As COVID-19 restrictions are eased and people return to work, businesses should continue to follow the relevant government guidance on working safely and put in place measures to reduce the risk of COVID-19 transmission.
It is vital that your workplace is COVID-secure following on from completing a COVID risk assessment. Consider how this applies to visitors, deliveries, suppliers, contractors as well as colleagues and those working on building sites or in other people’s homes. Home working should continue where possible.
While COVID-19 restrictions are changing and vaccinations more widespread, there is still a need to secure supply and stock basic COVID-19 PPE – even just for peace of mind. Ensure that you have additional stock available as more colleagues return to work.
The following workplace controls remain unchanged:
Social Distancing – Continue to encourage wearing masks or visors, install screens, display signs and posters prominently and mark out 2 metre areas. Use back-to-back or side-to-side working (rather than face-to-face) whenever possible. Arrange journeys between sites to be with the same individuals and limit the number of people travelling per vehicle. Use a fixed pairing system if workers have to be in close proximity.
Adequate Ventilation – Think about balancing keeping people warm with providing natural ventilation. Adjust workwear allocations to include warmer clothing. When travelling as a team, keep the vehicle windows open.
Frequent Cleaning – especially commonly touched surfaces. Use appropriate wipes for objects, surface, vehicles, workstations and other equipment at work but also off site and in people’s homes. Put in place rotas for deep cleaning and periodic cleaning. If you change your usual regime, then check that products are suitable for the surface and environment.
Good Hand Hygiene – place hand sanitisers and tissues at entry and exit points, in crowded areas, vehicles and loading bays as well as providing soap and paper towels in washrooms. Limit tool sharing if possible. If working in someone’s home, ask householders to leave all internal doors open to minimise contact with door handles. Avoiding transmission during appointments, for example, from sharing pens, documents and other objects.
Regular Workforce Testing – You must not go to work if you or anyone in your household has symptoms or has tested positive for coronavirus. Equally, no work should be carried out in a household which is isolating.
All PPE issued to prevent the spread of COVID-19 should be:
- Correctly fitted, taking into account any impairment or health condition, as well as body shape.
- Located close to the point of use.
- Stored correctly.
- Disposed of after use into the correct waste bin.
It’s natural that people might be anxious about returning to work after time away from the workplace during the pandemic. Tell them how you’re making any adjustments to protect them at work. Explain how health and safety continues to be reviewed and how the risks are being managed.