COVID-19 Site Safety

During this difficult time of a Worldwide pandemic, the UK is currently experiencing a public health emergency, and this is all down to the result of COVID-19. Everybody’s lives have changed drastically, with working life as we know it completely changed, resulting in new regulations and measures needing to be put in place within every industry.

Safety is critical, for employers, employees and your customers. We must all be doing everything we can to keep ourselves and others safe whilst on site.

Social Distancing Guidelines

I’m sure that we have all heard about the 2m safety rule of keeping 2m apart at all times (or 1m with risk mitigation, where 2m is not viable). The Government guidelines state that we all must maintain social distancing in the workplace wherever possible.

What if the guidelines cannot be followed?

Where these guidelines cannot be followed in full, then the business should consider whether that activity needs to continue in order for the business to operate, and if so, they must take all the mitigating actions possible for reduced risk of transmission between staff and employers. These actions include;

Increased frequency of hand washing and cleaning of surfaces

Keeping activity time as short as possible

Implementing screens or barriers so that there is separation between people

Rather than face-to-face contact, use back-to-back or side-to-side working whenever possible.

Allocate one person to each work area. If this is not possible, reduce the number of people that each person comes into contact with by using ‘fixed teams’ or ‘partnering’ – this allows for each person to work with only a few others.

Implement one-way systems within the workplace, by using floor tape, paint, or floor stickers.

Implement signage to remind people that they must keep a 2m distance from others.

Social Distancing Guidelines need to be set out within all parts of a business – not just the main working areas. This includes canteens, offices, entrances, exits, break rooms, corridors, hallways and similar settings. These environments can sometimes be more challenging to comply with guidelines than where your employees spend most of their time. Most importantly, your employees and visitors must be specifically reminded often that there are guidelines in place. This should be done verbally and if possible, with reminder signage put in place throughout the workplace / site.

During Working Hours

The standard workplace regime typically consists of groups arriving and leaving at the same time. Staggering arrival and departure times can reduce crowding that may happen when entering and leaving the workplace, ensuring that people aren’t using entrance and exit points at the same time. It is also recommended that handwashing facilities are implemented at entry and exit points if possible.

Keeping a safe distance

Separating your site into working zones will help to keep groups of workers physically separated from other workers. It may also be practical to reduce the number of people that attend site induction meetings, which can be done in smaller, socially distanced groups.

Break Times

Staggered breaktimes are also a good way of ensuring that people are not using break rooms, rest areas and canteens at the same time. If possible, packaged meals can help with avoiding the need to fully-open canteens, which allows for less interaction with others. Within break areas, reconfigured seating and tables will help maintain spacing and reduce face-t-face interaction with others.

Implementation of one-way systems can help with reducing unnecessary contact of employees passing one another. This can be done by using signage and ground markings to help employees and visitors comply with your guidelines. This will also allow for a controlled flow of people moving throughout the site.

Face coverings & masks

Employers and employees must take reasonable steps to protect themselves and others. Using a face covering or mask can help with the potential spread and contraction of COVID-19.

Other COVID-19 Safety Precautions

Ensuring that all employers, employees and visitors who do not feel well stay at home, and do not attempt to enter / attend the premises.

Handwashing – with soap and water for at least 20 seconds, or with hand sanitiser.

Regular cleaning regime – surface cleaning, tools, machinery, toilets, kitchen areas, offices, etc.

Working from home where possible, but where working from home is not possible, workplaces must make every effort to comply with social distancing guidelines that have been set out by the Government.

Avoid sharing pens, documents, tools and machinery where possible. If shared, then disinfect the object/areas

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