August 4th, 2020

Business Beat: Innovation Series…

By Sandra Milne on June 3, 2020.

As a business owner during the province-wide re-launch, what are you doing to make yourself, your employees and your customers feel safe when they enter your establishment?

We’ve all read the Provincial Re-launch Guideline documents, the general guideline and/or the industry specific guidelines located on https://Alberta.ca/guidance-documents.aspx. We know we are required to perform a hazard assessment with our employees. Writing up a hazard assessment provides the opportunity to discuss our tasks, any hazards we may encounter when performing those tasks and then discuss how we will mitigate the risks involved, whether through elimination (closing the economy), substitution (conducting business from home), engineering (putting up plexiglass barriers), administration (writing a policy or procedure i.e. hand washing poster), and/or the provision of Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) (masks, gloves etc).

If you are unaware of how to perform a hazard assessment, they don’t need to be complicated, please review the 15-minute video created by APEX, facilitated by Amy Zuk, F&S Safety Buzz, located on the APEX Alberta YouTube channel, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=izGULZ1UPrw. We know we must have signage, sanitization stations, we must ask our patrons a series of questions such as “have you traveled”, “have you been in contact with anyone known to have coronavirus”, etc. and we understand the rules around public gatherings and physical distancing requirements.

What APEX wants to know and highlight, is what types of innovations our business community have implemented to ensure the safety of employees as they return to work and to entice consumers and shoppers to return to our stores to shop locally and safely. The innovation does not need to encompass new technology (which is what APEX normally focuses on), it can be any type of innovation, a pool noodle hat to encourage physical distancing, a wireless Point of Sale (POS) system to protect employees from getting too close to patrons, or how about a Quick Response (QR) Code that you scan with your smart phone so you can instantly see the touchless menu. These are all ideas we’ve heard about, read about, or witnessed in the last week as our business owners have been going through the process of implementing the government and industry guidelines and re-launching their businesses.

APEX has begun the process of contacting businesses, to find out what they’ve done to help make people feel safe in their stores, out on their golf courses and when enlisting their services. The plan is to shoot a 1 to 2-minute video with the owner or a staff member showing off the innovative ideas they’ve implemented and then to showcase the videos online and various Social Media platforms.

What’s the purpose? Well, APEX wants to provide Medicine Hat businesses with the opportunity to share what they’ve done, your brainchild may help out a business that is struggling with re-launch and at the very least, we’ll be promoting the contribution you’ve made towards kick starting the Medicine Hat economy. If you have implemented any type of innovation to make your business safer for your employees and your customers, please contact Sandra (403) 528-2824 and tell me about it, maybe I’ll make you famous!

Sandra Milne is the Regional Innovation Network Coordinator for APEX Alberta. APEX Alberta has programs to help support the growth of innovative and technology-oriented businesses in Southeast Alberta. APEX Alberta is a collaborative initiative between three core service providers: Community Futures Entre-Corp, Medicine Hat College and Alberta Innovates.

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