Workplace Safety Tips For A Pandemic
After the initial impact of COVID, workplaces around the country began adapting to new protocol and safety measures to ensure the new risk of virus transmission. Sanitiser because an office staple and PPE became a required part of a uniform for many employees. Even as the severity of the first COVID outbreak subsides, workplaces are continuing to maintain their vigilance so as to ensure the health and safety of employees and customers.
The Occupational Safety and Health Act (OSHA) ensures that businesses within the UK are maintaining a suitably safe and preventative environment for their staff. This means that for many, gloves, masks, and hand sanitiser are now being introduced or offered as an established asset of the workplace for the foreseeable future. Additionally, risk assessments are being adapted to accommodate new habits and precautions.
Here are the changes that workplaces are now making.
Maintaining an appropriate social distance is fundamental to preventing the spread of a virus. It is recommended that there is a two-metre distance available, though, when this is not entirely possible, a single metre is acceptable promising that all appropriate precautionary measures are taken. Other measures, such as allowing staff to work alongside without facing each other is suggested.
Social distancing measures also apply to limit the amount of crossover contact between employees and customers. Equipment and stock that must be handled by multiple persons should be sanitised regularly, such as keyboards and the surfaces of timber fire doors.
A Hygenic Workplace
Supplying an office space with appropriate sanitisers and hand-washing equipment is the first step. However, there should also be guidance made available to ensure that staff and customers are using the facilities correctly and regularly.
They should also be made available in key areas, such as those with the most crossover contact. These areas, such as doorways and communal spaces, require the most vigilance to prevent any spread of the virus.
Consider Individual Risk
Certain individuals within the workplace will be at greater risk during a pandemic. Some vulnerable groups are those with a greater BMI, those with preexisting conditions, as well as older men and pregnant woman. If your staff fall into any of these or other similarly high-risk categories, extra measures should be taken to ensure their continued safety and health when working.
Where possible, offering the ability for staff to work from home is an effective way of minimising contact and preventing the spread of a virus during a pandemic. While some businesses require a certain amount of engagement or work to take place within a shared space, even a single day of the week where staff can work remotely can contribute to minimising the spread of a virus. However, if an employee is to be permanently delegated a remote working responsibility there are certain considerations to make, such as what equipment they are entitled to be provided with.
In certain common spaces, high-volumes of traffic cannot easily be avoided, such as within break rooms or canteens. Where possible, these areas should be monitored by certain members of staff, to ensure that they are being operated safely, as well as having their capacity limited and supplied with sufficient hand sanitiser stations.