will have their key card deactivated for 14 days.
Jobsite Control Measures
  • Plan work to avoid working within 6 feet of other employees or trade partner personnel.
  • Supervisors are to report confirmed cases, suspected cases, and quarantined individuals to Tom Andrzejewski for tracking purposes. A plan will be developed to communicate with the appropriate customer contacts.
  • Do not hold, or participate in site-wide meetings, stand-downs, celebrations or lunches whenever possible.
  • Morning Stretch and Flex and Toolbox Talk safety meetings to continue at a crew level while maintaining social distancing of 6 feet or more.
  • Illnesses and absences are to be reported to and monitored by the following personnel:

o Kevin Almendinger for Hunt Bloomington
o Larry Prieur for ECSI
o Brent Morey for Hunt Rochester
o Dave Pearce for Hunt North in Duluth
o Lauren Mann for all others

Warehouse Operations
  • Alternate methods of coordinating deliveries and shipments have been implemented at all locations to eliminate contact with truck and delivery drivers.
  • Hunt’s Purchasing group worked well in advance of the current crisis to secure the materials needed to complete our current project needs.
Employee Assistance

This is an unprecedented time in our history and a certain amount of concern or apprehension is warranted. Many of us led a stressful existence before we knew of COVID-19, and the pandemic has placed additional stress on all our institutions, including the family. Hunt’s employee assistance provider remains available to assist Hunt employees with their challenges and concerns. Employees may contact TEAM of Minnesota at 651-642-0182.

Response Team Contacts

For more information, or if you have any questions, concerns or feedback on these procedures, please contact one of the following:

  • John Axelson, President, jaxelson@huntelec.com, (651) 643-6601
  • Keith Colvard, Vice President of Operations, kcolvard@huntelec.com, (651) 643-6627
  • Megan Clyne, Human Resources Manager, mclyne@huntelec.com, (651) 643-6626
  • Tom Andrzejewski, Safety Director, tandrzejewski@huntelec.com, (612) 308-6347
  • Aaron Gunderson, Vice President of Special Services, agunderson@huntelec.com, (612) 804-3863
  • Lauren Mann, National Operations Manager, lmann@huntelec.com, (612) 508-7808
  • Mike Wilke, President of North Division, mwilke@huntelec.com, (612) 747-8122
  • Brent Morey, South Division Manager, bmorey@huntelec.com, (507) 993-9865
  • Jerry Hein, ECSI President, jhein@ecsillc.com, (651) 287-0313
Absence Reporting Contacts
  • Kevin Almendinger, kalmendinger@huntelec.com, (651) 643-6696
  • Larry Prieur, lprieur@ecsillc.com, (651) 287-0308
  • Brent Morey, bmorey@huntelec.com, (507) 281-3226
  • Dave Pearce, dpearce@huntelec.com, (218) 624-6521
  • Lauren Mann, lmann@huntelec.com, (612) 508-7808
Resources
  • Screening Questionnaire Link and QR Code: https://tinyurl.com/HEC-COVID-19-Screen
  • Video: How to wear a buff face covering
  • Video: How to make a face covering out of a bandanna or hanky
  • Response Team: HEC-Covid-19ResponseTeam@huntelec.com
Summary

Through leadership and participation at all levels of the organization, Hunt has excelled at protecting our people in the workplace. Safety is a core value of our organization. We have rarely been presented with a safety and health challenge as significant as the one we now face, however based on our past accomplishments we are confident in our ability to get through this together.
We really can’t stress enough the need to follow these guidelines and the guidelines imposed by our customers to allow all of us to continue to remain safe, healthy and to keep our jobsites running and everyone working. We really appreciate everyone’s patience and positive attitude as we continue to develop and plan for what might be next.