Covid-19 Return to Work Health and Safety Advice
Employers in the UK are starting to see a glimmer of respite from lockdown as workers prepare to return to factories, offices and shops across the country. Your company’s preparation for this return to work is vital in order to stay compliant with remaining lockdown regulations, as well as to maintain the health and safety of your employees, suppliers and customers. At Goody Training Solutions we have been busy working on new Covid-19 risk assessment paperwork to help guide our clients through these difficult times; the government’s own advice runs to many pages and is undoubtably the last word in dos and don’ts but on a practical level a risk assessment template allows you to quickly and easily identify weak areas in your provision and make adjustments accordingly.
The crux of the current return to work strategy is three fold:
- Social Distancing
- Transmission Prevention
Coronavirus Hygiene In The Workplace
It is a daunting challenge to identify the myriad of surfaces and objects that are frequently touched or used by staff and customers but working out the highest risk areas is imperative to setting up an effective hygiene regime. Busy areas should be cleaned as frequently as possible, and in many cases PPE such as gloves may need to be provided for tasks like emptying bins. Any surfaces that need to be cleaned should be wiped down with a disposable cloth using a bleach solution.
Providing hand sanitiser at strategic points on site is recommended as well as providing hand drying facilities in wash rooms. This can be hand dryers or disposable paper towels but should not be a traditional cloth hand towel as this will increase the risk of transmission. Washrooms and toilets may also benefit from clear guidance on hygiene measures, such as wiping down surfaces before or after use, as well as prominently displaying guidance on hand washing techniques.
Maintaining Social Distancing On Your Return To Work
Current UK advice on social distancing requires a 2m zone between individuals. This won’t be possible in every situation but reducing close contact between staff makes it less likely that an infected individual will spread the virus, even if they aren’t showing symptoms. Where possible it is a good idea to separate individual workstations if there is sufficient desk or floor space available, and this may mean reducing the number of employees returning to the workplace initially, or perhaps setting up a staggered shift system. Many roles can be carried out successfully from home using modern technology to bridge the gap, and client and supplier meetings can often be held remotely using video conferencing facilities.
Where necessary floor markers and signs are a useful tool for reminding people to maintain a 6ft distance from each other, and one-way systems can also help to ease congestion and reduce the likelihood of transmission.
Coronavirus Transmission Prevention
Social distancing is not possible in all scenarios, particularly in customer facing roles in sectors such as retail and healthcare. The risk of transmission increases with proximity to the other party, as well as the length of time spent within that proximity. As such, measures such as reducing the amount of time spent within 2m of an individual or using a physical barrier such as a Perspex screen can help to reduce the risk of transmission.
If you do have groups of staff that need to interact closely with each other, try creating bubbles or teams of co-workers, who then remain within their bubble to as to reduce transmission to other staff members.
Free To Use Coronavirus Risk Assessment Checklist
If all of this sounds a bit daunting, Goody Training Solutions’ Covid-19 risk assessment checklist is provided here free to use.
We hope it will help to guide you through what you need to consider as you open for business again as lockdown lifts.
If you have any other questions or concerns about Coronavirus Health and Safety or any other aspect of Health and Safety training or risk assessments do not hesitate to get in touch.