The Returning Workforce: Keeping Your Workplace Safe During Covid-19

EHS Management, Risk

With the easing of Coronavirus restrictions both within the UK and across the world, we are starting to see a slow return to normality, which includes returning to the workplace. The Office for National Statistics reported that 65% of working adults in the UK travelled to their place of employment in the week to September 19th, up 8 percentage points from the week before (57%).

Whilst this increase in workers returning to their places of work shows that public confidence is growing, safety within the workplace is paramount to ensure the health and wellbeing of your workforce.

Here are our top tips for keeping your workplace safe when reopening during Covid-19:

Risk Assessment

It is essential to undertake a risk assessment to manage the risk of Covid-19 in your business. You should ensure that the risk assessment is amended to address the risks of Covid-19 and use the guidance to inform your decisions and control measures implemented. The Velappity risk assessment software and mobile app includes a built in Covid-19 risk assessment template which is based on the latest UK Government guidelines for returning to work safely.

This approach will ensure you can demonstrate that it is safe to return to work, can provide a quick and easy way to monitor risk on an ongoing basis and keeps all records of risk assessments up to date.

As well as demonstrating compliance to current government guidelines, this makes it easier to adapt quickly if the guidelines change.

Communication

Communication is key when managing the risk of coronavirus in your workplace.

Speak to your workforce and keep them informed of the changes you have made to work safely. It is important to consult with your workers to allow them to influence health and safety decisions and welcome discussions surrounding any potential concerns they may have about returning to work.

The Covid-19 risks and measures for preventing transmission can change quickly, therefore employers should ensure that any updates are effectively communicated to staff to ensure that a high level of knowledge and understanding of health and safety measures are maintained.

It is also important to effectively communicate with clients and customers, so they know what to expect from your business during Covid-19. For example, if you need to complete work on site for a client, it is a good idea to communicate with your client before any site visits, to discuss how the work will be carried out to minimise the risk for all parties.

Velappity helps to improve client relationships by allowing effective communication through the client portal feature. Covid-19 guideline documents can be added to client accounts and viewed from their client portal, to ensure your clients know what to expect from your business during site visits.

Cleaning and Hygiene

As coronavirus can be passed from people to surfaces, and then passed onto those who touch the same surfaces, it is essential to establish a comprehensive cleaning routine within your business. Frequently cleaning and disinfecting surfaces and objects will help reduce the risk of Covid 19, as well as ensuring that hand washing facilities are available for both staff and clients. Hand sanitisers are also helpful in preventing the spread of Covid-19 and should therefore be available to staff and clients as an additional hygiene measure.

Enhanced cleaning and hand washing reduces the potential for coronavirus to spread and are therefore essential in keeping your business working safely.

Ventilation and Air Conditioning

Ensuring your workplace is well ventilated can help reduce the spread of coronavirus as sufficient ventilation reduces the amount of virus in the air and minimises the risk of aerosol transmission. Aerosol transmission can occur when someone breathes in small particles in the air after a person with the virus has been in the same enclosed area, which is more likely to occur in a poorly ventilated area. You can achieve adequate ventilation by opening doors and windows to allow fresh air into the building and to ensure there is passive airflow. You can also achieve this through the use of air conditioning units, or fans to bring in fresh air from outside.

It is important to note that if your business has air conditioning units that have been out of use, there is a strong possibility that water has been sitting for long periods of time which can increase the risks of legionella. Extra measures will need to be put in place to manage legionella risks when restarting these water systems.

These safety tips are just some of the ways you can keep your business safe whilst reopening during Covid-19. Velappity is helping businesses navigate the pandemic through the use of the Covid-19 risk assessment template, with forms that can be easily edited to suit your industry.

Start your free 30-day trial of Velappity now to help you safely reopen your business and protect your employees and customers from Covid-19.

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