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Coronavirus: What are the rules for face masks or face coverings?

How not to wear a face covering or mask

How not to wear a face covering or mask

The coronavirus is here for the long haul! The future will depend on social mixing and the prevention that we have in place and how we comply with that.

How to help prevent spreading the virus

Wash your hands often – if soap and water are not readily available, use a hand sanitizer that contains at least 60% alcohol. Cover all surfaces of your hands and rub them together until they feel dry.

Avoid close contact – everyone should wear a mask in public settings and when around people who don’t live in your household.

Clean and disinfect – clean and disinfect frequently touched surfaces daily. This includes tables, doorknobs, light switches, countertops, handles, desks, phones, keyboards, toilets, faucets, and sinks.

Monitor Your Health Daily – be alert for symptoms. Watch for fever, cough, shortness of breath, or other symptoms of COVID-19.

Coronavirus: What are the rules for face masks or face coverings?

What are the face covering rules in shops?

Face coverings must be worn by customers in shops, supermarkets and shopping centres. Shop workers will now also have to wear a face covering.

What about on public transport?

Face coverings are compulsory for anyone travelling by public transport in England, Scotland and Wales, unless they have an exemption or a reasonable excuse. People can be refused travel if they do not follow the rules and can be fined as a last resort.

How about other indoor spaces?

Face coverings are also compulsory in a number of indoor spaces. These include:

  • Banks, building societies and post offices
  • Places of worship
  • Museums, galleries and entertainment venues
  • Libraries and public reading rooms
  • Face coverings do not have to be worn where it would be ”impractical” – for instance when dining in restaurants or exercising in a gym.
Who doesn’t have to wear a face covering?

Some people do not have to wear a face covering. They include:

  • Children (under 11 in England and under 5 in Scotland)
  • Those unable to put on or wear a face covering because of a physical or mental illness or disability
  • People for whom wearing or removing a face covering will cause severe distress
  • Anyone assisting someone who relies on lip reading to communicate

You can take off your mask if:

  • You need to eat, drink, or take medication
  • A police officer or other official asks you to, or if shop staff need to verify your age
Do face coverings work?

World Health Organization (WHO) advice says non-medical face coverings should be worn in public where social distancing is not possible.

Coronavirus is spread when droplets are sprayed into the air when infected people talk, cough or sneeze. Those droplets can then fall on surfaces.

The WHO says there is also emerging evidence of airborne transmission of the virus, with tiny particles hanging in aerosol form in the air.

Homemade cloth face coverings can help reduce the spread from people who are contagious but have no symptoms or are yet to develop symptoms. Taking a face covering on and off can also risk contamination, the WHO says.

How NOT to wear your face covering or mask.

Contact us if you require further information.

Thank you to Royal Devon and Exeter NHS Foundation Trust for the mask infographic.

Information correct at time of publishing.

First Aid Cover During Reduced Staffing as a Result of Covid-19

First Aid Cover During Reduced Staffing as a Result of Covid-19

First Aid Cover During Reduced Staffing as a Result of Covid-19

If first-aid cover for your business is reduced because of coronavirus (perhaps your first aiders are furloughed or working from home) or you can’t get the first-aid training you need, there are some things you can do so that you still comply with the law.

You should review your first aid needs assessment and decide if you can still provide the cover needed for the workers that are present and the activities that they are doing.

If there are fewer people coming into your workplace, it may still be safe to operate with reduced first-aid cover. You could also stop higher risk activities.

Share First Aid Cover with Another Business

You could share the first aiders of another business, but be sure that they have the knowledge, experience and availability to cover the first aid needs of your business.

Shared first aiders must:

  • be aware of the type of injuries or illnesses that you identified in your first aid needs assessment and have the training and skills to address them
  • know enough about your work environment and its first-aid facilities
  • be able to get to the workplace in good time if needed.

Whoever provides the temporary cover must make sure they do not adversely affect their own first-aid cover.

