19 May 2021
As we continue to move out of lockdown yet again, employee safety in the workplace is at the forefront of everyone’s mind as we return to work. At Pick Protection, we’ve put together a checklist of considerations to ensure that your staff, clients and business are all prepared for a safe return.
Getting ready to reopen
- Review your risk assessment documentation – is it still relevant, or does it need to be updated?
- Are there new procedures or ways or working that may increase risk levels? Ensure that you have policies in place to manage these.
- Ensure that you have all the safety equipment you need – check out our useful list below.
Preparing your workplace
- Create a thorough cleaning plan for the workplace and all work equipment and confirm responsibilities for actioning this.
- Review and reorganise spaces as needed – space between desks, etc.
- Use signs to convey the need for distancing as required.
- Ensure all staff have access to hand sanitisers and wipes.
- Set rules for lunch and break times to ensure cleanliness and distancing can be safely maintained (for example, staggered lunch breaks).
- Consider the use of protective films and paper placemats for desks and equipment, which can help to prevent virus transmission.
- Check any air filtering systems are being regularly serviced.
- If your workplace is customer-facing, ensure that any front-facing areas like your reception area offer the same facilities such as sanitiser and clear signage.
Preparing your team
- Survey your employees around the re-opening to prepare for any specific requirements that they may have.
- Appoint a COVID-19 control plan co-ordinator (this may be the office or HR manager).
- Ensure that your remote work policy is up to date to allow for any employees who may be continuing to work away from the office or at home.
- Consider a gradual return to work and/or staggering working hours to reduce contact time in the workplace.
- Review transport for your staff – car-sharing or public transport may not be an option which may lead to difficulties for some to get into work.
It’s all about communication
- Send a communication to the whole team explaining the main actions that will be implemented to ensure a safe return to the workplace.
- Provide advice for home-based employees on how to keep their working environment healthy and safe.
- Consult with Union reps about your ongoing plans for the workplace.
- Ensure information and updates related to COVID-19 in the workplace are easily accessible to all employees.
- Outline how you’re going to communicate to employees if there’s a suspected or confirmed case of COVID-19 within your organisation, including procedures for reporting suspected cases.
- Prepare a written protocol in case of any contamination or cases of the virus in the workplace (e.g., isolation in a dedicated room with a mask, intervention of the first-aid team member or COVID-19 co-ordinator.)
- Communicate with all employees on best hygiene practices (hand washing, avoiding handshakes, using sanitiser etc).
- Limit face-to-face meetings and team gatherings.
- Ensure social distancing is observed during breaks and any social interactions.
- Ensure all employees take responsibility for keeping their work area clean, as well as any communal areas (staff kitchen, etc).
- Where possible, leave doors and windows open to circulate air. It’s also recommended to ventilate closed rooms for 15 minutes every three hours.
- Encourage employees to track symptoms and in case of contamination among them, take the appropriate action. You may also wish to consider the use of rapid testing.
Ensure that you have all of these on hand for your employees and any visitors to the organisation:
- Protective masks
- Hand sanitisers, soaps and alcohol wipes
- Cleaning and disinfectant products for surfaces, equipment and floors
- Leak resistant rubbish bags and disposable gloves
- Signage for the floor and walls as needed to remind employees about distancing and cleaning procedures
While preparing your workplace for a post-lockdown return may seem like a daunting process, following our checklist will put you in a great place to keep your team safe. If you have any questions or would like to speak to us about lone worker safety and the range of services we offer, then please do get in touch.