Last week was a particularly heavy week in terms of Government guidance, some fifty eight updated and new guidance notes released last Friday (16.10.2020) alone.
We hope you appreciated our update last week, our team review on a daily basis and we only release to you what we know you need to be aware of. This coupled with the personal support our team provide is proving to be very successful in navigating clients through the minefield of guidance whilst at the same time supporting their very real business needs in terms of specific employment issues and the management of Covid cases in the work place.
We are pleased to have received so many testimonials at this time and as we will keep reminding all our clients and potential clients, you are not alone, we are here to help, handhold and in many cases personally manage the implementation and delivery of those difficult decisions.
Although many of you have designed and implemented a Covid-19 secure workplace and are following a COVID workplace risk assessment, in all cases the requirement to embrace a robust cleaning regime is critical.
The current increase in cases Nationally, which has been mirrored by the number of positive cases experienced by our clients in the workplace, means the cleaning required in the relevant environment after a positive test is confirmed is now a critical element of your management and control to mitigate the potential for an outbreak at work. Please remember if you have two confirmed cases in your workforce it becomes a requirement to inform Public health in your area.
For that reason, we wanted to release this guidance to you today as it’s been updated by Government. Here are some extracts that you should be aware of:
Principles of cleaning after an individual with symptoms of, or confirmed COVID-19, the case has left the setting or area
Personal protective equipment (PPE)
The minimum PPE to be worn for cleaning an area after a person with symptoms of, or confirmed COVID-19 has left the setting possible is disposable gloves and an apron. Wash hands with soap and water for 20 seconds after all PPE has been removed.
If a risk assessment of the setting indicates that a higher level of virus may be present (for example, where someone unwell has spent the night such as in a hotel room or boarding school dormitory) then additional PPE to protect the cleaner’s eyes, mouth and nose may be necessary. The local Public Health England (PHE) Health Protection Team can advise on this.
Cleaning and disinfection
Public areas where a symptomatic person has passed through and spent minimal time but which are not visibly contaminated with body fluids, such as corridors, can be cleaned thoroughly as normal.
All surfaces that the symptomatic person has come into contact with should be cleaned and disinfected, including all potentially contaminated and frequently touched areas such as bathrooms, door handles, telephones, grab rails in corridors and stairwells
Use disposable cloths or paper roll and disposable mop heads, to clean all hard surfaces, floors, chairs, door handles and sanitary fittings – think one site, one wipe, in one direction.
Use one of the options below:
- a combined detergent disinfectant solution at a dilution of 1,000 parts per million available chlorine (ppm av.cl.)
- a household detergent followed by disinfection (1000 ppm av.cl.). Follow manufacturer’s instructions for dilution, application and contact times for all detergents and disinfectants.
- if an alternative disinfectant is used within the organisation ensure that it is effective against enveloped viruses
Please ensure you:
- Avoid mixing cleaning products together as this can create toxic fumes.
- Avoid creating splashes and spray when cleaning.
- Any cloths and mop heads used must be disposed of and should be put into waste bags as outlined here.
- When items cannot be cleaned using detergents or laundered, for example, upholstered furniture and mattresses, steam cleaning should be used.
Here is the updated 16th October guidance:
This guidance covers the cleaning of environments outside the home.
Added information on virus transmission and mitigations.
4:38pm, 16 October 2020
NHS Test and Trace in the workplace
Further reminders of test and trace guidance for employers and what to do if you have positive cases at work. Guidance on NHS Test and Trace for employers, businesses and workers.
Guidance for employers
It is critical that employers take steps to keep workers and visitors safe. By following the 5 steps for working safely, along with sector-specific guidance, employers can reduce the risk of co-workers having to self-isolate if a member of staff tests positive for COVID-19.
NHS Test and Trace does not change existing guidance that employees should work from home wherever possible.
It is vital that employers play their part by:
- making their workplaces as safe as possible (where working from home is not possible)
- requesting that workers self-isolate if they have been asked to do so
- supporting their workers when in isolation
Although this may seem disruptive for businesses, it is less disruptive than an outbreak of COVID-19 in the workplace, and far less disruptive than further social and economic restrictions.
Where to find information on how to report cases of coronavirus in your organisation
COVID-19 early outbreak management information has been created to make sure that people who run businesses or organisations:
- know how to recognise and report an incident of coronavirus (COVID-19)
- are aware of measures local health protection teams may advise in order to contain it
This information is contained within ‘action cards’ that have been designed for specific situations where an outbreak could occur. This could be a restaurant or office, a construction site or a place of worship.
The action cards are designed to be downloaded or printed and kept on hand in your business or organisation.
How COVID-19 early outbreak management action cards help fight the virus
The action cards provide instructions to anyone responsible for a business or organisation on what to do in the event of one or more confirmed cases of coronavirus (COVID-19) in your organisation.
These quick-reference guides provide key steps to help you quickly identify, report and respond to any potential COVID-19 outbreak within your local community. A COVID-19 outbreak is more than one confirmed case of COVID-19. Depending on the type of organisation, this may also include ‘possible’ cases of COVID-19.
The action cards have been developed to cover a range of businesses and organisations to provide specific advice on the issues each type of organisation may face now lockdown restrictions have been eased.
They complement existing outbreak control guidance, and signpost to other useful information to help business owners and managers fully understand their responsibilities in the event of an outbreak of COVID-19.
To access more information refer to the guidance below or search the titles on GOV.UK:
- Working safely during coronavirus (COVID-19)
- COVID-19: cleaning in non-healthcare organisations outside the home
- NHS Test and Trace service in the workplace
- Coronavirus (COVID-19): safer travel guidance for passengers
When to use the early outbreak management action cards
If a confirmed case of COVID-19 has occurred in your business or organisation, go to the reporting an outbreak resource site to find the relevant type of organisation and follow the instructions on the action card. Depending on the type of organisation this may also include ‘possible’ cases of COVID-19, where coronavirus symptoms are present but a case has not been confirmed through testing.
The cards are designed to be printed or downloaded to keep on hand in your business or organisation.
Action cards by sector
FOLLOW THIS LINK and Scroll down to Action cards by sector. Select your sector.
We hope these reminders of how to respond and manage cases at work will help, just remember call us if you have a case and need advice or you just need to talk to a sympathetic business partner who will provide you with professional support at this time.
We anticipate a busy end to the week in terms of guidance updates, as the Job Support Scheme details, the mechanics of the system, the technical details of how to use the scheme, who qualifies etc are yet to be released, when it is, our team will review it and you will be the first to be sent the updated details, as always our team will be on hand to answer any questions and ensure that if your business needs to utilise the new scheme that our team will help you do this in the quickest and most efficient way possible.
Be safe, more to follow later in the week.