Covid-19- STAY SAFE

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EMPLOYERS-5 Actions when Employees Self-isolate or Work at Home

Self-isolation to minimise person-to-person contact is being used one of the most important precautions in delaying coronavirus spread and we are all being told to work at home if possible.

Here are 5 key actions you should take to manage the situation.

The main transmission paths for Covid-19 are understood to be direct physical contact and inhaling infected droplets (e.g. from coughs and sneezes) and so a major part of the recommended precautions is for people to

  • Avoid social contact

  • Work at home if possible

  • Self-isolate if you have symptoms such as dry cough or fever (raised temperature).

At-risk groups (such as those with suppressed immune systems or existing chronic respiratory, heart or kidney disease) are being urged to take special care. The same applies, on a precautionary basis, to anyone who is pregnant.

Based on up to date advice a recommended action plan is:

  1. Support Those Who Self-Isolate or Work at Home

Homeworkers have a legal right to information, instruction, training and supervision (the level will depend on the risk) and to suitable safeguards. This may just mean a simple display screen equipment risk assessment (which the employees can carry out).Suggest improvisation regarding some of the safeguards but do check that they are happy with the working environment ad address any concerns. If you provide tools, especially power tools, or chemicals which the worker uses at home, the same standard of protection is expected as if this work were carried out on your own premises.

As employer, you can only be responsible for what is under your control. You have no right of entry to an employee's home, and they are responsible for its state of repair, housekeeping etc. So, while you are responsible for employees at work (wherever work is) there can be less to worry about when employees work at home than when they are on your premises.

     2. Be Systematic about Staying in Touch

Self-isolation can feel like solitary confinement, so stay in touch with any employees who are off-sick, using email, messaging or phone. It is always better to agree with the employee (e.g. at the close of each call) when you will contact them again so that each contact is expected and it cannot cause stress and worry and you reduce the risk of being accused of harassment and making random calls. Make sure you have a back-up way of contacting people such as home phone number or email as well as work mobile.

     3. Protect those Who are Still at Work

Here there is clear guidance:

  • Encourage employees to work at home, wherever possible.

  • Minimise meetings and other employee gatherings.

  • Only essential visitors should come to the workplace and you should carry out a full risk assessment of the premises in these changed times dealing with all relevant areas including fire and other hazards. Make a careful note in writing of this new workplace situation and review it regularly

  • If someone becomes unwell with a new, continuous cough or a high temperature, they should be sent home and follow the advice to stay at home.

  • Remind employees to frequently wash their hands for at least 20 seconds and catch coughs and sneezes in tissues. Provide the facilities and equipment.

  • Frequently clean and disinfect objects and surfaces that are touched regularly, using your standard cleaning products and keep a record of this.

 

Think carefully about the need for travel, both within and outside the UK. If you can stay in touch with clients and contacts by phone, email, messaging or video-call, it has never made more sense to so than it does now. For foreign travel, always check the FCO website (https://tinyurl.com/cqv693w) before setting out.

     4.Point People in the Right Direction for Authoritative Advice

For anyone with concerns, the best advice is to go online at  https://111.nhs.uk/covid-19, click on 'start' and work through the questions. No login, password or ID is needed. The questions cover basic information about yourself and whether you have symptoms. The site will then advise on whether to self-isolate, as well as what to do if symptoms develop.

     5. Be Ready to Deal with these Specific Concerns

There is regularly updated advice at https://tinyurl.com/rcrx9gj on specific issues such as:

  • What to do if a member of staff or the public with suspected or confirmed COVID-19 has recently been in your workplace.

  • What to do if individuals in the workplace have had contact with a confirmed case of COVID-19.

  • Cleaning and waste disposal.

  • How to handle packages, post and deliveries.