Worcestershire Regulatory Services has been working closely with businesses across all sectors during the pandemic. A lot of focus has been on ensuring that site specific risk assessments are in place and all the activities where there is risk of spreading the virus have been considered. The following are common failings which are worth noting to ensure your workplace really is Covid-secure:
- Risk assessments written in generic language with phrases used such as frequent, where appropriate, consider. Two basic rules of risk assessment are be specific (e.g. state a time) and detail a process.
- Signing in process not considered with potential for close contact if groups of staff arrive to sign in at same time.
- Signing in process not contactless – pen sharing is common.
- Changing areas/locker areas/staff rooms/kitchenettes/toilets/smaller offices/corridors. No mention of management of social distancing or controlling numbers in these areas.
- Assessment of ventilation not done or how it can be used as a control measure whether natural or mechanical.
- Cleaning of touch points in all areas from offices to kitchens needs to be specified by time.
- Cleaning of shared equipment needs to be considered (e.g. marker board pens, computers).
- Cleaning products are not specified.
- Lack of awareness of contact times for sanitizer (read the label).
- One-way systems are not detailed.
- Bubbles and cohorts are not specified or are too large (e.g. a shift). Consideration not been given to total separation of bubbles by time and cleaning or by providing separate facilities (e.g. canteen, kettle).
- No consideration of controls for people who work across groups eg management, quality control, first aiders.
- Management of social distancing is not detailed (it is usually management supervision but can have covid wardens/CCTV if large business). Need to cover management of breaks, smoking shelters, pinch points such as photocopiers, vending machines, tea/coffee ‘rounds’. Back of house areas rarely fully considered.
- Management of control measures is not detailed – important where relying on staff eg cleaning of hot desks.
- No consideration of travel to work arrangements (e.g. bus sharing, car sharing).
- No training in donning and doffing process where face coverings/visors used.
- Staff having jobs in more than one setting (e.g. care home and supermarket).
Businesses should also consider the implications of those using the NHS Track and Trace app. If staff have it ‘on’ at work – where the phone is kept during the day can lead to false ‘pings’ bouncing between phones and possible unnecessary request to self isolate.