Testing, inspection and certification company Bureau Veritas had already inspected and certified many buildings in Plano, but when COVID-19 hit North Texas, the city reached out for help navigating the health challenges posed by the pandemic.
Bureau Veritas, a nearly 200-year-old company which began inspecting ships in 1828, created a program specifically to help entities fight COVID-19. The company designed a set of guidelines, protocols, and standards to help business restart safely. “Even in the early days of the pandemic, we knew it was important to create a unified hygiene, health and safety standard across businesses and municipalities including city buildings, offices, schools, and restaurants,” says Sherry Orel, President of Certification, Audit, and Assurance Business in North America for Bureau Veritas. “We also knew it was so important have an objective third-party that could ensure that “new normal” and COVID-19 related hygiene and safety standards are continuously certified and audited.”
The city launched the Bureau Veritas SafeGuard Hygiene Excellence and Safety Label, the first state in the country to do so. The label helps the city mitigate hygiene and safety risks, provides lab testing, protocol guidance, and e-training to make sure city buildings and property are hygienic and safe during the pandemic. The company built upon Plano’s existing safety and hygiene program. This included reviewing current practices for different facilities and creating a prevention guide to limit exposure of the virus to employees, business partners, and the community. After auditors inspected sites across the city to make sure the protocols were being followed, the city became the first to earn the label in the United States. To earn the label, the city had to set guidelines and standards to keep patrons and staff safe, and had an ambassador to work the the Bureau Veritas team throughout the process.
“The reality is municipalities, school districts, and organizations are facing tremendous challenges in supporting their employees, citizens, communities and customers during this unprecedented health and economic crisis––and we all play a critical role to continue to build trust and confidence,” says Orel. “The City of Plano is truly a city of excellence––setting the benchmark for safety and hygiene excellence for all government functions across Texas and the U.S.”