As the UK starts to ease the lockdown measures which saw many businesses cease operations this year, Public Health England (PHE) has issued some clear guidance to facilitate safe reopening. The COvid-19 outbreak raised many concerns about the risk of transmission through work environments where staff are in close proximity to each other.
Many business owners are understandably cautious about reopening in this unprecedented time. To support our customers who are currently working towards reopening their operations, we’ve summarised the five key steps outlined by PHE on keeping teams safe as they start back to work.
Conduct a risk assessment prior to reopening
PHE suggests that business owners need to conduct a Covid-19-specific risk assessment, following guidance issued by the Health & Safety Executive. This includes getting in touch with your staff and any relevant trade unions, and sharing the outputs of the risk assessment with your team. They also recommend publishing the outputs on your company website.
Enhance hand sanitization and hygiene facilities
The guidance for business owners suggests that it’s important to develop consistent cleaning, handwashing and hygiene for your team. This includes providing clear information for your team on following the established guidance for regular hand sanitization, and providing ample hand sanitizer products and dispenses all around the work environment – not just limited to washrooms.
PHE also recommends that objects and surfaces which are frequently touched are cleaned and disinfected regularly. Busy areas need to be deep-cleaned often to prevent transmission of the virus. Business owners also need to provide adequate hand drying facilities, in the form of paper towels or electric dryers.
Encourage remote working where practical
It goes without saying that remote working for staff is a significant benefit for those businesses which can sustain it, so firm owners are encouraged to facilitate this wherever possible. If feasible, provide staff with the required hardware, software and office furniture to work from home safely. Configure remote systems access, and check in often with staff members working remotely, to maintain health and wellbeing in these circumstances.
Implement the recommended two metre distancing
It’s suggested that the current 2m rule on social distancing be maintained wherever possible, by implementing appropriate signage to remind staff to stay apart from their colleagues, and avoiding shared workstations. Use floor tape or paint to mark out areas to enable people to flow through the work environment while maintaining distance, preferably implementing one way traffic.
Where this is not possible, reduce the risk of transmission by streamlining your business operations to undertake only the most essential elements, and using screens or barriers wherever possible, to separate people safely. PHE recommends seating staff back to back, or side by side, rather than facing each other, and implementing ‘partnering’ systems so the same staff work with each other day to day.
If you’re currently implementing measures to reopen your business with the new guidance in place, let us help. SureSan’s range of sanitization products provide an approved approach to maintaining effective sanitization in the workplace.
For more information visit the gov.uk website