As New York Emergency offices continue to reopen, they are working to ensure the health and safety of their operators. One way they are doing this is to install personal partition screens to help them stay safe at the workplace. Saraval Industries has been working directly with our manufacturing allies to ensure our high-end plexiglass operator barriers get to the front lines.
Plexiglass Shields Address COVID-19 Risks
With the COVID-19 virus still active in the U.S., many companies have developed equipment and products that are outlined within COVID-19 prevention sections of their reopening plans. Eliminating the hazard altogether is the best option. However, it is not always feasible. Therefore, engineering controls are one of the best ways to mitigate the hazard risk. The prioritization of plexiglass shields falls within the engineering controls division of organizations.
Benefits of Sanitary Plexiglass Shields
Control rooms in emergency offices have configurations that require operators to work in close proximity to each other. These standard setups can put emergency personnel at risk of catching COIVID-19. Installing sanitary plexiglass shields at these workplaces can provide benefits and cut down on risk because they:
- Prevent the direct invasion of moisture droplets that transfers virus to nearby people
- Conform with OSHA 3990-03 guidelines on preparing workplaces for COVID-19
- Are appropriate in settings and spaces where it is a challenge to maintain six feet of separation between everyone
- Provide a level of protection from surface contamination in the personal workspace
- Are a use of barriers that are consistent with recommendations from the CDC and the US Department of Labor as a component of exposure controls
- Serve as a long-term strategy to reduce risk for viruses spread by comparable modes of transmission as COVID (e.g., influenza).
Industry Safety Recommendations
Although there is no magic bullet when it comes to the total elimination of the novel coronavirus, plexiglass shields are considered most effective when combined in a multilayered layered approach. This approach combines plexiglass barriers with safety measures such as social distancing, facemasks, general hygiene recommendations and proper ventilation.
With the addition of personal partition screens to workstations and the use of a multilayered approach, business owners are taking proactive measures to stop the spread of COVID-19, thereby creating a safer workplace.
Our Plexiglass Shields at a Glance
We experienced a massive burst of businesses needing plexiglass starting in about April or May. To assist in keeping emergency operators safe and healthy, Saraval Industries rolled out solutions that provide high-end plexiglass dividers at the ends of their workspaces as well as in between them. These barriers delineate personal workspace better and also promote social distancing. We use a plexiglass forming company, and they get the plexi and their factory then forms all the signs, displays and structures. Luckily, we happen to share a building with them, and they are the ones we mainly get our plexi from.
The process for providing plexiglass products to our customers is the epitome of “no muss and no fuss.” One recent example of when we did this was when Orange & Rockland Utilities called us and told us their operators needed a barrier in between each other so that they could have extra personal protection.
As part of our process, we came out and measured the workstations and calculated what was going to fit. Then, we drew the shape and ordered plexiglass from the forming company next door. In tandem, we ordered the desk mounted partition brackets from another manufacturer. Once we had both, we installed the barriers at Orange & Rockland.
Besides Orange & Rockland, the largest projects we’ve done recently was for Amtrak and the Fashion Institute of Technology (FIT) in Manhattan. For FIT, we installed plexiglass barriers all over their college campus. The barriers we put in place included areas between reception desks, sneeze guards at the food booths and at cash registers where cashiers ring up meals for students that pass by.
About Our Heavy Duty Plexiglass
Plexiglass isn’t made out of glass; it’s actually made out of acrylic, which makes it a shatter-resistant and lighter weight alternative to glass. At Saraval Industries, we use 9 mm heavy-duty shields that are made of clear, scratch resistant, completely polished and non-porous material. Also, the material is not rough-cut, and any edges that could potentially come into contact with someone are rounded over and buffed smooth for safety.
How to Care for the Plexi
Our heavy-duty plexiglass shields are designed with easy cleaning and maintenance in mind, allowing them to stay up for extended periods of time. A care manual is provided with the plexiglass, and key points made by it include cleaning surfaces using mild soap and lukewarm water or to just dust it off using a soft, damp cloth.
Note: With plexi, you are never supposed to use window cleaner because it will permanently streak the surface and ruin the finish. No window or kitchen sprays should be used, either, and alcohol or acetone can scratch the surface or weaken the material, causing it to crack. If the surface does get scratched, the blemish would need to be removed by hand polishing with a flannel pad.
Customization Options Available
We offer plexiglass shield solutions to new and existing furniture. And, as cost effective as used emergency office furniture can be, it doesn’t offer all the features you’re looking for. The same can be said for plexiglass shields, and our solutions are not a one-size-fits-all. What follows are a few special things we’d like our customers to know are available to them.
- 6mm Plexiglass: In addition to our heavy-duty 9 mm plexi, we provide 6 mm plexi if it needs to hang it from the ceiling. This allows it to be a little bit lightweight.
- Chemcast Acrylic Sheets: These are sanitary barriers from the plexiglass manufacturer that possess fire retardancy factors to meet building requirements established on different building codes. These plexiglass sheets meet quality compliance UL and ASTM norms. Building requirements they meet include Flammability (UL 94), Horizontal Burn Rate (ASTM D 635) and Smoke Density Rating of 400 value. That option is not is not what we use for our typical plexi, and it is by special request only.
- Customization: A great deal of customizations is available with our plexiglass partitions. The biggest thing with us, and the advantage of using the former next door when compared to using another furniture manufacturer, was #1, we are able to customize the shape and #2, we are able to control the lead times a lot better. We get the plexiglass shields directly from the source vs. dealing with a layer of suppliers who each have their own separate lead times. This resulted in faster service, as there was a drastic reduction of lead-time from order to installation.
We had some customization for doorways where we had to drill custom hinges into a piece of acrylic to get the partitions to swing a certain way. The end result is almost similar to when a bar has a section that can be lifted up to open so that you can walk through and then close it back again by lowering it back down. We came across those structural types at FIT because they have a lot of electronic closets.
People actually have to stay inside these closets, man them, and they usually have a half door. Because of this design, they needed something that would be able to hinge. Unfortunately, when you try to drill through acrylic to accommodate a hinge, it usually cracks. We worked around these limits by creating these custom hinges on the side of the closets that made them turn like a door would. The end result was a really robust design that is working well for them.
When you are trying to encase all these workers into this acrylic bubble, per se, they all have different levels and sizes, whereas if you just ordered it from a general manufacturer, you would just wind up with a rectangular piece. We were able to do cut throughs and completely customize the size and the shape because we had the forming manufacturer right next to us.
Plexiglass Shields for New York Emergency Responders
Saraval Industries installs plexiglass shields on trading floors, control rooms, dispatch centers and more. Our industry experts can help you find the best configuration and installation based on your room’s layout, consoles and emergency operator’s needs. For more information about plexiglass shields for NY emergency responders, please contact us online for a free quote or call us at (516) 768-9033.