Developing a workplace health Coronavirus (Covid-19) policy for businesses
Originating from China in January 2020, the Coronavirus (Covid-19) outbreak has now spread around the world and developed into a global pandemic, as classified by the World Health Organisation (WHO), with the epicentre now in Europe. Significant measures are being taken to delay the spread of the virus through the population.
Employers and businesses are primarily concerned about protecting their employees and visitors, with some businesses choosing to request teams work from home, wherever possible. What can you do to support your employees and visitors during this unprecedented outbreak?
Developing a workplace health Coronavirus (Covid-19) Policy for your business
Clear communication to all employees and visitors can help reassure everyone during this time, when panic is spreading quickly. Developing and regularly updating a Coronavirus (Covid-19) Policy is critical. The policy should communicate the steps you have taken/are taking to prevent the spread of the virus within the company, and should ask for employee cooperation, clearly outlining what they can do.
Sharing what you are doing with your teams to reduce the spread of Coronavirus
Considering Government and Public Health England (PHE) advice here are some actions you may consider taking and sharing with your teams:
- Review cleaning procedures with your cleaning staff and consider increasing their cleaning schedule with a focus on ensuring all touch points, including door handles, light switches and handrails are cleansed with antibacterial products daily.
- Provide additional antibacterial spray, cleansers and wipes in kitchen areas.
- Remove towels from bathrooms and kitchens, and replaced them with disposable hand towels.
- Ensure there are sufficient cleaning supplies available in kitchens and check for sufficient soap supplies in all of the toilets.
- Provide hand washing guidelines posters next to hand wash facilities.
- Prevent non-essential visitors from attending your offices and facilities.
Setting out what employees and visitors can do to reduce the spread of Coronavirus
Ensuring all employees understand their role in reducing the spread of the virus is critical to the policy being effective.
- Remind all employees that regular, thorough hand washing with soap and water is imperative. Hand washing should be completed for 20 seconds and as demonstrated by hand wash posters.
- Ask employees to always carry tissues with them and use them to catch all coughs and sneezes. They should bin any used tissues and wash hands afterwards with soap and water, or use a sanitiser.
- Ensure employees notify their manager if they begin to develop symptoms or feel unwell and follow guidance for self-isolation.
Identify at risk employees
If you have employees who have recently returned from the following countries, they should be asked to stay indoors and avoid contact with other people, even if they do not have symptoms:
- anywhere in Italy on or after 9 March
- specific areas in northern Italy in the last 14 days
- Iran in the last 14 days
- Hubei province in China in the last 14 days
- Daegu, Cheongdo or Gyeongsan in South Korea in the last 14 days
If any employees have travelled to the UK from the following places in the last 14 days, and have a cough, high temperature or shortness of breath, even if their symptoms are mild, they should also stay indoors and avoid contact with people:
- Italy (outside specific areas in northern Italy) before 9 March
- mainland China outside of Hubei province
- South Korea outside of Daegu, Cheongdo and Gyeongsan
- Hong Kong
In order to reduce the risk of spreading the virus, employees and visitors should be asked to immediately raise any relevant circumstances, so that appropriate measures can be taken to safeguard other employees and visitors.
Stay up to date with the latest Coronavirus advice
As the situation is evolving quickly, we expect new advice and guidance on a regular basis. You can access the latest Government advice for employers and businesses here: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/guidance-to-employers-and-businesses-about-covid-19
How we can we help your business during the outbreak?
With extensive health and safety experience across multiple sectors, Sure Safety Consultancy delivers consultancy, training and trusted advice covering workplace health, safety and fire. Our team are on hand for guidance and support during this pandemic, delivering fit for purpose health and safety solutions for your business. If you would like to hear more about how we can help, please contact us by email or call us on 029 2086 8802.