Freedom Day 19th July has arrived and there are common actions you should implement or continue to implement as a business owner. The message is a subtle change in emphasis, you should consider rather than you you must. However, your Risk Assessments are critical, determining how you meet your duty of care and manage the H&S of your staff and workplace.
Our team of H&S Professionals are busy picking over the Government updates as they are released. So far 7 of the expected 14 sector updates have been released. As many of our clients are already asking for advice, we have decided to release these now rather than wait for all14 sector updates.
Remember, it’s your responsibility to be aware of the actions required, so please read, however, call us and we will help with any questions.
In addition, please review the notes below as they capture the common actions you should implement or continue to implement. We are all being “encouraged” to follow the guidance rather than legally compelled to do so. Remember you are not alone and we can help you with Risk Assessments and Safe Systems of Work.
Updated Sector-Specific Guidance
General Key points of the guidance: Common areas to embrace as best practice:
“Objective: That all employers include risks from COVID-19 in their health and safety risk assessment.”
Employers and others must continue to follow statutory health and safety requirements, conduct a risk assessment, and take reasonable steps to manage risks in their workplace.
The general guidance message has switched from you must to you should consider. Whilst it removes some of the legal elements it does remind you that you have a duty to protect against any foreseeable risk and that includes COVID-19.
The guidance in general focuses on 3 areas: Ventilation, Reducing the spread and cleaning.
- Possibly using a CO2 monitor to assess where a space if poorly ventilated
- Encouraging use of outside space
- Use of Bubbles / fixed teams
- Erecting screens or barriers
- Encouraging Face coverings for both staff and customers
- Encourage use of hand sanitizers
- Regular cleaning schedules
The guidance strongly encourages clear communication with both your staff and customers. This is to avoid confusion and is best achieved through signage, briefings and any far-reaching communications.
The requirement to work from home has been removed however the return to work is expected to be gradual over the summer. You should remain responsive to workers’ needs, particularly during this period when not every adult will have been offered two vaccine doses. You should adopt practices that help to reduce the risks to individuals in the workplace.
One of my staff has tested positive what do I need to do?
The following is you will need to do in a step by step fashion should you have an employee test positive and where they have been in the workplace:
1. Speak to the positive COVID case and ask them to confirm the 8-digit NHS Test and Trace Account ID (sometimes referred to as a CTAS number) that was linked to the positive persons test.
2. Identify anyone who has come into close contact with them (defined below) this is within 48 hours before the positive test and up to 10 days after the positive result. Make sure you have a contact method for this person e.g. phone number.
- lives in the same household as someone with COVID-19 symptoms or who has tested positive for COVID-19
- has had any of the following types of contact with someone who has tested positive for COVID-19:
- face-to-face contact including being coughed on or having a face-to-face conversation within 1 metre
- been within 1 metre for 1 minute or longer without face-to-face contact
- sexual contacts
- been within 2 metres of someone for more than 15 minutes (either as a one-off contact, or added up together over 1 day)
- travelled in the same vehicle or a plane
3. Call the Self-Isolation Service Hub on 020 3743 6715
4. Send the individuals home and advise them to get a PCR test.
5. Contact Park City for further advice
It is important that they realise that anyone who they pass details on to will be issued with a self-isolation instruction. This instruction will be for 10 days to self-isolate from the original positive test date but will refresh if the individual develops symptoms or tests positive themselves.
Few extra notes:
- Masks do not affect the close contact remit unless they are in a medical setting and of medical grade.
- Perspex screens do count but should be declared into the Self-Isolation Service Hub.
Employers should be aware that it is an offence to allow a worker to attend the workplace if they know the worker has: This is one area that has not changed or been eased!
- has tested positive for COVID-19
- has been in close contact with someone who has tested positive and they have received a notification to self-isolate from NHS Test and Trace.
QR Codes & Test and trace data
From Monday 19 July 2021, designated venues are no longer legally required to ask customers, visitors and staff to “check-in” (attendees can scan the NHS QR code poster via the NHS COVID-19 app or provide their contact details). Although it isn’t a requirement, you are strongly encouraged to retain your NHS QR code poster and maintain your “logbook” containing attendees’ contact details.
- will be triggered if there are two or more cases at a venue (unless it is a large venue, such as a football stadium, which will lead to a case-by-case assessment).
- will ask individuals to book a test as soon as possible. A venue alert will not ask individuals to self-isolate.
- will never name the venue linked to the outbreak.
- does not mean your venue needs to close. Public health guidance will be given to you if you are contacted by NHS Test and Trace so that you can continue to operate safely.
- are not the same alert that individuals receive on the NHS COVID-19 app if they have come into close contact with a confirmed case. Close contact alerts will advise the individual to self-isolate, venue alerts will not.
- will be sent as an app notification to those that scanned the NHS QR code with the NHS COVID-19 app, or by text message to people who provided their contact details to check-in.
Our team will continue to review the sector updates as they are released and further updates will be sent to you.
Please call your lead consultant to ask for advice and guidance, the easing of lockdown will bring many new challenges, the main area being managing your staff resources at optimum levels to support business activities whilst responding to staff self isolation requirements, outbreaks of positive cases in the workplace and “pings” on test and trace.
Never alone, Stronger together with Park City by your side.
Tim and Juliet