Covid-19 Social Distancing, Risk Assessment. Return to Work
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Safe Working Practice

Train employees on using PPE (personal protective equipment)

Updated: 23/06/2020

The type of PPE that you or your employees need will depend on the type of work that you do, the people you are working with and the work environment where the task takes place. You should carry out a risk assessment to identify which PPE is required.

Make sure that everyone using PPE knows how to use it correctly (incorrect use of PPE can put employees, colleagues and families at risk). The virus will live for some time on surfaces, including on PPE, so you need to be aware of how to use and dispose of it correctly. Below are some links to resources that may help you.

Use this video and poster created by the Health and Safety Executive to remind employees on how to use disposable respirators correctly Respiratory protective equipment

Use these posters and videos to remind employees how to put on and take off PPE correctly (for non-aerosol generating procedures) Guidance for the use of PPE for non-aerosol generating procedures (APG's)

Reuse of PPE

The HSE provide guidance on the reuse of PPE for Health & Social Care specifically and not the wider business sector.  Where there is an extreme shortage of Personal Protective Equipment (PPE), current guidelines advise that  some of the components making up PPE could be reused in certain circumstances; this includes Medical (surgical) masks, Eye protection, Gloves,  Aprons,  Gowns and coveralls.  The guidance defines : "Reuse"  using the same item again, with appropriate precautions, by the same healthcare worker;  "Sessional use" by one health or care worker during one shift while working.  For example In hospitals, leaving a ward area to continue to care or transfer a patient, the same PPE can be worn.  Face masks / respirators, gowns / coveralls and eye protection should be changed when taking a break or when visibly contaminated or damaged.  The guidance is detailed and following it will require careful risk assessment (identification, planning and implementation).

More information on PPE can be found at the website

Receiving Donations of PPE

Updated: 07/05/2020

During this time many individuals and manufactures have been improvising rapid turn arounds in producing Personal Protective Equipment (PPE). While this is completely well meaning on behalf of those producing the materials, for employers this can create a dilemma. You may want to accept the supply or donation but as an employer you have a duty to protect your staff.  By accepting these donations you may be putting yourself and your employees at risk as these items may not protect to the levels expected or required. 

This is particularly important if you are operating in high risk environments where you are providing FFP2 or FFP3 masks.  You should only be sourcing PPE from reputable suppliers.  There is still a need for all those manufacturing products to follow appropriate standards and for you as a purchaser to be satisfied that what you are buying and providing to your staff, has been manufactured in line with appropriate standards (for example BS EN).  You may need to politely refuse donations of products where you cannot verify the quality of manufacture or the level of protection they will provide.

There are many offers of support coming forward, it’s important to prioritise those offers first that will contribute to existing stocks the most.

Scottish Government has set up a team to respond to these offers. A single point of contact has been created and any business, community or voluntary organisation now wishing to make donations of PPE, scrubs, uniforms and other supplies should be directed to email address:  Covid-19 NHS Supply Chain

Standards in development of PPE please can be found on the website 

Planning Ahead with Chartered Institute of Personnel Development

Updated: 24/04/2020

Are you starting to consider if and how your organisation could potentially operate again in a future world, known as the ‘The New Norm’?  Where social distancing will still apply but restrictions will ease in a staged and gradual manner.  If you are, you will need to plan ahead and put the well-being and support of your workforce at the forefront of your planning and communication.

The Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development have a wide variety of resources available to support you; including a decision-making workforce planner to guide your actions and live webinars that can also be accessed afterwards on youtube.

More Information can be found at the CIPD website

RIDDOR reporting of COVID-19

Updated: 15/04/2020

The Health and Safety Executive has released new guidance to help organisations decide whether work related cases of COVID-19 need to be reported. This guidance aims to help organisations comply with requirements under the Reporting of Injuries, Diseases and Dangerous Occurrences Regulations 2013 (RIDDOR). These regulations place duties on employers, self-employed and people in control of premises to report some accidents, occupational diseases and dangerous occurrences. The guidance explains that you must report COVID cases only on these occasions:

Dangerous occurrences – these are near misses (an incident that didn’t cause harm but has the potential to cause injury or ill health). The regulations give a list of incidents that need to be reported including the potential release of a biological agent (such as COVID-19) likely to cause severe human infection or illness.

Disease – where a worker has been diagnosed with COVID-19 and there is reasonable evidence that it was caused by exposure to work. Please note that the diagnosis needs to be carried out by a registered medical practitioner. You should carefully assess each individual case and look for support to identify whether this is work related before making a report.

