RETURNING TO WORK DURING AND AFTER COVID-19
For many people, going back to work is a positive and exciting time - a step towards regaining a sense of normality, but for others, it can be daunting. There’s no right or wrong way to feel, we would like ease some of the concerns you may have about returning to the workplace and your safety. While many of us are still unsure of how or when we will be returning to work, the government are periodically reviewing the restrictions on businesses. We advise that you continue to follow government advice at all times in order to avoid a potential outbreak in the workplace.
Social distancing at work
This will involve reducing contact with people as much as is possible in the day to day tasks. For those who are not able to work from home and return to the workplace in line with government guidance, we will follow social distancing measures that have been put in place. To make sure that on returning to the workplace you are aware of these measures they are listed below:
• Keeping a 2-metre distance from people
• Avoiding gatherings of people, for example, using online meetings instead of physical ones
• Altering seating arrangements for employees to ensure the working distances are adhered to
• On top of the above, you should also try to transfer paperwork electronically to reduce the need for multiple people coming into contact with it
• Staggering the hours/patterns/breaks where required to ensure there are no mass gatherings of employees
• Restricting the number of employees & customers into the workplace, or implementing a oneway system in the workplace to reduce crossovers
• Government advice states - people should aim to wear a face-covering in enclosed spaces where social distancing is not always possible and they come into contact with others that they do not normally meet
LIMITING VISITORS AND ACCESS TO THE BUILDING
Until we are told otherwise from the Government, we will be limiting the number of visitors/contractors to the workplace, only allowing visitors that are critical to the business into the workplace. These critical visitors/contractors may include;
• Delivery or collection services
• Contractors that may be carrying out statutory repairs and services e.g. fire systems
• Contractors that may be carrying out emergency works members of the public purchasing goods
Where allowing visitors/contractors into the workplace is unavoidable we will introduce as required;
Drop off and collection points
• Different types of entry and exit points for employees (to prevent cross-contamination)
• Restricting the number of people on the premises at one time
• Creating one-way systems to restrict the amount of cross over people have
GOOD LEVELS OF HYGIENE
In order to help minimize the spread of COVID-19, we need to ensure everybody has a full understanding of infection prevention and control methods. This might include regular deep cleans of the premises, regular cleaning and making sure that all employees are up to date on good hygiene measures. Good hygiene measures may include:
Installing hand sanitizer and dispensers (as required and as available) in the business
• Putting disinfectant sprays and wipes near entrances and exits, kitchens, offices, anywhere where you may interact with customers and colleagues
• Provide staff with the tools to keep workspaces clean to encourage similar practices in the rest of the workplace
• Provide staff with personal tools and equipment so nothing is shared
• Conduct meetings online if possible, to reduce the need for personal interaction
• Providing PPE as required
STAFF (PERSONAL) HYGIENE
As an employee, you are also responsible for taking care of your health and safety at work, as well as taking due care for other people’s health and safety. You can reduce the risk of spreading infection by maintaining a high standard of personal health and hygiene. In relation to COVID-19, personal hygiene can be broken down into 2 main factors - hand hygiene and respiratory hygiene.
Ensure that you are regularly washing the hands and if this is not possible then using hand sanitizer (must be 60% alcohol).
The key steps in handwashing are:
• Use clean, hot, running water and soap – preferably antibacterial soap
• Wet the hands thoroughly.
• Rub soap into the palms to form a lather.
• Clean the hands for 20 to 30 seconds. Go between the right and left hand for each of these areas – the backs, between the fingers, the thumbs and the wrists. Remember to check and clean the fingernails too.
• Then rinse the soap off with clean, hot, running water.
• Turn the tap off with a disposable hand towel to avoid re-contaminating the hands.
• Dry the hands thoroughly using a second disposable hand towel or a hand dryer.
• Make sure you DRY the hands properly – it's easier for harmful bacteria to spread if the hands are wet or damp.
Cover the mouth with a tissue when you sneeze or blow the nose, dispose of the tissue immediately, then wash the hands, using the above handwashing instructions. If you are unable to wash the hands immediately, use a hand sanitizer which contains 60% alcohol.
HOW WORKPLACES MAY CHANGE WHEN LOCKDOWN IS EASED…
While we are still living in a time of uncertainty and the rules and regulations are changing regularly, we have provided some general guidance so we can work together to continue to reduce the spread of the infection.
GENERAL GUIDANCE FOR ALL WORKPLACES
• Alter seating plans to fulfill social distancing requirements
• Try to reduce or eliminate the possibility of facing one another when working, for example working back to back or alongside each other
• Staggered shifts and break times
• If washing is problematic then providing hand sanitizer (must be 60% alcohol) around the building - specifically near surfaces that are regularly touched by multiple people
• Regulating the use of corridors, entrances/exits and staircases
• Providing more parking to reduce the need for public transport if possible
• Providing facilities to wash uniforms at work if required so employees don’t need to take them home
• Providing protective screens for public-facing employees if required
• Restricting the amount of movement between the areas e.g. assigning work to a specific floor
• On (no earlier than) the 4th July, the Government is currently planning open at least some of the remaining businesses and premises that have been required to close
• Continue to work from home where possible
• Planning to have a minimal number of people on-site at any given time
• Taking breaks outside to avoid coming into contact with other people Limit the use of shared office equipment
• Continue to use virtual tools to host meetings
• Providing hand sanitizer (must be 60% alcohol) in meeting rooms
• If we must hold meetings, do so in well-ventilated rooms and keep meeting attendees spread out (with a 2-metre gap)
WORKERS ENTERING OTHER PEOPLE’S HOMES
• Do not carry out work in a house where someone is isolating or has been asked to shield away from other people
• Contacting the occupants to discuss how best to minimize contact before visiting
• Avoiding contact with any vulnerable people in the house
• Assigning employees to work in houses who live close, to reduce transportation Keep the same fitters assigned to a household for each visit
• Using PPE where possible
• Washing hands upon entering the house and keeping 2 meters apart. Take breaks outside and bringing your own food and drink
• Identify busy parts of the house e.g. stairs, toilets, corridors and avoid where possible
• Asking people to leave doors open to reduce the need for opening and touching doors
• Avoiding direct contact where possible and limiting the number of workers at any one time on the premises
FACTORIES AND WAREHOUSES
• Regularly clean objects, services, vehicles, equipment, tools, work areas and delivery boxes. This should be done after each use or at the end of each shift where possible
• Limiting the number of people in company vehicles
• Removing waste from the building at the end of a shift
• Servicing and adjusting ventilation systems
• Providing hand sanitizer (must be 60% alcohol) at vehicles & delivery points if washing facilities are not available
• Recording any visitors
• Working outdoors when you can
Only workers who are essential to carry out the work should attend Provide information and signage to members of the public so they can maintain social distancing In emergencies (fires, accidents, break-ins) social distancing does not need to take place Provide the necessary training to people hosting visitors
WORKING IN A VEHICLE
• Regularly cleaning vehicles
• Providing hand sanitizer (must be 60% alcohol) or wipes within vehicles Reduce the number of people at depots or distribution centers
• Schedule collection times if possible
• Ensuring good ventilation in the vehicle
• Ensure it is the same people in a vehicle together if they need to be together frequently
• Limit exposure to large groups and rush hours
• Use one person to load/unload vehicles Drivers should remain in the vehicle if possible
• Arrange non-contact deliveries where possible
• Prepare for goods to be dropped off to a previously agreed area to avoid transmission, e.g. click and collect type arrangements
• Wearing washable face masks to reduce the risk to colleagues