Employers…Get Your Workplace Ready For COVID-19
What do you mean get ready by Getting your workplace ready for COVID-19? well, in January 2020 the World Health Organisation or WHO for short announced the outbreak of a new Coronavirus disease or chemically known as COVID-19 in the Hubei Province of China to be a Public Health Emergency of International Concern. WHO stated there is very high risk of the 2020 coronavirus disease (COVID-19) spreading to other countries around the world.
The World Health Organisation and public health authorities in the UK and all over the world are taking necessary action to contain, limit the spread and as a result reduce the number of deaths related to the the COVID-19 outbreak. However, the long term success and breakthrough cannot be taken for granted by any of us, all sections of our society, including businesses and employers must play a role if we are to stop the spread of this disease.
How COVID-19 spreads
If someone who has COVID-19 (coronavirus) breathes or coughs out they release minute droplets of infected COVID-19 fluid. The majority of these droplets can fall on nearby objects, surfaces, equipment, machinery, parcels, door handles and many more objects such as desks, tables or telephones and everyone could catch coronavirus disease COVID-19 by touching already objects, surfaces or materials and then followed by touching their eyes, nose or mouth. If they are standing within one meter of a person with Coronavirus they can catch it by the breathing in of droplets, which is easier than you might think when it’s simply breath or talking to each other at very close distance and this is why you MUST conform to the UK government social distancing guidelines.
Most people who have COVID-19 Coronavirus experience quite mild symptoms and recover, however, some infected patients experience a more life threatening illness Such as Boris Johnson and may need intensive hospital care. The risk of a serious coronavirus illness rises with age, as an example people over 40 years old seem to be more vulnerable patients under 40 years old. Anyone who has got a weakened immune system with underlying conditions such as diabetes, heart and lung disease are also more vulnerable to serious coronavirus illness.
This information provides advice with simple ways to help prevent the spread of coronavirus COVID-19 within your place of work, how to manage coronavirus COVID-19 risks if arranging meetings or events, things to think about when you or your staff travel to and from the workplace ready in case coronavirus COVID-19 arrives in your area. Simple ways to prevent the spread of COVID-19 in your workplace.
The low-cost actions as below can help prevent the spread of coronavirus disease (COVID-19) infections in your workplace, such as colds, flu and stomach bugs, and protect your customers, contractors, contractor and staff. Employers need start doing these things NOW, even if COVID-19 has not yet got into your area or workplace as it might do. where do your staff operate from?. Think about reducing working days lost due to illness and prevent or slow the spread of COVID-19 if it arrives to your workplaces, office or factory.
Ensure your workplaces are thoroughly cleaned and hygienic, surfaces like desks, tables and objects such phones and computer keyboards should be wiped with disinfectant on a regular basis. Why? Well coronavirus contamination on surfaces which is then touched by staff, visitors, contractor and the general public is one of the main ways that COVID-19 spreads.
Ensure frequent and thorough hand-washing and hand sanitising by staff, visitors, contractors and customers, ensure sanitising bottles and stations are in prominent places around your workplace. make sure these hand washing stations are kept refilled, display posters and signs that promote hand-washing and mix this with more communication measures such as some guidance from your health and safety department, at meetings promote hand-washing, hand sanitising and regular cleaning. Ensure that your staff, contractors and the general public have access to your toilets and washrooms so they can wash their hands with soap and water, Why? Because regular hand washing kills the virus on your hands and will help prevent the spread of COVID 19.
Encourage respiratory hygiene in your workplace, display posters and signs demonstrating respiratory hygiene, again mix this with further communications such as guidance from occupational health and safety officers. You can ask your staff to wear face masks and always have paper tissues readily available within your workplace, anyone who gets a runny nose or cough at work, make sure you get bins that close for hygienically disposing of them Why? Well good respiratory hygiene helps prevent the spreading of COVID-19. Advise staff and contractors to check national travel information before business trips. Tell your staff, contractors and visitors that if COVID-19 starts spreading in your area anyone who has a mild cough or low-grade fever temperature of 37.3 C or more has to stay at home.
Regular communication and encouraging the message that everyone needs to stay home even if it’s just mild symptoms they have of COVID-19. Display posters with this message in your workplaces. and mix this with further communications such as staff meetings that you may regularly hold in your workplace, your health services, local health authority or other partners might have produced promotional material to promote this message, ensure your employees are aware that they will be able to count this time off as sick leave.
