The fight against Covid-19 is not just about social behaviour, besides the UK Govt Rule of 6, we also have our own Practitioner Rule of 6. We should consider these as a minimum when drafting or assessing risk assessments or safe systems of work.
1. SOCIAL DISTANCING
I keep seeing risk assessments that refer to social distancing without qualifying what they mean. Please state whether your are maintaining 2m, if not, state the circumstances when this drops below 2m and state the RISK MITIGATION measures at 1m+. You need to be clear as the term ‘social distancing’ is meaningless. Try to maintain 2m, but justify the decision to drop to <2m.
2. ENHANCED CLEANING AND CROSS CONTAMINATION
State the measures that you have in place, if necessary, room by room. Confirm what specialist equipment you are using. UVC lamps, electrostatic sprays, high touch point cleaning, frequency of cleaning, cleaners or staff cleaning etc. Set this out in you ‘Enhanced Cleaning Policy’. Consider how shared equipment will be managed/cleaned. General rules are clean and disinfect all shared equipment in between users or quarantine for 72 hours.
3. PERSONAL HYGIENE
Quote the UK Govt/NHS guidance on hand washing/coughing/sneezing etc. and be clear about where your sanitising stations are and how are you ensuring they are topped up. What are you doing off site for mobile workers?
Increase fresh air circulation and shut down recirculated air. Review mechanical ventilation needs depending on activities e.g. gym vs office. Open windows and doors, but (in general) keep fire doors closed. It’s not good enough to state ‘we are increasing ventilation’, consider a separate ventilation section in your risk assessment to acknowledge the significant role ventilation plays.
What information are you communicating to staff and others (contractors/visitors)? How will it be shared, by who and when? The risk assessments are the starting point for content. Returning staff need Covid-19 induction clearly setting out the measures to ensure safety.
Last but not least…PPE. Remember, cloth coverings are not PPE. General rules are at 2m social distancing, respiratory protection is unnecessary. Less than 2m you have options depending on the activity, contact time and risk. Cleanable face visors and/or face masks for close contact work. Options include Type II surgical masks, Type IIR surgical masks, or FFP2/N95 (remember KN95 masks have been discredited by HSE so check). Disposable gloves where there is a risk of contamination from equipment/surfaces etc. Remember, there’s no point wearing any of this if staff don’t know how to use it/wear it/put it on safely.