The coronavirus pandemic is now worse than ever. A new highly contagious variant of the virus is sweeping through the country. In parts of the north west, the reproduction rate (R-Rate) is above 2. The national death rate is approaching one death per minute. Hospitals and the ambulance service are overwhelmed.
On 5 January, England entered a third national lockdown, and measures introduced then are likely to get tighter. Already, every business has to ensure it is COVID-19 Secure, and many businesses cannot legally open.
The Government are, rightly, telling people to Stay at Home; to work from home where possible. This is a national crisis the likes of which are unseen in most of our lifetimes. But are you, as a business doing enough to reduce the spread? Here are some ideas:
Most office work can be done at home. Many companies still have far too many people in their offices. 90% of work could be done remotely with ease. Make sure this happens. In most cases it is not essential for an office worker to be in the office.
Stop visitors, except if absolutely essential or safety critical. Request all meetings be either delayed or online / over the phone.
Introduce temperature checks on arrival for everyone on site, and record findings. One of the main symptoms is a fever or temperature, and this may be one way you can prevent people coming onto site with signs of symptoms.
If your employees are wearing visors, they should wear a mask with them. This is government advice.
Encourage employees to obtain rapid tests regularly. While these tests may not be as accurate as laboratory tests, they give a good benchmark and can identify many asymptomatic positive cases.
Review your previous COVID-19 risk assessments and enforce measures. If they aren’t being followed, enforce them.
Add new posters and signs. People start ignoring the signs they see day in and day out but notice new ones even if they are the same message.
Are you cleaning enough, especially common touch points? Encourage your workforce to keep areas clean.
Increase the number of tool box talks on the issue. One day could be on using hand sanitiser or hand washing, the next on social distancing. Make them personal, about protecting them and their loved ones.
If in doubt, don’t do it. If you are unsure if any work practice is ok or safe to do, do not continue with it until you can make it safe.
Improve ventilation to allow indoor air change.
Ensure all non-coronavirus health and safety measures remain in place.
Stop all unnecessary travel.
Make sure you follow Government rules at all times and remember if you operate elsewhere in the UK or abroad they may be different there.
These are just a few examples. If you have any ideas, share them with us so others can benefit too. (firstname.lastname@example.org)