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Providing a COVID-Secure Working Environment
As lockdown measures continue to ease, more businesses are looking to reopen and return to some form of normality. However, for most, there are some provisions to be made to ensure that a suitable level of safety is met so that staff and customers can remain safe.
As employers, we have a duty to ensure we care for our staff and safeguard their health and wellbeing. If you have staff that cannot work from home, then now is the time to consider what changes you might need to make in your workplace to reduce risk and make it ‘COVID-Secure’.
Here are some things to consider.
Entrances and exits
Everyone entering the workplace needs to use these, it’s unavoidable, but if you have everyone turning up at once, it’s difficult to adhere to social distancing measures.
Therefore, it’s advisable to stagger arrival and departure times so that people do not use entry and exit points at the same time.
It’s also important to provide handwashing facilities near to entrances and exits so people can wash their hands when they arrive at and leave work (provide hand sanitiser where this is not possible).
At the moment, guidelines state that we must remain two meters apart from one another at all times. Therefore, we must try to keep work areas 2 metres apart and allocate one person only to each work area. If this isn’t possible, then try to keep the number of people in each work area as low as possible.
To help workers social distance you can:
- Use floor tape or paint to mark work areas
- Provide signage to remind people to keep a 2-metre distance
- Use screens to create a physical barrier between people
- Have people working side-by-side rather than face-to-face
- Allow only essential trips within buildings and between sites
Breaks and canteens
To help people keep apart from each other, stagger break times so that they are not using break rooms, canteens or rest areas at the same time.
Use outside areas for breaks where possible and encourage staff to stay on-site during working hours to help workers with social distancing on their breaks.
Providing packaged meals and in-office drinks making facilities could help to avoid fully opening canteens and reduce gatherings in communal areas. Reconfigure seating and tables in welfare areas to maintain spacing and reduce face-to-face interactions.
Face covering and masks
PPE for protection against coronavirus is generally only required for certain healthcare activities. In a non-clinical setting, there is no need to provide different PPE than you would normally have provided before the outbreak started.
However, face masks or coverings may be beneficial as a precautionary measure against coronavirus. If it is difficult to ensure safe social distancing measures, or if you want to give your staff extra peace of mind, then providing face masks may be a good idea.
Cleaning, hygiene and hand sanitiser
Use signs and posters to help your workers to practice good handwashing technique and to remind them to cough or sneeze into an arm and avoid touching their faces.
- Provide handwashing facilities with running water, soap and paper towels
- Provide hand sanitiser at locations in addition to washrooms
- Provide hand sanitiser nearby for people getting in and out of vehicles or handling deliveries, if they are unable to wash their hands.
Make sure that surfaces remain clean. You may need to increase the level and frequency of cleaning as well as cleaning surfaces that you may not ordinarily clean.
Clean equipment frequently
Make sure you set clear guidelines for the use and cleaning of toilets, showers and changing facilities to make sure they are kept clean and social distancing is achieved as much as possible. Clean work areas and equipment between uses and be sure to clean and disinfect objects and surfaces that are touched frequently. If equipment like tools or vehicles are shared then clean them after each use.
We’ve Got You Covered
Global Office Supplies have everything you need to promote good hygiene practices in your workplace and help keep COVID-secure.
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