Returning To Work

Returning To Work

The Government have confirmed England will move into Step 4 of the Lockdown Road Map as of Monday 19th July 2021. Whilst this is great news to many, others will not find the news so inviting.

We all still need to remain cautious whilst prevalence is high. Especially in the workplace and travelling to/from. Whilst the Government is no longer instructing people to work from home if they can, we recommend a gradual return to the workplace over the summer.

If you need to use public transport to travel to work, then the government recommends still wearing face coverings and to ventilate buildings/workplaces as much as possible by letting fresh air in via open windows and doors.

It is a very daunting time for some employee's, especially if they are extremely vulnerable or pregnant (extremely vulnerable and pregnant employee's require specific control measures to limit their exposure within the company risk assessment. An expectant mother's risk assessment is also required by law). Employee's may not feel comfortable being in certain situations or close proximity to others and it may take some time for them to adjust to being in a workplace again. Therefore, bringing in a traffic light system shows others how they feel without explaining how they feel, or being in an awkward situation.

Controls
Even though the restrictions are being lifted in England, employers still have a duty of care to all employees to control the risks and review/update their risk assessment.

Adequate ventilation, sufficient cleaning and good hand hygiene control measures should be in place from previous restrictions and should remain in place to limit the transmission of COVID-19.

It is also good practice to talk to employees about health and safety matters.

Limiting Contact
Another way to reduce transmission is by staggering how many employees return to work at one time and what times they arrive and leave to go home. By doing this, it reduces the number of employees arriving and leaving the building at the same time, therefore reducing congestion in confined spaces, and reducing any potential transmission.

One-way systems and limiting the number of staff in toilet cubicles and break areas are also a good idea to keep in place, if possible. Again, these measures limit contact between employees outside of their household.

Positive Cases
Employees should self-isolate if they or someone in their household has a persistent cough, a high temperature or has lost their sense of taste or smell. They must also self- isolate if they or a close contact has had a positive COVID-19 result, or if they have been told to self-isolate by NHS Test and Trace.

Traffic Light System
As companies are preparing to re-open and welcome employee's, customers and clients back on site, many are adopting a traffic light system.

The traffic light system consists of normal 'traffic light colours' Red, Amber and Green.
Red - I'm keeping my distance
Amber - I'm ok with talking but not touching Green - I'm ok with high fives and hugs

These can be as simple as lanyards, coloured photo cards attached to lanyards or wrist bands. All of which are cheap, simple yet effective.

Mental Health
Lockdown has been difficult for many of us, for lots of different reasons. In full lockdown things might have felt more certain or predictable, as the rules were clearer, but now that lockdown restrictions are easing things might feel less clear, and there may be new challenges.

With the above traffic light system in place, it may be a good idea to put up some mental health posters around the workplace. These could be contacts for support charities like Mind, Samaritans or your own in-house mental health support. Positive affirmations or understanding quotes.

Mind has very resourceful information on managing feelings about lockdown easing.

Should you require any further information, clarification or assistance please contact us on info@wpsafety.co.uk or 01268 649006.