While many of the steps your business needs to take are the same as before Christmas, there are some new things to consider. First, the new variants of the virus now in circulation are much more transmissible. Second, we now know more about the aerosol spread of the virus, so ventilation is important.
1. Review your risk assessment & discuss it with your staff
- It’s important to make sure everyone knows their roles and responsibilities, especially after such a long time away from the workplace.
- Have processes in place to monitor risk control measures, like cleaning schedules.
- Avoid vehicle sharing for travel to and from work. If this isn’t possible, keep windows open and face coverings on.
2. Check your utilities are safe for reopening
- Water in tanks and pipes can stagnate due to lack of use and this increases a risk of harmful bacteria, such as Legionella. More advice here.
- Check gas and electrics and any equipment that needs periodic inspection, such as lifting equipment.
3. Get fresh air into your premises
- Ensure good ventilation throughout your premises (especially check for poorly ventilated areas) by opening doors, windows and air vents. (excluding fire doors) or using fans or ducts to bring in air from outside. More info here.
4. Remember hand hygiene and cleaning
- Check you have hand-washing facilities and provide enough alcohol-based hand gel stations throughout the premises for employees to use regularly throughout the working day.
- Make sure your cleaning schedule includes ‘touch points’ (door handles, card machines) as well as work areas, toilets, back-office/staff areas.
5. Ensure physical distancing
- Review your plans to ensure 2m physical distancing is maintained for staff and customers, especially at pinch points like doorways and stairs and in informal areas, like break rooms.
- This can be done using floor markings, one-way systems, limiting customer numbers, screens and additional signage.
More Scottish Government guidance can be found here and you can check with your local council environmental health team if you have any queries.