COVID-19 and the Workplace

Updated: Jun 1, 2020

Unprecedented, Furlough, Social Distancing, Shielding, Self-Isolation, Flattening the Curve and Whutan.

Just some of the words that have become part of everyday vocabulary, that up until only a couple of short months ago many of us would never have even read, never mind used, how things change.

The Greek philosopher Heraclitus is quoted to say “Change is the only Constant in life”. When was this phrase more relative than now?

December 2019, everyone on the planet is undergoing normal life, enjoying the freedoms that life brings such as going to the beach, eating and drinking in pubs and restaurants, meeting friends, Christmas markets and going to sporting events. Just normal life, right? Well not in a province in the Democratic Republic of China. A new Coronavirus was about to introduce itself to the world.

The name later given to this Coronavirus was Covid-19.

What does COVID-19 stand for I hear you ask! COrona VIrus Disease – 2019. Everyday is a school day.

Fast forward 5 long torturous months. We have statics quoted daily by politicians at the daily briefing sessions. 36,675 UK deaths later (Remember every single death is a family tragedy)

Statistically the UK is starting to plan ahead for the future, starting to get more exercise, able to go to garden centres and to be able to go to beauty spots for our exercise.

More importantly many industries are going back to work. The economy needs a boost, the treasury must refill its coffers and jobs need saved.

For mental well-being after 9 weeks of lock-down it is also important for these measures to take place, but I also know that there will be differing opinion on the subject as to whether that it is the correct decision or not.

Is your workplace Covid-19 secure?

The government have issued industry specific advice which can be found on the government website via the following link.

I want to focus on the 5 practical steps for businesses to take.

1. Carry out a Covid-19 Risk Assessment.

Link to Covid part of my website. - Will do when domain attached

Before restarting work you should ensure the safety of the workplace by:

  • Carrying out a risk assessment in line with HSE guidelines.

  • Consulting with your workers.

  • Sharing the results of your risk assessment with your workforce and on your website.

2. Develop cleaning, hand washing and hygiene procedures.

You should increase the frequency of hand washing by:

  • encouraging people to follow the guidelines.

  • provide hand sanitiser around the workplace.

  • frequently cleaning and disinfecting surfaces and objects that are touched regularly.

  • enhancing cleaning for busy areas.

  • setting clear use and cleaning guidance for toilets.

  • providing hand drying facilities – either paper towels or electrical dryers.

3. Help people to work from home.

You should take all reasonable steps to help people work from home by:

  • discussing home working arrangements.

  • ensuring they have the right equipment, for example remote access to work systems.

  • including them in all necessary communications.

  • looking after their physical and mental well-being.

4. Maintain 2m social distancing, where possible

Where possible, you should maintain 2m between people by:

  • putting up signs to remind workers and visitors of social distancing guidance.

  • avoiding sharing workstations.

  • using floor tape or paint to mark areas to help people keep to a 2m distance.

  • arranging one-way traffic through the workplace if possible.

  • switching to seeing visitors by appointment only if possible.

5. Where people cannot be 2m apart, manage transmission risk

Where it’s not possible for people to be 2m apart, you should do everything practical to manage the transmission risk by:

  • considering whether an activity needs to continue for the business to operate.

  • keeping the activity time involved as short as possible.

  • using screens or barriers to separate people from each other.

  • using back-to-back or side-to-side working whenever possible.

  • staggering arrival and departure times.

  • reducing the number of people each person has contact with by using ‘fixed teams or partnering’

At ECSHE we have been working with clients large and small to help them get back to work. To work safely and to keep their workers healthy. An important and skilled asset sat at home is a wasted asset.

Now is a time to be strong, a time for us all to work together, to overcome and to rebuild.

Look out for our next blog, its coming soon.

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