From one thing to another: Some risk and safety implications when repurposing operations to support Covid-19 relief

As Covid-19 continues to impact all of us around the world, many companies are mobilising to respond to the sudden, urgent need for vastly greater stocks of diverse medical supplies and equipment.

Breweries and distilleries are turning from producing beer and spirits to making hand sanitisers and other alcohol-based disinfectants. Cosmetic companies are pivoting from face creams and perfumes to medical disinfectants and sanitiser gels. Apparel makers are shifting from sewing shirts and dresses to face masks for the public and surgical gowns. Appliance manufacturers are converting their operations to produce ventilators.

This article highlights some common safety and risk management issues when companies go from producing one thing to another.

Topics covered include:
• Change management.
• Fire protection.
• Ventilation and dust control.
• Storage.
• Machinery and equipment.
• New suppliers.