Keeping Our Keyworkers Safe At Work
In normal conditions, H&S is very important to all business and companies, those that choose to disregard the law open themselves up to higher staff turnover, low profitability and higher recruitment costs.
The reason for higher staff turnover would be that staff do not feel comfortable working in the environment, this could be down to equipment they are working on or around not being serviced correctly and worrying them. Work conditions like temperature and having to go outside in all weather can cause illness if the right PPE isn’t provided and this can be one of the most common factors for workers leaving. Let’s be honest no one likes being cold. During this time of pandemic there are now extra H&S measures workplaces should be putting into place as there are more reasons for staff to be worried.
How has Covid-19 affected Impact?
For Impact to make sure they are keeping a high standard to the H&S of our workers, Covid-19 was certainly something new for all of us to learn about and understand. To make sure our workers and clients were all safe and healthy we ensured that anyone entering our office was sanitising their hands and also requested that all temps completed a travel form, so we knew where the people coming into the office had been and if they had any future travel plans that could put our clients or other workers at risk. As more measures were put into place by the government we then stopped allowing ‘walk-ins’ to the office. If people wanted to register, we had to make sure we were briefing and asking appropriate questions over the phone to ensure we weren’t putting ourselves or the rest of the Impact team at risk. However, when further changes were made by the government, we implemented online registration forms to stop anyone coming into the Impact office, and now all staff are working from home. Our site inductions are now either carried out remotely or with social distancing in place – it is still important that our temps get given the right information and PPE to start work.
I know a lot of our clients took a very strict approach too, such as working 2 metres apart and having breaks separate from one another. Sanitisers were put in multiple places for workers to use.
Our temps were all so good and worked with us, completing all forms and promptly returning them to us. They have kept in regular contact with us too which was nice and just communicated well, whether that be questions about where they work or just updating us on how they are feeling. This has been nice, as we have a great relationship with our temps.
If you’re one of the many essential businesses that cannot close, or you don’t have the capabilities for your staff to work from home, here are some of the ways our clients are keeping their workers safe:
- Precautionary disinfections (aka fogging) can be carried out by trained specialists using disinfections that kill up to 99.99% of a range of pathogens
- Checking the temperature of workers on arrival to work
- Being aware of any symptoms of Covid-19 to look out for and displaying information about it/checklists around working areas
- Not just in the canteen but in the locker rooms, assembly lines, aisles, bathrooms, queues and transport
- Physically remove chairs and benches from one place and put them somewhere else so there are half as many seats in double the space
- Do the same with coat racks and lockers if you have them, to reduce the density of workers in the same place together
- Create a route through the workspaces so the workers leaving won’t pass the workers arriving on shift. Have similar one-way routes through aisles and any other areas you can as this prevents close proximity passing
- Consider how easy it is for people to forget so put up new health and safety signs to remind workers of new, key rules
- Although you and your staff will need daily catch-ups or briefings, try to do this through emails they can read or video messages they can watch, to save everyone gathering in one space. If you can hold video calls with them in separate areas of the building instead of physically meeting, then do that
- Disposable gloves, hand sanitiser or transportable sinks – add whatever is needed to ensure workers are able to access cleansing facilities throughout their shifts. You could even schedule times for workers to be reminded to wash their hands such as after breaks or when moving from one area to another
Change Shift Patterns
- Implement shift changes that have gaps of at least 30 minutes to allow employees to leave before new ones arrive. Also consider giving the cleaners longer shifts or additional hours to make up for their increased workload
Remove Unnecessary Clutter
- Whether this is boxes, lost property or broken stock – don’t leave unneeded items lying around to collect germs and take up space, move them somewhere secure and out of the way
- Ensure managers and supervisors know how to spot the coronavirus symptoms and understand how sick pay, sickness reporting and policies on dealing with an ill person so that they are confident answering questions or giving advice
- Put a stop to workers sharing equipment, lockers, coat pegs, anything. If they have to share something – change it so only one of them works with it/there, whatever you can do to minimise the spread of the virus.
These are some of the main ways you can protect your workforce on top of the usual safety measures you should have in place, you can download a PDF of it here, but it is important to stay up-to-date with government guidelines and ask professionals and specialists for advice and help.