Managing COVID-19 risks at meetings or events
Why do employers and businesses need to think about COVID-19? Companies that are organisers of events and meetings have to think about the risks from COVID-19 as here is a chance that anyone attending the meetings or events may well be unknowingly be bringing the COVID-19 Coronavirus to the meeting and everyone else might be unknowingly exposed to COVID-19. While COVID-19 is a mild disease for lots of people, it has the potential to make some people very ill indeed. Around 1 in every 5 people who contract COVID-19 will need hospital treatment.
Important considerations to prevent or reduce COVID-19 risks
Prior to the meeting or event see the advice from your local authorities in where you want to hold your meetings or events, follow their advice, arrange a plan and agree a preparedness plan to help prevent infection at your meeting or event, think about whether a face-to-face meeting or event is required or could it be replaced by a skype or an online event?, it it possible your meeting or events be scaled down so that not as many people attend?.
Pre-order plenty of supplies including tissues and hand sanitiser for all participants, you could have surgical masks available to offer people who might develop respiratory symptoms, monitor whereabouts COVID-19 is circulating and inform everyone in advance that if they show any symptoms or are feeling unwell then they should not attend. Ensure all organisers, participants, caterers and any visitors at the event provide their contact details such as mobile number, email and the address of where they are staying. Ensure you tell them that their details will be shared with the local public health authorities so if anyone becomes ill with a suspected infectious disease, if they don’t agree with this then they cannot attend the event or meeting. Create and agree an action plan just in case someone at the meeting becomes ill with symptoms of COVID-19 (dry cough, fever, malaise). This plan needs to include at least a room or area where anyone who is feeling unwell or has symptoms can be safely isolated.
Include in your plan for how unwell people can be safely transported from there to a hospital, understand what to do if a participant, member of staff or service provider tests positive for COVID-19 during or following the meeting, prepare the plan well in advance with your local healthcare provider or health department. During your meeting or event provide relevant information or a briefing, you can do it both orally and in writing, on COVID-19 and the action steps that organisers are taking to ensure this event safe for everyone involved. Gain trust, for example, as an icebreaker, practice ways of greeting without touching or handshaking, promote regular hand-washing or use of an alcohol rub by everyone at the meeting or event, encourage everyone to cover their face with their elbow or a tissue if they need to cough or sneeze. Supply tissues and bins that close to dispose of them in, provide the contact details or a health care hotline number that everyone can call for advice or to provide information.
Install dispensers of alcohol-based hand sanitisers around the venue. If there is enough space, arrange seats so that everyone are at least 2 meters apart, to help with this you can place social distancing signs on the floor, keep windows and doors wherever possible to ensure the venue is well ventilated, should anyone who start to feel unwell, follow your plan or call your hotline depending on the situation in your area, or recent travel of the person, put the person in the isolation room and offer the person a mask so they can get home safely if appropriate or to a designated hospital. Thank everyone for their co-operation with the provisions in place. Following the meeting keep the names and contact details of everyone for at least one month, this will help public health authorities trace people who may have been exposed to COVID-19 if one or more participants become ill shortly after the event. If anyone at the meeting or event was isolated as contracting COVID-19, the organiser should let everyone else know this. They need to be advised to monitor themselves for any symptoms for 14 days and take their temperature twice a day, if they get even a mild cough or low-grade fever .e. a temperature of 37.3 C or more they should stay at home and self-isolate and follow the UK government guideline.
This means avoiding close contact (2 meters or nearer) with other people, this inclues family members, they should also telephone their healthcare provider or the local public health department, giving them details of their recent travel and symptoms. Thank everyone for their co-operation with the provisions in place, consider when you and your employees travel, before travelling ensure your business and its employees have the latest information on areas where COVID-19 is spreading.
In these times of unprecedented disruptions, the UK Government is not requesting all businesses to close, rightly it is vital for businesses to continue. Only a few non-essential shops as well as public venues have been requested to close. The UK government is fully aware that employers and businesses are concerned about how they can stay open for business and be open safely, and in doing so play an important role in preventing the spread of the coronavirus. All employees have been asked to work from home unless it is impossible for them to do so. Not everybody can work from home, specific jobs need people to travel to, from and for their work, as an example to operate machinery in the workplace, work in the building industry or in manufacturing, or to deliver front line services.
