What do I need to know?
On the evening of Sunday 10 May, Boris Johnson introduced an overview of the government’s phased plan to gradually move the country out of lockdown.
The measures, which came into force on Wednesday 13 May, include ‘unlimited’ time outdoors (as long as social distancing is maintained), encouraging those who can’t work from home – such as those in construction or manufacturing – to return to work and plans to open schools in stages. The country is now starting to look toward life beyond total lockdown.
As a business owner, you’re probably thinking about your next steps when it comes to opening the doors of your business. In this newsletter, I will look at the various things for you to consider, both regarding your premises and your staff. I will also introduce you to our New Covid-19 Assurance Assessment Service which is designed to ensure you are ‘Covid Secure’.
Coronavirus – Things to consider when starting back to work.
Stagnant/stale water will probably be found in your pipes and storage systems. You MUST NOT put a property back into use without first considering the water quality, as during this period of inactivity the water systems will have stagnated, or, if systems have been drained down there may be pockets of water that remained in the system.
During the lockdown period and after, The Health and Safety at Work etc Act still applies and as such Duty Holders must take all reasonably practicable steps to control the risk from legionella (and other waterborne pathogens) throughout this time.
We have been advised that the HSE is unlikely to treat this COVID-19 lockdown as any exemption to the Duty Holder being prosecuted should it be shown their actions [or lack of] caused a case/s or outbreak.
For each property / water system, a recommissioning plan should be detailed. The number of steps in this plan will vary depending on the complexity and size of the water systems and importantly on the people who will be using these systems, this includes those undertaking the recommissioning works.
Fire processes/procedures Despite the major changes that the fight against COVID-19 has introduced, the government has not relaxed fire safety requirements for business owners. Whether your business is currently closed, or you’re still operating during lockdown, it’s likely that your fire risk will change.
- Is your Fire Risk Assessment up to date? If your workplace has been closed – or if your way of working has significantly changed – that can change your fire risk.
- Are your escape routes still viable?
- Are your fire marshals coming back to work or are they furloughed? Can you train anyone else up in the meantime?
Covid-19: advice for first aiders
As with fire marshals being on furlough are your first aiders also furloughed? So here is some pointers for First Aiders so that they can continue to keep those they care for and themselves safe.
Be aware of the risks to yourself and others
When approaching a casualty there is always a risk of cross contamination – especially when you may have to get close to the casualty to assess what is wrong or to check their breathing. It is always important to be aware of the risks of how this cross contamination has occurred. According to NHS 111 we do not know exactly how coronavirus spreads from person to person but similar viruses are spread in cough droplets.
Keep yourself safe
In line with government advice, make sure you wash your hands or use an alcohol gel, before and after treating a casualty also ensure that you don’t cough or sneeze over a casualty when you are treating them.
The Resuscitation Council (UK) provides some useful advice of how to keep yourself safe when providing CPR. You can read their full advice on their website here.
Don’t lose sight of other cross contamination that could occur that isn’t related to COVID-19.
Wear gloves or cover hands when dealing with open wounds
Cover cuts and grazes on your hands with waterproof dressing
Dispose of all waste safely
Do not touch a wound with your bare hand
Do not touch any part of a dressing that will come in contact with a wound.
Give early treatment
The vast majority of incidents do not involve you getting close to a casualty where you would come into contact with cough droplets. Sensible precautions will ensure you are able to treat a casualty effectively.
Keep yourself informed and updated
As this is a new disease this is an ever changing situation and the government and NHS are continually updating their advice. Make sure that you regularly review the NHS 111 or Gov.uk website which has a specific section on Coronavirus.
Remember your own needs
These are challenging and uncertain times for all. The COVID-19 outbreak has meant a lot of upheaval and worry for people. In order to help others you will also need to look after your own needs. Make sure you take time to talk about your fears and concerns with someone you trust and to take out time to look after yourself.
Work from home if you can
The Government’s guidance states that “all reasonable steps” should be taken by employers to help people work from home but “for those who cannot work from home and whose workplace has not been told to close, our message is clear: you should go to work.”
If you’ve made the temporary move to homeworking, it’s now time to start considering how you will make that arrangement more permanent, at least in the medium to long term
Is homeworking a benefit for your business? Can you reduce overheads on office space by allowing more of it?
Do you have a homeworking policy?
Do you need to review your data protection policy where confidential and sensitive information is being taken home etc?
Have you undertaken a DSE (Display Screen Equipment) assessment of your employees’ home work station?
Have you given them advice on fire and electrical safety?
Carry out a COVID-19 risk assessment, and put relevant Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) and Respiratory Protective Equipment (RPE) in place
All businesses, regardless of size have to legally carry out a COVID-19-specific risk assessment, to establish what safety measures you need to put in place before your people start returning to the workplace.
The Government guidance also states “if possible, employers should publish the results of their risk assessments on their website and we expect all businesses with over 50 employees to do so”.
Maintain 2 metres social distancing, wherever possible, and if not possible, manage transmission risk
It’s highly likely that when it’s time for you to reopen your doors and start to introduce people back into the workplace, you’ll have to redesign your workplace to maintain the required 2-metre social distancing. If you can’t maintain 2-metre distancing, it’s down to you as an employer to put in place measures to manage the risk of COVID-19 transmission
Reinforcing cleaning processes
Safe hygiene practices are going to be key for a long time to come in the workplace and will be vital in managing transmission of the COVID-19 virus among your people.
