Returning to Work: Getting Your Workplace Ready for COVID-19 in 2021

While many businesses in the UK are still under mandatory lockdowns due to COVID-19, as a business owner, it’s important that you start preparing for the eventual easing of restrictions. By being proactive, you can ensure that you’ll be ready to meet UK guidelines and reopen as soon as possible. 

While you prepare your workplace, it’s critical that you do everything you can to ensure the health and safety of your employees and customers. This includes important steps like creating a COVID-19 risk assessment, choosing the best surface sanitiser for disinfecting your workplace, and educating your employees about safe practices.

While this may feel overwhelming, it’s not as stressful as you might think. These five tips will help you prepare your business to reopen in 2021.

1. Create a Risk Assessment

Before reopening, all employers are required to complete a risk assessment to evaluate the steps they need to take to ensure safe operations during COVID-19. Self-employed individuals and employers with fewer than five employees do not have to write down their assessments, although it’s still a good idea to do so.

Employers with five or more employees must have a written assessment in place. Use a simple template to make this easier.

When you’ve completed your template, you’ll have a clear picture of areas where potential threats exist and steps you need to take to mitigate them. If you find that it’s not possible to limit the risk, then you’ll need to decide whether you need to halt the activity, do it differently, allow employees to do it from home, or – if it’s an essential activity – what precautions you can take to protect your staff.

You’ll also want to provide a copy of the risk assessment to your employees and open the lines of communication to discuss concerns. If you have more than 50 employees, it’s also recommended that you publish a copy of your assessment on your company’s website.

2. Maintain Social Distancing

Whenever possible, you should take measures to ensure that people maintain a distance of two metres apart. If that’s not an option, it’s also acceptable for them to stay one metre apart while taking other risk mitigation precautions.

To help enforce this, you’ll want to consider using floor tape or paint to mark areas where people should stand or work and provide signs reminding them to keep their distance. You may also want to make some changes to the way you operate your business to limit excess contact.

For example, in situations where workers and/or customers would have had face-to-face contact, you may want to change the structure of your workplace so they work side-by-side or back-to-back. You may also change workflow to avoid crowded areas.

3. Clean and Disinfect

Touching infected surfaces and coming into contact with people who have been exposed to the virus are two of the primary ways that COVID-19 is spread. This makes cleaning, hygiene and washing your hands critical.

To help ensure everyone’s health and safety, you’ll want to choose the best surface sanitiser. In the UK, biocidal products like sanitisers and disinfectant are regulated under the Biocidal Products Regulation (BPR). This ensures that the ingredients won’t harm people, pets or the environment.

However, the government does not regulate the effectiveness of products. The suppliers and manufacturers that create disinfectants and sanitiser are responsible for ensuring their products are effective and for providing instructions for how to use them properly.

The best way to do this is through independent lab testing, which has to follow strict protocols as determined by UK and EU testing standards. Make sure the product you choose meets these standards.

Also, when choosing your products, pay attention to the amount of time it needs to sit on a surface before it’s effective. A product that takes longer than 1 minute is often not practical, because it takes too long to get the job done.

You’ll also want to hang signs and posters to help your workers practise good handwashing techniques and remind them to cough or sneeze into their elbows. It’s also critical to provide handwashing facilities with hot running water, soap and either paper towels or hand dryers. In addition, ensure there are plenty of hand sanitiser stations throughout your workplace.

4. Ventilation and Air Conditioning

Providing proper ventilation can go a long way towards slowing the spread of COVID-19. It’s a good idea to assess your workspace, identify any areas that aren’t adequately ventilated and make adjustments as necessary.

You can increase ventilation by opening windows and doors and/or installing fans. In some cases, you may need to install or update an HVAC system. Some business owners are making things even safer by investing in air decontamination technology.

5. Employee Education

Once you’ve taken all these precautions, your final step is to communicate clearly with your employees. Before they return to work, you’ll need to explain to them any changes you’ve made to help keep them safe from the COVID-19 pandemic.

It’s important to get their thoughts and ideas regarding other steps you can take to make things safer. You’ll also want to let them know that they’re expected to follow the guidelines you’ve outlined and that their behaviour will be monitored and supervised.

Ensure the Health and Safety of Your Employees

As you prepare to open back up in 2021, it’s important that you do everything you can to ensure the health and safety of your staff and patrons. If you’re looking for the best surface sanitiser, look no further than 3G Medical.

Our disinfectant sprays and wipes have been tested and are effective in one-minute or less. They’re independently verified to the EN14476 standard and all other UK and EU standards, and are made in Britain

Take a look through our online store today so you can start preparing your business to reopen as soon as possible.

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