Covid-19 Risk Assessment
As many of us begin to return to work and gain a sense of normality, it is important for us to maintain social distancing but still manage communication with others.
The aim across the country is to ease the amount of the general public in public places so that COVID-19 slowly becomes unable to survive. It is important that we all follow the guidance of the WHO and HSE during these times and continue to work towards preventing the spread so we can collectively avoid another peak.
Here’s some ideas on how businesses should approach the return of their customers and employees.
Please note that the employees referenced in the advice below are assumed to be in a low risk category. Those who are at high risk from COVID-19 must continue to isolate as much as possible and their employers must not put them at risk.
Risk Assessments in the Workplace
During these uncertain times, every business is going to face new and exceptional challenges that none have experienced before with running a business safely, whether it is the nature of the work or the work environment itself. To make it a little easier, the first step would be to carry out a risk assessment. This assesses the businesses operations and makes it simpler to understand what changes will need to be made throughout to maintain hygienic and safe surroundings.
As you may have heard, people worldwide are being encouraged to social distance. This is no different in the workplace. Employers are being urged to support their employees working from home where possible as many roles can be fulfilled remotely.
For those who need to be present in the workplace and need to commute, the preferred way of travel would be cycling. It is the safest and easiest method of travel during this pandemic and has the additional benefit of improving ones mental and physical health.
If your job role cannot be carried out at home, employers and businesses must take the necessary measures to ensure the place of work is as safe as possible to avoid spread.
Rearranging Work Environment
To maintain the two metres guidelines, desks should be reorganised, so people are always apart. In the instance where this is not possible, it would be advised to establish barriers and rearrange desks in opposite directions, this will minimise airborne transmission.
If you have been to a local shop recently, you may have seen the one-way system implied. This would also be suitable for offices by placing markers on the floors to control the flow of people and help avoid accidental contact.
Adjusting Shift Patterns
Where social distancing cannot be imposed, shift patterns and departments should be staggered to keep physical contact to a minimum. For example, splitting a team of eight into two sets of fours will halve the transmission.
If employees regularly move from one department to another, this will defeat the purpose of the separation therefore once the teams have separated, they should remain consistent throughout the pandemic.
Inspire Good Hygiene
In the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic, is was shown how important it is to maintain good personal hygiene by hand washing and using hand sanitiser where possible. To ensure this is being followed, providing sanitising facilities at key points will help encourage and remind people to practice good hygiene.
High contact areas such as door handles and keyboards should be cleaned on a regular basis with anti-bacterial properties such as wipes.
If anyone experiences symptoms, they must isolate themselves for at least seven days from the onset and inform everyone they have recently been in contact with immediately. If you share a household with someone showing symptoms, you will need to isolate yourself for 14 days.