Protecting Our Employees
Cleaning & Sanitation
Maintenance staff follows a daily and weekly cleaning schedule for all County Connection facilities, including the Administrative office, Maintenance shop, and Paratransit (LINK) office. In addition, staff has included an anti-viral electrostatic treatment in response to COVID-19. All buildings receive this treatment twice per week, which covers a wide range of surfaces, including furniture, monitors, printers, keyboards, walls, carpets, blinds, vents, and fan intakes.
All high-touch surface areas, including but not limited to handrails, doorknobs, elevator buttons, light switches, countertops, and tables are wiped at minimum once per day. A commercial grade alcohol-based (80%) disinfectant is used. This duty is performed by a designated Administrative employee during the morning/afternoon, followed by a more extensive cleaning and disinfecting schedule performed by Custodial staff during the evening and weekends.
As noted above, County Connection utilizes an anti-viral fogging system to sanitize all buses and all high-touch surface areas are wiped down daily. Currently, all bus reliefs are made at the County Connection bus yard and no reliefs are made in the field. This provides Maintenance staff the opportunity properly sanitize the bus prior to be assigned to another Transit Operator. The same applies for all buses that are returned to the yard during an Operator’s split shift. Any surfaces on buses that are serviced or inspected by Maintenance staff are wiped down with a COVID-19 approved disinfectant. Often times, this results in multiple sanitation efforts per day.
Following guidance from CCHS, County Connection has since developed a set of standard operating procedures (SOPs) specific to bus and facility cleaning and sanitation, as well as cleaning during field reliefs. Transit Operators who now make field reliefs are provided with disinfectant wipes to wipe down surfaces such as shield handles, steering wheel, controls, radio communication equipment, farebox, dashboard, seat, seatbelt, and latch.
Policy & Procedural Changes
Since the beginning of COVID-19, all attendance policies at County Connection have been suspended. In late March, employees aged 65 or older were offered the ability to shelter at home on paid status for two (2) weeks. The Human Resources department continues to provide inter-office memorandums, updating all employees of changes surrounding COVID-19, attendance/extended leave, County orders, etc.
Personal protective equipment (PPE), including gloves, masks, sanitizing wipes, and hand sanitizer continues to be available to all employees. When available, fabric/cloth masks and face shields have also been distributed. County Connection’s Dispatch/Transit Supervisor staff follow COVID-19 related procedures prior to assigning each Transit Operator a bus for the day. This includes a series of health-related questions surrounding common COVID-19 symptoms such as fever or flu-like symptoms.
County Connection has had in place a workplace safety plan, or Injury & Illness Prevention Program (IIPP). This program is a requirement of Title 8 of the California Code of Regulations (T8CCR), Section 3203. As COVID-19 became more established, the Department of Industrial Relations (DIR) released statewide guidance requiring employers to take steps to protect employees from diseases such as COVID-19. In early July 2020, the DIR issued additional guidance by industry, including Public and Private Passenger Carriers, Transit, and Intercity Passenger Rail. The purpose of this guidance was to support employers in the evaluation of their IIPP’s, ensuring steps are taken to prevent the spread of COVID-19 and to provide a safe environment for both employees and customers, specific to public transit.
As a result of such guidance from the DIR, County Connection updated its IIPP to include a COVID-19 Exposure Prevention and Control Program. The prevention program includes standard operating procedures (SOPs) which detail processes such as an employee testing positive for COVID-19, returning to work, cleaning and sanitizing, field reliefs, and non-employee access to facilities. These SOP’s have been developed to further increase workplace safety and prevent the spread of COVID-19. The updated IIPP has been adopted by the County Connection Board of Directors on August 20, 2020 and can be found here.
Administrative Offices and Facilities
The County Connection administrative offices, including the LINK Paratransit office have been closed to the public beginning March 18, 2020 until further notice. Non-essential staff are encouraged to telecommute if possible or work an alternative schedule such that total staff is kept to a minimum occupancy. Meetings are conducted virtually or meet social distancing and face covering requirements if it is necessary to meet in person.
The Customer Service call center has remained staffed during regular hours (Monday – Friday, 6:30 AM to 6:30 PM) and can be reached by phone at (925) 676-7500 or email at firstname.lastname@example.org. Updates are made to the County Connection website as well as its Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter accounts.
All staff are required to wear a face covering when traveling through the facilities. Staggered breaks and lunch periods are encouraged to enforce physical distancing and a portion of tables and chairs have been removed from shared areas. The Operator’s break room has been closed to any Operator who is not on standby.
Flooring throughout the facilities have been marked to provide visual cues that encourage physical distancing requirements. The procedures for Operators reporting for duty have been changed so that only one (1) Operator is in the reporting window area at a time. Operators are also advised to proceed straight to their buses following their report to further ensure physical distancing in the facilities. Signage has also been posted to remind employees about the importance of frequent handwashing, social distancing, and the use of facial coverings.
Training & Resources
Contra Costa Health experts have provided several training and informational sessions to County Connection and Transdev (paratransit contractor) staff onsite, which have included topics surrounding COVID-19 and the proper use of PPE. The Authority maintains ongoing communication with the County Health department, leveraging as many resources as possible.
Through the Authority’s Wellness Program, staff have also had the opportunity to participate in webinars focused on overall health and wellness during COVID-19. County Connection has partnered with John Muir Health and Vital Nutrition & Wellness to provide these opportunities during this time.