Upholding Workplace Hygiene

A checklist of all the key workplace PPE an expert suggests to maintain a safe workplace during the coronavirus pandemic.

The new UK government regulations have thrown into question whether or not workers should still be in the office or returning to working from home. However, regardless of the ongoing conversation, there are a lot of people who don’t have a choice and have to be in the office because of their job roles.

Traditionally, working in a safe environment has typically been revolved around more physical dangers, such as tripping over wires and slipping on a wet floor, but the pandemic has brought and is still bringing new challenges to each and every industry.

Since the start of the lockdown easing, many changes are having to be made to accommodate laws and regulations in order to be COVID-compliant. Lemon.co.uk has been helping workforces return to work and implement the appropriate protective equipment into environments including offices to encourage a protected return to work.

Here is some advice from Lemon about everything you need to consider to be compliant with current legislation and keep workers safe through the COVID-19 pandemic.

Risk Assessment

Before any staff member returns to work, it is important for a detailed and thorough risk assessment to be created to minimise any contact which will break the 2-metre social distancing law. The government have outlined that a 1-meter gap between colleagues is acceptable, however 2-metres is the ideal distance. Within this risk assessment, you need to ensure there is visibility on guidelines in the office and provide signage to remind people of regulations to mitigate any rule breaking.

In order to comply with laws and regulations, you should highlight areas where any laws which are in play are likely to be broken, such as moving around the office and enforcing a one-way system. This system will be constantly evolving and changing as social distancing rules change with how quickly the virus is altering and local lockdowns become the norm.

Sanitation Stations

The occasional germ conscious office worker may have brought their own hand sanitiser in – however, they have become more commonplace than a piece of office stationery. The pandemic has enforced all businesses to provide staff with hand gel, wipes and cleaning utilities to use after being in contact with a communal area.

There is often a concern around the level of alcohol that is used in hand sanitiser and whether the brands of a lower concentration are less effective. The truth is, the higher the percentage of alcohol, the more effective the hand sanitiser is at killing bacteria. The good news is that there are some alcohol-free hand gels and hand sanitizing products suitable in environments where alcohol could present dangers, such as schools etc. All employers should have hand sanitising stations across the office for staff to use freely. This is a key issue that needs to be addressed in workforces which currently are not doing this.

Screening

In many industries, such as catering and retail, it has been recommended to implement screening between colleagues and customers. Modifications in the office, however, are not compulsory. One of the many questions we get asked by people in the office industry is whether they should be in play or not. The confusion now comes from the fact that those working in the office are not likely to leave their space to come into contact with their colleagues, whereas others working in the industries with screening are.

Personal Protective Equipment

Although there have been speculations that employees should be wearing masks, this has not become enforced in offices. This is due to the differences in the workplace industries, as wearing a mask in an office for the duration of a normal 8-hour working shift would be more challenging than using a mask in retail whereby you naturally come into contact with thousands per day.

As the PPE regulations are bound to change within the upcoming months, it is still vital for employers to ensure their colleagues are safe and protected from the COVID-19. Lemon believes some of these actions will be in play eternally such as hand sanitisation and general consciousness of germs. Therefore, employers need to recognise the importance of having them throughout the workplace, whenever that may be!

About the Author

Sean Nutley is the founder of Lemon.co.uk.

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