As the coronavirus outbreak continues to change how we all work, what hasn’t changed is APA’s dedication to serving the industry. APA has taken steps to reduce risk to our staff while minimizing impact to our business and member services. Beginning in early March, the Association took proactive steps to safeguard the health of its employees and the people we serve. These actions have included:
- Strict processes around social distancing and cleaning and disinfecting procedures
- Clear communication with our contractors, vendors and visitors about Association safety protocols
- Comprehensive guidance for response to any COVID-19 diagnoses or exposures within our operations
- Suspension of air travel and hosting or participating in nonessential meetings
- A directive that employees work from home when feasible
Auditors continue to work with member mills, implementing remote audits as much as possible, using data and technology to remotely conduct mill audits, review quality control data, conduct interviews and video observations of testing and grading. Member mill staff should continue to work directly with their APA auditors and region managers. APA has just completed its accreditation audit as a Certification Body through the Standards Council of Canada (SCC). The three-day audit was completed successfully through video conferencing and file-transfer services.
APA laboratories continue to operate and test products. In Tacoma, we have divided the work into two shifts—6 a.m. to noon and noon to 6 p.m. PDT—with additional cleaning and physical distance protocols in place to minimize risk of exposure and cross-contamination. In Kennesaw, laboratory hours remain 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. EDT. In the past month, lab technicians have completed more than 145 test series on a wide variety of engineered wood products. Deliveries continue to be accepted at both laboratories. APA Technical Services staff remain available for consultation by email or phone.
Administrative, Field Services and Marketing
While most Association employees continue to work from home, we are available by phone, email or video conferencing. The APA Help Desk is fully operational. Staff are avoiding travel when possible, including the temporary suspension of servicing fee complaints, but we continue to educate through webinars and video conferencing. We have temporarily halted distribution of printed materials, but we continue to publish new and updated publications available for free download from www.apawood.org. APA members are providing input to the 2021 marketing plan through online tools.
APA’s services have continued to operate efficiently and effectively to serve member demand. We appreciate your support and patience as we work through this difficult time together.
The health and well-being of our communities while maintaining member services remains our top priority.