With our understanding of the government’s latest coronavirus guidelines decreasing, BHSF chief medical officer Dr Philip McCrea has provided the business world with a few timely reminders.
A survey of more than 70,000 adults carried out by University College London found only 45 per cent of participants in England had a “broad understanding” of the lockdown measures, while just 14 per cent said they understood the rules completely.
Dr McCrea said: “I live in Northern Ireland and we have a different set of rules to the rest of the UK, and also the south of Ireland.
“We are hearing about and reading about three different sets of guidelines, and we are just one section of the population, so I totally empathise with the confusion among the general public.”
Dr McCrea and his team of senior clinicians recently compiled a generic risk assessment for all BHSF clients, in accordance with the guidance set out by the health and safety executive (HSE), aiming to help employers establish a Covid-secure workplace.
• Employees to keep 2m apart at all times where possible
• Use 2m floor markings
• Implement a one-way system in your workplace
• Remove chairs from meeting rooms; consider stand-up meetings/consultations.
• Encourage regular hand washing for at least 20 seconds
• Provide hand sanitiser around the workplace, in addition to washrooms
• Create pop-up wash stations around the workplace
• Work surfaces, desks and shared spaces should be cleaned and disinfected regularly
• Employees should clean any tools or shared equipment immediately after use.
• No non-essential visitors should be allowed on-site.
• Avoid gatherings both inside and outside of work
• Avoid non-essential use of public transport
• Exchange information electronically as much as possible rather than via paperwork.
Dr McCrea further advised employers to keep abreast of the latest guidance from the HSE and Public Health England.
Working safely – useful government guidelines:
• Enhance cleaning for busy areas
• Set clear use and cleaning guidance for toilets
• Provide hand-drying facilities – either paper towels or electrical dryers
• Discuss home working arrangements
• Ensure home workers have the right equipment e.g. remote access
• Include home workers in all necessary communications
• Look after their physical and mental wellbeing
• Put up signs to remind workers and visitors of social distancing guidance
• Avoid sharing workstations
• Meet visitors by appointment only if possible.
Where it’s not possible for employees to be two metres 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.