Whether you are a business owner, facilities manager or landlord, there are several things you need to be aware of before your offices start to become occupied again. Are your buildings covid safe?
Since the 1st August, employers have been given more discretion to consider how their staff can continue working safely. For some, this will involve continuing to work from home. For others, it could mean a return to the workplace.
Before employees can return to the workplace, landlords and employers need to ensure that they are following covid-secure guidelines. But what exactly does this mean and what other considerations do you need to give to keeping everyone safe?
Following Covid-secure guidelines
Although the Health and Safety Executive has produced a very comprehensive guide to ‘Working safely during the coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak’, it is clear that, when it comes to creating a covid-secure workplace, there is not a ‘one-size-fits-all’. It is very much down to employers, landlords and facilities managers to ensure the safety of employees and visitors. Every building is unique and there is no black and white answer. Thorough risk assessments will need to be carried out and creative solutions found to ensure that businesses are compliant, and everyone is kept as safe as possible.
From a covid-19 perspective, the key areas to consider are:
Consideration needs to be given to how employees and visitors can be kept 2m apart. If this is not viable, keeping 1m apart with risk mitigation is acceptable.
Furniture layout and signage will play a key part in maintaining social distancing.
Careful consideration will need to be given to office layout. Can desk guards or privacy screens be used to reduce the spread of infection? How can you reposition furniture to maintain social distancing in the workplace?
X2 Furniture supply a number of office safety screen and partitioning screen solutions. Click here for more information
Want some ideas and guidance for office layout, whilst maintaining social distancing? – Download X2 Furniture’s Post-covid Office Design Brochure.
Signage will play a critical part in helping keep employees and visitors safe and will form an essential basis of any risk assessment.
PMR Print Solutions, can fulfil all your print requirements; from floor stickers to posters, from pull-up banners to counter-top signage.
Cleaning and hygiene
Good cleaning and hygiene practices are essential for stemming the spread of covid-19. Businesses need to ensure there are adequate hand washing facilities available and signs and posters should be used to help employees understand the importance of good hygiene and remind them of handwashing techniques.
Hand sanitiser should be made regularly available, with hand sanitiser stations clearly signposted and made available.
If you need signage for your hand sanitiser stations, or signage to remind employees of cleaning/hygiene practices, PMR Print Solutions, can supply a wide range of options.
X2 Furniture has partnered with Hi-Kleen to bring you surface sanitiser canisters. HI-KLEEN has been tested to BS EN 1276 and has been specially formulated to kill/inhibit both bacteria and viruses (including ENVELOPED viruses such as coronavirus) for up to five hours on a variety of surfaces, such as handles, handrails, doors, tables and desks, and other areas of frequent contact, with a SINGLE COATING.
It is ideal for offices, conference centres, sports clubs, educational and care facilities and motor vehicles, as well as entertainment and hospitality venues, including restaurants and pubs. It is safe to use on the skin and alcohol free, meaning that there is no drying or irritation to the skin.
Antimicrobial Door Pads
Antimicrobial door pads are ideal way of significantly reducing the spread of bacteria and coronavirus from push doors. The coating on these pads contains silver, which safely inhibits microbial growth. The silver technology targets microorganisms that kill or reduce the spread of bacteria, fungi and certain viruses, including coronavirus.
Face covering and masks
Currently, face coverings are only required to be worn in enclosed public spaces. This includes shops, supermarkets, shopping centres, banks, building societies and post offices. It also extends to all public transport, museums, galleries, cinemas and place of worship.
There is not a requirement to wear them in the office. If your employees chose to wear face coverings, then you should support them.
Other safety considerations when returning to the workplace
Many buildings have been empty for a number of months or operating with a reduced occupancy. This presents landlords and facilities managers with other challenges.
Legionella risks during coronavirus outbreak
Water system stagnation can occur when not used and this increases the risk of Legionnaires’ disease.
If you are reinstating a water system or restarting some types of air conditioning units, you need to review your risk assessment. For detailed information on completing a risk assessment, visit HSE.GOV
Legionella risk check list:
- Flush out hot and cold water systems
- Check air ventilation and air conditioning units
Restarting workplace pressure systems safely
If your business uses pressure systems and these have not been used for some time, it is important to ensure that they are restarted safely.
Pressure systems can be standalone or part of individual machines, processes and site (ancillary) services and include:
- steam boilers
- air compressors and receivers
- industrial refrigeration systems
- hydraulic cylinders for vehicle and passenger lifts
- articulated jibs
- café boilers
- steam cleaners
Full guidance on restarting pressure systems safely can be found at HSE.GOV
Look after your employees’ wellbeing
In our blog ‘Anxiety and the Workplace’, we looked at the increased levels of anxiety amongst employees and measure that employers can take to help reduce stress and anxiety in the workplace.
It is important to remember that many employees will be feeling anxious and apprehensive about returning to the office. Be mindful of this and ensure that time and consideration are given to employees. Take the time to involve them in discussion about the changes being made and ask for their feedback on safety measures that can be put in place.
X2 Furniture are specialists in providing innovative and cost-effective solutions to businesses. Helping to improve the workplace environment and staff wellbeing. X2 Furniture are currently supplying a number of workplaces with social distancing solutions and protective screening. For further information or to arrange a no-obligation consultation, please call 07808 131 955 or Contact us.
PMR Print Solutions provide quality printing services, no matter how big or small your business or job is. Whatever your Covid-19 print requirements, PMR can help. From pop-up banners in reception areas, to hand sanitiser station posters, or floor stickers and everything in between. Call 01543 462 323 or Contact us for a quote.