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Raising a Concern

You should always speak to your Employer first regarding any workplace concerns.

 

Here is a guide on Working safely during the coronavirus outbreak.

 

You’ve now completed the course, and know:

  • the signs and symptoms of COVID-19 and how it may affect you.
  • your employers and your responsibilities whilst at work.
  • the control measures to use to reduce the chances of contracting COVID-19.
  • what you need to do if you think that you have COVID-19

 

Complete the assessment to check your knowledge and complete the course.

 

 

Employee Responsibilities

What an employee should do

The law places a duty on you – whether you are an employee or self-employed, by ensuring that what you do, or don’t do, does not affect yours or others health and safety.

 

We must all be ‘COVID-19 Aware’ at all times to protect ourselves and others, and we must ensure that whatever control measures that our employer has put in place, we follow.

 

The government is clear that workers should not be forced into an unsafe workplace.

 

However, we must understand that your employer cannot completely eliminate the risk of COVID-19.

 

If you think that your employer could do more to make your workplace safer, let them know.

 

If you observe fellow workers ignoring the rules and putting themselves and others at risk, let your employer know (anonymously if necessary).

 

 

Employer Responsibilities

Under the Health and Safety at Work Act 1974, your employer has a legal duty to ensure your health, safety and welfare whilst at work. Therefore, your workplace must be ‘COVID-19 secure’. This means that all reasonable steps must be taken to reduce your chances of infection from COVID-19 whilst you are at work.

 

To help protect you whilst at work, your employer should work through the following steps in order:

  1. Increasing the frequency of handwashing and surface cleaning in the workplace.
  2. Enable working from home as a first option. Where working from home is not possible, workplaces should make every reasonable effort to comply with the social distancing guidelines set out by the government (keeping people 2m (6 feet) apart wherever possible).
  3. Where the social distancing guidelines cannot be followed in full, in relation to a particular activity, businesses should consider whether that activity needs to continue for the business to operate, and if so, take all the mitigating actions possible to reduce the risk of transmission between their staff.

 

Where the social distancing guidelines cannot be followed in full, employers should ensure:

  • Increasing the frequency of hand washing and surface cleaning.
  • Keeping the activity time involved as short as possible.
  • Using screens or barriers to separate people from each other.
  • Using back-to-back or side-to-side working (rather than face-to-face) whenever possible.
  • Reducing the number of people each person has contact with by using ‘fixed teams or partnering’ (so each person works with only a few others).
  • Finally, if people must work face-to-face for a sustained period with more than a small group of fixed partners, then you will need to assess whether the activity can safely go ahead. No one is obliged to work in an unsafe work environment.

UK Government has released several documents aimed at different types of workplaces explaining how we can get back to work during the COVID-19 pandemic – safely.

 

These are available online and are regularly updated.

 

 

What to do if you think you have COVID-19

If your temperature is high, and/or you start to get a persistent dry cough, you may have been infected with COVID-19.

You should immediately inform your employer and leave work to go home.

 

If you start to cough, use a tissue and dispose of it in bin. If you do not have a tissue, cough into the nook of your elbow.

 

Once you arrive home, you should ‘self isolate’. This means that you should stay at home and not leave for any reason. You should order food or medicines by telephone or online or ask a friend or family member to get it for you.

 

If you live with other people, you should keep 2 metres away from each other.

 

Other people in your household should isolate for 10 days as it can take this long for symptoms to appear.

 

If you feel concerned that you are becoming more ill, call NHS 111 for advice.

 

Click here for some information regarding getting tested

 

 

Face Masks

Face Masks

As more and more people are returning to work and using public transport, it may become impossible to maintain the 2 metre social distancing rules.

 

For this reason, the Government has advised us to use face coverings where the 2 metre distancing rule is not possible.

 

A face mask will not necessarily stop your from contracting COVID-19, but it may help reduce the chances.

 

Wear a mask if you are coughing or sneezing. Masks are effective only when used in combination with frequent hand-cleaning with alcohol-based hand rub or soap and water. If you wear a mask, then you must know how to use it and dispose of it properly.

 

How to wear and make a cloth face covering.

 

Remember – Employers must continue providing the PPE that you normally use to protect yourself or workers, for example exposure to wood dust, flour, welding fume, silica dust.

 

 

Getting to Work

Getting to work

For years the Government have tried to encourage us to use public transport instead of using our own vehicles as this is better for the environment. However, during the COVID-19 pandemic, advice has been reversed. We are now asked to avoid public transport wherever possible, especially during peak times.

 

The best option where possible is to walk to work. If walking is not an option due to the distance to your workplace, then cycling would be the next best option.

 

If it is not possible to cycle to work, then you should use your own vehicle. If using your own vehicle, then you should travel alone.

 

Where possible, your employer should provide additional parking or facilities such as bike-racks to help people walk, run, or cycle to work.

 

Face coverings are still required while using public transport in England. Face coverings are not the same as face masks.

 

Social Distancing

Social Distancing

Social distance means, wherever possible, we should keep at least 2 metres away from others. The exception to this rule is the people that you live with.

 

Social distancing applies to all parts of a business, not just the place where people spend most of their time, but also entrances and exits, break rooms, canteens and similar settings. These are often the most challenging areas to maintain social distancing.

 

Where possible:

  • physically arrange work areas to keep people 2m apart;
  • mark areas using floor paint or tape to help people keep a 2m distance;
  • provide signage to remind people to keep a 2m distance;
  • avoid people working face-to-face, for example working side-by-side.

Where you cannot keep a 2m physical distance, you should think about:

  • assigning one person per work area;
  • reducing the number of people in the work area;
  • assigning and keeping people to shift teams (sometimes known as a cohort), that is people on the same shift working in the same teams, to limit social interaction; keeping the number of people working less than 2m apart to a minimum;
  • using screens to create a physical barrier between people.

 

 

 


Hand Washing

We must all be ‘COVID-19 Aware’ at all times to protect ourselves and others, and we must ensure that whatever control measures that our employer has put in place, we follow.

 

In this and the following sections are some examples of COVID-19 Control Measures that your Employer may ask you to follow.

 

Hand Washing

 

One of the best, and simplest, control measures to prevent transmission is to regularly wash your hands.

 

You should wash your hands for the amount of time it takes to sing “Happy Birthday” twice (around 20 seconds).

 

Here is a helpful NHS video describing this in more detail.

 

Where hand washing is not possible, regularly use hand sanitiser with an alcohol content of at least 60%. Your employer should ensure that an adequate supply is available.

 

 

 

Symptoms

Symptoms include:

  • a high temperature – you feel hot to touch on your chest or back.
  • a new, continuous cough – coughing a lot for more than an hour, or 3 or more coughing episodes in 24 hours. If you usually have a cough, it may be worse than usual.
  • Loss of smell and / or loss of taste

 

One of the problems with this virus is that some infected people are ‘asymptomatic’. This means that a person can have the disease without even knowing it. They can still pass the virus on.

 

There are many people who have had the COVID-19 without even knowing it – and that could include you!

 

This is another reason why we need to maintain our 2 metre ‘social distance’ as our work colleagues may appear to be fit and well, but they actually have the virus.

 

By far, the majority of people who contract COVID-19 make a full recovery. However, the disease can also kill you. Generally, those that die from COVID-19 are either elderly or have some kind of underlying medical condition that may make them weaker.

 

For more Advice on Symptoms please click here.

 

 

 

 

 

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