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A quick guide to coronavirus measures for factories, plants and warehouses
June 9th 2020
The government’s phased lockdown easing means that many industrial workplaces are now preparing to re-open or scale-up their activities. While social distancing measures for each organisation will depend on specific demands and unique factors, this brief guide aims to outline some of the overall social safety advice that’s currently in place…
A sound risk assessment is clearly fundamental to getting effective social distancing and anti-virus practices established. Employers have a legal responsibility to protect workers from health and safety risks, yet it’s also a fact that no organisation can completely eliminate the risk of COVID-19.
It’s important to involve employees in performing a risk assessment – people working on specific tasks are often those with the best understanding of managing virus risk in practical ways. Equally, this kind of joint problem solving is more likely to produce policies everyone is willing to buy-into.
In general, some common safety actions may include:
- Reduce movement by considering what trips between areas are non-essential – think where radios or mobile phones can be used rather than person-to- person contact
- If at all possible, restrict job rotation; try to keep people working in the same role at the same location
- Where people work in the same area, adopt back-to-back working, rather than workers standing side-by-side
- Introduce a ‘one way’ walking route through the workplace
- Provide adequate handwashing or sanitising facilities throughout the site
- Given the 2 metre distancing recommendation, think if it’s feasible to do this in a lift area – it’s best to encourage the use of stairs if possible. Consider making lifts exclusively for the use of those with restricted mobility
- Regulate how many people can use high traffic areas such as corridors, walkways and entrances
- Stagger start and finish times for workers
- If practical, provide extra carparking and bike spaces, to help employees avoid public transport
Personal Protection Equipment (PPE) will continue to be an integral part of social distancing at work, and it seems that face masks and coverings will be important for many – see our recent face mask blog for more information on correct face mask selection. Click here.
There are other PPE measures we can help with – face shields and easily installed clear protective screens for areas such as receptions and service counters, for instance.
In terms of helping people to continue to move around safely, signage will be all-important. Here are a few items to consider:
- Posters – reminding people to maintain social distancing, to regularly wash their hands, to think if they can call someone rather than meet in person, stating how many people should be in a restricted area together or highlighting hand sanitisation areas
- Floor stickers – sometimes called floor vinyls – can guide people around a ‘one way’ system, remind them to work back-to-back instead of side-by-side, or mark out 2 metre gaps at workstations, canteens and other critical areas
- Window stickers – these help catch attention and reinforce social distancing guidance. Consider these on entrance doors, screens, cupboard doors, smoking shelters and any prominent area of window
We can help
Along with PPE, Hague has a full range of signage options to help people maintain social distancing in the workplace. Visit Hague Print to find out more. Our team are happy to help and advise, so why not get in touch.
PLEASE NOTE: the government’s social distancing guidelines will continue to develop and change as lockdown is eased, so for all the latest information we recommend keeping in touch with https://www.gov.uk/guidance/working-safely-during-coronavirus-covid-19/factories-plants-and-warehouses