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Protecting employees in the workplace during Covid-19

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by Startacus Admin


The Coronavirus pandemic has fundamentally altered society as we know it. Whether that be our working conditions, social habits, holiday plans or a myriad of other elements, we have been forced into widespread changes that affect almost every aspect of our lives.

Of greatest significance has been the cost of human life, with currently more than 44,000 deaths in the UK and over half a million worldwide. There has also been a huge strain placed on the healthcare service, with various measures introduced to limit transmission of the virus and prevent the system being inundated with too many cases.

As part of those measures, the vast majority of the country’s workforce has been asked – where possible – to do their jobs remotely. Those guidelines have been in place since the initial lockdown was announced in late March, although restrictions have started to ease of late, with some people returning to work in recent weeks.

Under any circumstances, businesses must ensure the workplace is a safe and secure environment.

Any incidents arising due to their failure to do so can result in employees filing claims for accident at work compensation, and the heightened levels of anxiety surrounding the Coronavirus outbreak mean it might never been more important for organisations to adequately protect their staff.

So, what are some of the measures that employers could introduce? (based on our current understanding of course!)

PPE

The government has issued guidance on personal protective equipment and the provision of PPE to healthcare workers has been a topic of much debate, with many reports suggesting there have been insufficient supplies to those on the front line. Organisations across all sectors should be encouraging their staff to wear masks and gloves, in order to limit the potential spread of infection.

Hand-washing stations

The inclusion of hand-washing points should also be considered. The NHS has released a guide on how to wash your hands, and the advice from medical experts has been to do so thoroughly and regularly, so all employees should have ready and easy access to sinks, soap and sanitiser.

One-way systems

This might be a more feasible solution in some workplaces rather than others, but limiting close contact by setting up one-way routes is another measure to be implemented. It may mean a slightly longer journey for staff to speak to colleagues or visit the toilets, but clear sign-posting will help people to follow the rules and enjoy greater peace of mind.

Deep cleaning

Workplaces such as offices are typically cleaned on a regular basis, but organisations will have to increase the frequency and thoroughness of these processes in order to make sure every surface is wiped down correctly. This will likely mean an increased spend on cleaning services, but businesses cannot afford to cut corners in this regard.

Training

With so many changes being introduced, it’s important that employees are given the opportunity to understand the measures as well as the science behind their implementation. Organisations must take the time to explain how the workplace will operate going forward, and encourage an environment of responsibility and accountability, where any issues or misgivings are reported and acted upon immediately.



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Published on: 19th July 2020

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