Employers Preparing A Safe Environment After COVID
What Health And Safety Measures Should Employers Take?
This largely depends on the industry that the employer operates within.
For example, in the healthcare and other scientific lab settings, there are specific health risks associated with the current COVID crisis.
In these industries, employers should carry out Biological Agents risk assessments. These assessments need to be reviewed and carried out regularly in order to cut down on infection rates.
Other industries, for example — retail, offices, transport, there are different protocols. Employers are required to keep up to date with the latest official public health and safety advice. These guidelines are updated regularly from the Department of Health and the Health Protection Surveillance Centre and include measures on ways to reduce health risks for staff.
Going Back To Work After COVID – What To Know And What You Need To Do
Above all when going back to a workplace (regardless of industry) is to maintain a very high level of personal hygiene. As much as possible, wash your hands regularly, keep desk surfaces clean and keep good respiratory health.
Maintaining a social distance of two metres is also recommended.
Workplaces That Cannot Maintain Social Distancing
In cases where it’s impossible for workers to maintain a socially distanced space (2 metres), there are alternatives.
In these instances employers are required to:
- Install physical barriers
- Minimise employee contact as much as possible
- Provide face masks (cloth or surgical)
- Supply hygiene aids – sanitisers, wipes, etc
Cleaning At Work To a Safe Standard
It is, above all, incredibly important to maintain a high level of hygiene and cleanliness at work.
Workplace surfaces should be regularly cleaned and disinfected. Disinfecting an area and cleaning an area are not the same thing and both need to be done.
What Should Employers Do?
Employers have a huge responsibility to their staff to maintain a clean, safe workspace. This involves:
- Cleaning and disinfecting workspaces twice a day – all surfaces and frequently used areas.
- Implementing cleaning times at regular intervals. (Again twice a day is recommended.)
- Provide staff with cleaning materials as mentioned above (sanitisers, wipes, bin bags, etc).
- Increase the number of waste collection points and ensure they’re regularly emptied.
What Is ‘Close Contact’?
‘Close contact’ is characterised as fifteen minutes spent in face-to-face contact in a two-metre vicinity of someone with COVID-19. This can be either inside or outside.
Spending more than two hours in an indoor space with someone who has COVID-19 can also be considered close contact.
What Should I Do If I Come In Contact With Someone Who Has COVID-19?
Employer or employee, if you come into close contact with a confirmed case of COVID-19 you need to get tested and restrict your movements for 14 days, regardless of whether your test is negative or not.
What About Visitors To Workplaces (Delivery Persons, etc)?
Currently, there is no legislation in place that requires employers to provide visiting persons sanitary or washing facilities.
However, in this time of global health crisis, employers are asked to cooperate as much as possible with government advice. The government has requested that all companies make appropriate arrangements for visiting workers to eliminate the spread of infection.