As we begin to see the light at the end of the lockdown tunnel, businesses across the country will be looking forward to returning to some form of normality.
Nevertheless, the threat of coronavirus is by no means gone, and the lessons of the past few months will encourage businesses and other institutions to remain vigilant and to take all the necessary precautions in order to ensure employees and the public can remain safe.
This blog will outline the main steps that can be taken to help your workplace become COVID-19 secure.
Social Distancing – Keep 2m Apart
In line with official government guidance, the nation is still being advised to maintain a 2m distance between themselves and people from outside their households, if possible. There are several actions employers can take to encourage this.
Firstly, if it is possible for employees to perform their job from home, this should be encouraged. This will allow for more space in the workplace and help those who do have to come on site maintain a 2m distance between themselves and others.
Keeping a 2m distance may not always be possible when workplaces lack sufficient space. However, there are still actions that can be taken to manage the transmission risk. For example, assessing to what extent the activity set to take place is absolutely crucial for the business to operate. If it is not, then perhaps it could be postponed for another time or done where a 2m distance can be kept. If the activity is essential, then employers should see how they can complete it in the shortest time possible.
Another way to encourage social distancing is to stagger arrival and departure times; thereby reducing the number of people who are working at one time. Employers may also choose to implement ‘fixed teams or partnering’, limiting the number of people that employees have to work alongside by ascribing them to a specific group that they will be required to work alongside only.
Marking the floor with tape is useful in helping people know where to stand so they keep 2m apart.
To support these social distancing measures, we now stock a range of bold and clear signs that communicate the 2m rule and some floor stickers to help clearly mark this distance in queues or waiting areas.
Protective Screens or Back-to-Back Methods
Those that have been to supermarkets and other such places will have become familiar with the use of protective screens to encourage social distancing. Workplaces may choose to use protective screening in instances where it is not possible to adhere to keeping a 2m distance.
Another method that has the same desired effect is to encourage workers to work back-to-back or side-to-side rather than facing one another.
Develop Cleaning, Hand-Washing and Hygiene Procedures
Good personal hygiene practices and regular cleaning of surfaces and high contact points, such as buttons and door handles, is one of the most effective ways to stop the spread of any virus or illness as it will instantly kill any lingering germs.
In order to make sure that this is the norm across your workplace, all employees or visitors on the site should be encouraged to wash their hands thoroughly following the official hand-washing guidance (for at least 20 second).
There should be an adequate supply of hand sanitizer around the workplace and washrooms with many businesses now fitting hand-sanitiser dispensers by every entrance and exit of the building.
Employers should also ensure that areas which are touched frequently are cleaned with disinfectant, and those busy areas are cleaned frequently. This may require a cleaning schedule to be established and shared amongst your workers, or you may choose to hire the services of a cleaner if this was not already in place.
There should be adequate signage in toilets with the correct facilities, including hand drying facilities, which should be either paper towels or electrical dryers – NOT a single towel where users are expected to share.
We can provide you with the appropriate signage to promote these new hygiene rules and remind employees, workers and customers to abide by them at every opportunity.
If you require any further support with getting your workplace COVID-19 secure before re-opening, then our Health and Safety Consultants can provide you with a comprehensive COVID-19 risk assessment to ensure that all of the above has been appropriately implemented.
Email us today on [email protected] for further information