Businesses including workplaces need to make it easier for staff to work from home to enable working from home as a first option, if working from home is not possible, workplaces need to ensure they comply with the social distancing guidelines as set out by the UK government.
Employees who are vulnerable or very vulnerable, as well as people who they live with, need to be supported as they adhere the guidelines as layed out in guidance on social distancing and shielding. In cases where social distancing rules can’t be followed in full in relation to a specific activity, employers need to consider if the working practices needs to continue for the business to function and if so to ensure all the mitigating actions possible to help reduce the risk of contracting the coronavirus between their employees, visitors, contractors and in some cases the general public.
Employees who become unwell with the symptoms of coronavirus (COVID-19) must not travel to or attend their place of work, staff may feel anxious about attending work as well as the effect on their livelihoods. Employers must ensure staff are kept up to date briefed and fully supported during this unprecedented time of disruption. Any member of your staff who gets any symptoms of coronavirus (COVID-19), a new continuous cough and or a high temperature are required to be sent home and stay home for 7 days from when they got the symptoms. If the employee lives in a house where another person is unwell with symptoms of coronavirus (COVID-19) then it is vital they stay at home in as per the stay at home guidance.
Your employees may need your help to adhere to the advice of stay at home to reduce the spread of coronavirus (COVID-19) to other members of staff and have be reminded to wash their hands for 20 seconds more often as well as catching coughs and sneezes in tissues. Regularly and thoroughly clean, disinfect and sanitise surfaces and items that are touched regularly by anyone using your cleaning products, employees who follow advice to stay at home will be eligible for statutory sick pay (SSP) from the first day of their absence from work.
Ensure everyone in the workplace is kept updated on all actions being introduced to help reduce risks of exposure to coronavirus (COVID-19), around your workplace make sure employees that are in the vulnerable group of people need to be told to follow social distancing measures to help ensure staff who are in a very vulnerable group should be shielded by staying at home.
Ensure your managers can spot symptoms of coronavirus (COVID-19) and understand the processes, for example employees who report sick as well as sick pay, as well as the procedures to take in case anyone in your workplace is possibly infected with coronavirus (COVID-19) and is required to take the right actions and ensure there are facilities to wash their hands for 20 seconds with soap and water, and encourage everybody to regularly provide hand sanitiser and tissues for employees and remind them to use them on a regular basis.
Social distancing measures are to help reduce day-to-day contact with other people as much as possible, to help reduce the spread of coronavirus (COVID-19). Businesses and workplaces must encourage their staff to work at home where possible.
The recommendations with social distancing measures is required by everyone and should be followed where possible, Workplaces must avoid gatherings and reduce the potential for the coronavirus to spread by ensuring a distance of at least 2 metres between everyone where it is possible. These social distancing measures is required both to inside of your workplace and to where your employees might need to deal with customers or the general public, your employees need to be reminded to wash their hands on a regular basis using soap and water for 20 seconds and especially after sneezing, coughing or blowing their nose, if you don’t have facilities for them to wash their hands such as drivers then hand sanitiser should be used. staff should cover any sneezes or coughs with tissues and dispose of the tissues in a bin and immediately wash their hands.
Make regular updates to remind employees and customers to follow social distancing measures, you can help do this by installing social distancing floor signs or stickers and wash their hands regular basis and where it is possible to remain 2 metres apart, use social distancing floor markings to mark out the distance of 2 metres especially in the most crowded areas such as where queuing, if it isn’t possible to keep 2 metres apart, employees should work side by side, or facing away from one another rather than face to face.
Use floor signage or floor stickers such as floor footprint stickers to direct the movement of people into lanes, if possible, whilst maintaining a 2 metre distance, control the entry of people to ensure that your premises don’t become overcrowded. use additional coronavirus (COVID-19) signage such as coronavirus posters or (COVID-19) posters to remind everyone of the symptoms and the social distancing measures.
Following the latest government update regarding the coronavirus and social distancing it has been announced that as from the 4th July all pubs, hotels, shops, holiday parks and non-essential shops can now re-open provided that specific social distancing measures are put in place to ensure everyone’s safety to help prevent contracting the coronavirus.