Fatalities – the guidance also explains that fatalities related to work exposure to COVID-19 should be reported. A registered medical practitioner needs to confirm COVID-19 as the likely cause of death. 

The Health and Safety Executive has provided some examples to help you decide whether a case is reportable

The HSE website contains further information on the RIDDOR reporting of COVID-19.

Dealing with potentially contaminated deliveries

Updated: 08/04/2020

Basic hygiene practices should be applied at all times.  

The aim is to reduce the risk of cross-contamination between delivered items and your workers. This article does not deal with cleaning in clinical settings or where individuals are known or suspected to have contracted COVID-19.

The risk of infection from coronavirus (COVID-19) following contamination of surfaces decreases over time. It is not yet clear at what point there is no risk, however studies suggest that, in most circumstances, the risk is likely to be reduced significantly after 72 hours.

Workplaces should carry out a dynamic risk assessment to determine the level of risk the delivery may pose, for example:

  • Is the item packaged 
  • Has the item been directly handled by packers or delivery staff
  • How long has the item been in transit and where has it come from
  • Is the whole delivery at risk of contamination or only certain parts
  • If you are unsure, act with caution

Basic decontamination actions would be to:

  • Keep delivered items in a separate area until you are satisfied that they pose no threat
  • Use gloves to remove outer packaging and safely dispose of both
  • Using a disposable cloth, first clean hard surfaces with warm soapy water. Then disinfect these surfaces with the cleaning products you normally use, eg a household or your usual disinfectant.
  • Follow safety procedures specified by the manufacturer for the disinfectant you are using 
  • Waste packaging, cloths and gloves etc should be double-bagged, stored securely for at least 72 hours then disposed of in the regular rubbish 
  • Decontaminate the surfaces where the packages have rested
  • Wash hands regularly with soap and water for 20 seconds, and after touching surfaces or removing gloves, aprons and other protection used while cleaning

Remember to look out for the usual safety hazards eg slips, manual handling issues, sharp edges or protruding contents. For very large deliveries for example bulk loads, you may want to consider leaving the items in a segregated area for at least 72 hours before handling them. In any case similar procedures should be followed.

Guidance on cleaning in non-healthcare settings can be found on the website

Health Surveillance 

Updated: 15/06/2020

You might have employees who are due to undergo some health surveillance tests over the next few weeks. In line with recent developments the Health and Safety Executive is allowing for some of these tests to be done remotely. This might be an initial health questionnaire, with the possibility of deferring the assessment for six months when no problems are identified. In some instances an adverse result may require further assessment to be carried out remotely. If issues are still unresolved, the practitioner carrying out the assessment may need to decide whether to see the worker face to face and, if so, how to do so safely.

The HSE Website has more information on health and medical surveillance during the coronavirus outbreak

Lone Working

Updated: 09/04/2020

Remember to be aware of lone workers and provide them with appropriate support. Some of your employees might be providing care and support for those vulnerable, doing maintenance or engineering services, driving and delivering goods or providing security to premises. It’s very likely that they are carrying out these tasks without close supervision, which is called lone working. You should be vigilant and make sure that employees are safe while working on their own.

A risk assessment should be carried out to ensure you take the necessary precautions. You should consider the geographical location, client/customers interactions, late or early work, travel, welfare facilities, how to deal with any physical or mechanical hazards.

You also need to be aware of how to deal with an emergency, including if an employee goes missing. To help you with this make sure that:

  • Arrangements are in place to stay in touch with the lone worker throughout the shift.
  • There is a process in place for escalation if communication fails
  • Everyone keeps and has access to an up to date work diary so you can contact service users throughout the diary 
  • There are arrangements in place for a senior manager to collate the diary, visit details and lone worker details for implementing your emergency plans and contacting police if necessary.

The HSE website has more information on Lone working and protecting those working alone

DSE assessments for employees working at home

Updated: 30/03/20

The Health and Safety Executive states that you must control the risks related to display screen equipment for those that are working from home on a long term basis, and therefore must do a risk assessment for them. However, you don’t have to do it for those that are working from home temporarily.

You can share this checklist from the HSE with employees:

The HSE website has more Information on protecting home workers

First Aid

Updated: 09/04/2020

You can qualify for a 3 month extension for your first aid certificate if it expired on or after the 16th of March. 

The HSE website has more information on first aid cover and qualifications during the coronavirus outbreak


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