Do you already have core hygiene practices in place?
Health & Well-being
An area of great concern for all businesses. Employees will undoubtedly have been impacted by the pandemic, some more directly than others either as recovering patients or bereaved individuals.
Businesses will also need to consider enhanced health surveillance provision for staff as identifying people who may be infected with Covid-19, or who have been in close personal contact with an infected person, and then isolating them from work for a period until they are clear of infection is considered to be a key control measure.
Typical support would include risk assessment reviews / development, identification of vulnerable staff, development of pre-return to work confidential health assessments, mental health training for managers and other designated staff, information and guidance, etc.
The Wilkins Safety Group’s NEW COVID-19: Assurance Assessment Service
The Wilkins Safety Group are now offering an assurance assessment service that focuses on five elements of business recovery and will help support your business take stock of the present situation and then grow in the future
We are offering professional support, guidance and independent assurance to enable companies to develop and ensure they have suitable Covid controls within the workplace.
Our technical support can provide you with the independent assurance that your COVID-19 workplace safety, health and environmental arrangements are in accordance with current guidance and best practice as a minimum standard.
We can also support you as the guidelines, requirements and circumstances change to ensure your workplace remains as safe and healthy as is reasonably practicable.
The following five factors provide the framework for the consultancy services:
Organisational context (risk management)
Operational processes (risk assessment, safe operating procedures, etc)
Facilities and workplace health and safety (workplace adjustments, etc).
Our technical support includes:
Support for workplace procedure development and reviews (including social distancing, health surveillance, workplace control measures, emergency planning, PPE, etc)
Health and wellbeing guidance (including mental health factors)
Communication and information
Leadership and behavioural factors
Perhaps the most critical aspect of a return to the workplace. Compliance with statutory regulations has not been removed during the pandemic, therefore we can provide guidance in respect to this matter for clients who are seeking to return to offices, shops, factories or warehouses
Revised procedures and arrangements may well require physical adjustments within the workplace in respect of access, egress, emergency event management, use of equipment, PPE, cleaning regimes, use of elevators, movement and flow of persons within the premises, waste management, social distancing controls, welfare and hygiene controls, etc
Typical support would include review and/or development of workplace controls, processes, based upon relevant risk assessment outcomes and relevant national and sector guidelines.
As part of this support we will provide you with Your COVID-19 Five-Point Action Plan and, on completion, your Covid 19 Secure Certificate
This is new territory for all of us, but for almost 30 years we’ve been a trusted guide to excellent health, safety and environmental management. Our experience will help you achieve the very highest health, safety and wellbeing standards, so you can protect your people, your reputation and your bottom line.
To find out more about how we can help you plan for the return to work, please contact us on 01458 253682 or email.
Coronavirus (Covid-19) and Pandemic Awareness E-Course
This online eLearning course is the essential Coronavirus (Covid-19) and pandemic awareness training that has been developed to provide vital awareness for staff and employees of any business.
Using a combination of text, images, video and interactive content the eLearning course looks at how pandemics and epidemics are spread and the potential risks in the workplace as well as how to protect yourself from being infected. It includes the latest health advice for Coronavirus as well as the symptoms to look out for and what to do if you think you’ve been infected. Crucially, it also provides a practical video on how to wash your hands.
In addition, the course covers information on how viruses are transmitted and the control measures to take to reduce transmission and infection. It looks at high risk groups, isolation as well as the chain of infection.
Importantly, the online training course will help to minimise the impact to your business and staff. The information contained in the course provides advice on preventative measures and what to do if further action is required.
As with our CPD accredited courses the SCORM compliant Coronavirus (Covid-19) and pandemic awareness training allows businesses to quickly and easily deploy pandemic training to a workforce. The simple-to-use learning platform provides an audit trail for all employees and stores their training records.
By the end of the Coronavirus and Pandemic Awareness course you will have learned about:
- Description of the Coronavirus
- Proportionate measures
- How to stay safe – Hygiene advice
- Facts or fiction
- What to do if you feel unwell
- Covid-19 advice
- Bulk buying – Fact or fiction
- Self-isolation advice
- Touching your face – fact or fiction
- The difference between an endemic, epidemic and pandemic
- Recent pandemics
- High risk groups
- Introduction to viruses
- Transmission from hard surfaces
- Hygiene advice
- Flu vaccinations
- Treating symptoms
- Face masks advice
- The chain of infection
- Incubation and infection
- Sources of information
Pandemic Awareness: COVID-19 course content
- Understanding Pandemics
- How Viruses Spread
- The Chain of Infection
Who should complete this course?
The Pandemic Awareness: COVID-19 course is designed for all employees at all levels.
Prior Learning? – None required
Pre Course learning? – None required
Certification – All learners who successfully complete the module will be issued with a certificate of learning
Duration – Approximately 20 minutes
What is the cost of this course?
Companies will be able to buy credits. Each of these credits will allow 1 allocated person access to 1 course. The cost of these credits will reduce based on the number of credits purchased. See pricing chart below:
All online training courses are reduced by 20% for the next few weeks. The discount will be applied at the checkout automatically.
Remember – There is no limit on the time it takes to use the credits