How Do I Protect My Workers?

Although many employees have now been placed on furlough, many remain working in these difficult times. It is not always possible, given the diverse nature of roles and businesses for many employees to work from home. Therefore, we have collated a few key points to continue to consider at this time. We know that many of our clients are and have been operating within these guidelines for their key workers; therefore, posted to serve as a timely reminder to all as we enter the fourth week of social distancing.

The following is drawn from Government Guidance for employers and businesses on coronavirus (COVID-19) and IOSH Preventative measures.

Areas to consider.

  • different working shifts so that employee overlap is kept at a minimum
  • split site or location operations where feasible.
  • provide the workforce with access to appropriate hygiene facilities such hot water, soap, hand sanitiser and bins to dispose of used tissues.
  • encourage the use of digital and remote transfers of material where possible rather than paper format, such as using e-forms, emails and e-banking.
  • explore different team and start of shift briefings using tablets, conducted outdoors, and record attendance with photography rather than signing with a pen if required.
  • provide additional pop-up handwashing stations or facilities if possible, providing soap, water, hand sanitiser and tissues and encourage staff to use them
  • where it is possible to remain 2 metres apart, use floor markings to mark the distance, particularly in the most crowded areas
  • as much as possible, keep teams of workers together (cohorting), and keep teams as small as possible
  • advise workers to:
    • wash hands frequently with alcohol-based hand wash or wash with soap and water for at least 20 seconds wherever possible. This advice applies both to inside the workplace, and to where employees may need to interact with customers. Employees should be reminded to wash their hands regularly using soap and water for 20 seconds and particularly after blowing their nose, sneezing or coughing.
    • maintain social distancing – maintain at least 2 meters (6 feet distance) between yourself and anyone who is coughing or sneezing
    • avoid touching eyes, mouth and nose
    • use the nearest waste receptacle to dispose of the tissue after use
    • not come into the workplace if feeling unwell

What if the work tasks(s) make maintaining the 2 metre (3 steps) distance not possible?

  • employees should work side by side, or facing away from each other, rather than face to face if possible
  • where face-to-face contact is essential, this should be kept to 15 minutes or less wherever possible
  • consider one-in one-out if possible, the two-person job can still be done with distance between them
  • look hard at the task – e.g. if a two-person lifting operation, consider if there really is not an option to mechanise the lifting.

What should I do if an employee had symptoms in the workplace or has been diagnosed?

  • send the employee home
  • advise colleagues who worked in close contact to call 111
  • identify all areas that were occupied by person in the last 72 hours
  • quarantine the areas and vehicle, if necessary for at least 72 hours, or clean all touch point surfaces using soap and water and/or sanitiser and following Government cleaning advice and good personal hygiene practices
  • consider a specialist cleaning or at least take advice on the approach to follow and PPE to wear.

Do I need to report an employee Covid 19 case under RIDDOR?

  • The Health and Safety Executive (HSE) set out new guidance in April where incidents of coronavirus may be reportable. They are:
    • an unintended incident at work has led to someone’s possible or actual exposure to coronavirus – report as a dangerous occurrence; or
    • a worker has been diagnosed as having COVID-19 and there is reasonable evidence that it was caused by exposure at work – report as a case of disease.
  • There must be reasonable evidence suggesting that a work-related exposure was the likely cause of the disease and this is supported by a registered medical practitioner’s diagnosis.

 

For more advice and practical support that you can offer to an employee during these difficult periods, please contact Clover HR on 0121 516 0299 or email us at info@cloverhr.co.uk

 

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