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Coronavirus Testing in the Workplace
Although the Coronavirus pandemic is as prevalent as it has ever been, there is now a glimmer of hope as vaccines are rolled out and testing is becoming more available.
Many businesses across the world have had to make big changes within their organisations to ensure that they can continue to operate while keeping their staff and others as safe as possible. This has included adhering to strict social distancing guidelines, installing shields between workstations, changing shift patterns, employing more strict cleaning regimes and making sure that suitable PPE and hand washing facilities are available.
As rapid coronavirus testing is becoming more available, many businesses are now beginning to test their staff on a regular basis as an extra precaution to keep everyone safe and help stem the spread of the virus.
Why Do We Need to Test Everyone?
Organisations such as Royal Mail, the DVLA and Tate & Lyle are among those who are now testing their staff on a regular basis.
It’s estimated that one in three people carrying the virus are doing so without symptoms. All of which could all be unknowingly spreading the virus around the workplace. Testing everyone, including those that are asymptomatic, is not only vital in breaking the chains of transmission but also offers additional peace of mind to those who are unable to work from home during the current lockdown.
Lateral flow tests have already been successful in finding positive cases that otherwise would have remained undetected and, while it’s not currently a legal requirement, businesses are being urged to test their employees on a regular basis.
Procuring Test Kits
Test kits in the UK are regulated by the MHRA, which is responsible for administering and enforcing the law on medical devices in the UK. It has a range of investigatory and enforcement powers to ensure their safety and quality.
As with all medical devices sold in the UK, manufacturers must place a CE mark on products that diagnose diseases (sometimes known as IVDs).
Tests without a CE mark are not legally allowed to be sold in the EU and UK unless they have an exemption. All tests granted an exemption during the pandemic are published by the MHRA.
Therefore, it’s essential that employers make sure that the test kits they provide are MHRA approved and have the CE mark or an exemption.
Keeping it Legal
There are a number of rules and regulations with regards to administering tests, handling data and communicating the results. Therefore, it is imperative that if you are planning on testing your staff on a regular basis that you understand all of the requirements first. There is an abundance of information with regards to testing on the gov.uk website but we recommend seeking independent legal advice where possible.
Global Office Supplies
Global Office Supplies have everything you need to keep workplace COVID-secure; including Covid Rapid Testing Kits. Our Antigen Rapid Test Kits are ideal for helping businesses quickly identify any current COVID-19 cases within their organisation and give a clear result within 15 minutes. All of our testing kits are MHRA registered and CE marked.
For more information about our Covid Antigen Rapid Test Kits, please feel free to get in touch.