As we enter 2021, there is at least a brighter glimmer of hope with vaccination programs now rolling out to cover higher-risk people and the tracing of cases has now significantly improved. However, we are still far from being ‘out of the woods’. From the beginning of February, in the UK alone, we have already seen 3.8M reports of Covid so far, with 21,000 new cases and almost 600 deaths per day, resulting from various strains of this disease.*
Over the months, businesses have become increasingly vigilant with the protection of their staff and many more advanced procedures are now in place to help minimise the risk of Covid within their businesses. Some of these measures include desk screening to reduce the risk of person-to-person contact, body temperature measurement devices and even antimicrobial technology to kill surface viruses. However, it is far too easy to forget the very basics of infection control, which continue to be the most vital processes available to reduce the risk of infection for employees.
For this reason, we have put together a 10-tip guide to serve as a reminder of these basics, to help continue to keep your people and business as safe as possible.
Encourage preventative hygiene
It is crucial that staff remain vigilant to preventative measures such as regular hand washing, sanitising and avoiding face touching. People should also ensure that any instances of sneezing or coughing are caught into a tissue and disposed of immediately.
Pay attention to the 2M social distancing rule, whilst this isn’t an exact science, it can certainly help to reduce the risk of infection from other people within the business by avoiding direct contact. The further away you can be from your colleagues, the better.
Even though this has been one of the most publicised prevention methods, it has been widely reported that there is still a high number of people that are not adhering to this simple rule, both in the office and public space. Try to ensure that disposable face masks are available for staff within the workplace and help to educate on the correct procedure of wearing a mask effectively.
This may not be the easiest method to implement, but by encouraging staff to wipe down their equipment and work surfaces daily with a suitable virus-killing detergent can greatly reduce the risk of infection. The list of potential equipment could include doorknobs, keyboards, mouse, desk space, computers or even office utilities such as printers or kitchen appliances.
Educate your staff
Providing guidelines to employees is crucial for the continuous education of Covid company policies. These could include signage in high-risk areas, Covid training sessions and weekly communications to all staff reminding them of best practice procedures. During the first UK lockdown in March 2020, companies were sending out guidelines and reminders almost on a weekly basis, unfortunately this has become much less over the past 6 months for many businesses. Consistent communications should always be in place to act as reminders for all employees.
Facilitate flexible working
Particularly during lockdown, companies are actively encouraged to work from home where possible. While this isn’t being legally enforced, it seriously minimises the risk of an outbreak in an office environment which could potentially devastate your business. Plans should be in place to reduce office working where possible or working in shift systems to minimise the number of staff in the building at any one time.
Conduct risk assessments
There will always be areas of higher risk within a business. Ensure that you are aware of these and have plans in place to increase your measures appropriately. There is never a ‘one size fits all’ solution to all areas of a business, so it is important that areas of high risk such as bathrooms, meeting rooms and break rooms are quickly identified and managed accordingly.
Set out clear policies for staff in the event of a suspected case. All staff should be aware of the correct isolation procedure and reporting process in the event of such an incident. There have been far too many reports of staff going to work after being exposed to a potential Covid threat. There will also be certain staff at higher risk due to health issues, so it is vital that a solid line of communication is in place to facilitate these discussions.
With the wide variety of free video conferencing tools now available, there should be very little need to hold meetings with a customer or colleague face-to-face. If there is no other choice, then ensure that all meetings are held with the highest safety precautions in place.
Specialist preventative support
By focusing your efforts on the points above, your business will have dramatically reduced the risk of infection within the workplace. However, there are many other types of service that can help to reduce this risk even further. These can include infection control services such as office deep cleaning and decontamination ‘fogging’ which kills 99.99% of all viruses, including Covid, within an office in a matter of hours. This is even more relevant if your business has experienced a recent Covid case with any members of staff.
Within the housing industry, there is still a necessity to keep up with the maintenance of properties. Therefore, solutions such as property Key Safes can minimise the need for unnecessary travel and exposure to various service providers when handing over property keys. This service also provides track and trace features that could help to identify vulnerable people in the event of a Covid case at your property. These types of services provide an additional layer of protection in the fight against Covid within businesses.
The information in this blog is certainly not meant to be ground-breaking news, it is simply to act as a reminder for businesses as to what the best practices are to help keep this pandemic under control and your people safer. Whilst searching for more advanced preventative measures, it is so easy for the basics to be overlooked, so we hope you found this useful.
If you would like any further information regarding our Infection Control Services or Blue Tooth Key Safes, then please get in touch with us for more information. We are happy to help with any enquiry.
*Data provided by https://coronavirus.data.gov.uk/
Accurate as of 1st February 2021
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