First-aid Certificate Extensions

If your first aiders hold a first-aid certificate that expires on or after 16 March 2020 and have not been able to access requalification training because of coronavirus, they may qualify for a three-month extension. This applies to the following courses:

  • Offshore Medic (OM)
  • Offshore First Aid (OFA)
  • First Aid at Work (FAW)
  • Emergency First Aid at Work (EFAW).

To qualify for the extension, you must be able to explain why they have not been able to requalify and demonstrate what steps you have taken to access the training, if asked to do so.

Courses are now available for requalification. In England, the final deadline for requalification for these qualifications is 30 September 2020. There is no deadline yet for Scotland and Wales, but employers or certificate holders are encouraged to arrange requalification training as soon as they can.

There are also online options for first aid training. We use a company called IHASCO. Contact them by clicking here.

Contact us should you require further information.

 

 

Effective Workplace Inspections

Why are workplace inspections important?

Workplace inspections help prevent injuries and illnesses. Through critical examination of the workplace, inspections identify and record hazards for corrective action. Joint occupational health and safety committees plan, conduct, report and monitor inspections. Regular workplace inspections are an important part of the overall occupational health and safety program.

What is the purpose of inspections?

As an essential part of a health and safety program, a company should examine the workplace to:

  • listen to the concerns of workers and supervisors
  • gain further understanding of jobs and tasks
  • identify existing and potential hazards
  • determine underlying causes of hazards
  • monitor hazard controls (personal protective equipment, engineering controls, policies, procedures)
  • recommend corrective action

Workplace Elements

Look at all workplace elements – the environment, the equipment and the process. The environment includes such hazards as noise, vibration, lighting, temperature, and ventilation. Equipment includes materials, tools and apparatus for producing a product or a service. The process involves how the worker interacts with the other elements in a series of tasks or operations.

What types of hazards do we look for in a workplace?

Types of workplace hazards include:

  • Safety hazards; e.g., inadequate machine guards, unsafe workplace conditions, unsafe work practices.
  • Biological hazards caused by organisms such as viruses, bacteria, fungi and parasites.
  • Chemical hazards caused by a solid, liquid, vapour, gas, dust, fume or mist.
  • Ergonomic hazards caused by anatomical, physiological, and psychological demands on the worker, such as repetitive and forceful movements, vibration, temperature extremes, and awkward postures arising from improper work methods and improperly designed workstations, tools, and equipment.
  • Physical hazards caused by noise, vibration, energy, weather, heat, cold, electricity, radiation and pressure.

Reports

Inspection records are important. Past inspection records show what has been identified. They also show what an inspection team concentrated on and what areas it did not inspect. The inspection report can draw attention to possible hazards. However, do not simply repeat or copy previous inspections. Use the inspection report to determine whether previous recommendations were implemented.

Are there other types of inspection reports that may be useful?

The following describes three other types of inspection reports:

  • Ongoing
  • Pre-operation
  • Periodic

Supervisors and workers continually conduct ongoing inspections as part of their job responsibilities. Such inspections identify hazardous conditions and either correct them immediately or report them for corrective action. The frequency of these inspections varies with the amount and conditions of equipment use. Daily checks by users assure that the equipment meets minimum acceptable safety requirements.

Pre-operation checks involve inspections of new or modified equipment or processes. Often these are done after workplace shutdowns.

Periodic inspections are regular, planned inspections of the critical components of equipment or systems that have a high potential for causing serious injury or illness. The inspections are often part of preventive maintenance procedures or hazard control programs. The law specifies that qualified persons periodically inspect some types of equipment, such as elevators, boilers, pressure vessels, and fire extinguishers, at regular intervals.

Reviewing

The health and safety committee should review the progress of the recommendations, especially when they pertain to the education and training of employees. It is also the committee’s responsibility to study the information from regular inspections. This will help in identifying trends for the maintenance of an effective health and safety program.

If you require further information please contact us.

 

How to improve the wellbeing of employees.

How to improve the wellbeing of employees

How to improve the wellbeing of employees

When managing health and safety at work, it’s easy to focus on just the physical hazards of the workplace. This is where most of the legislation lies, with the biggest penalties being dealt out for non-compliance.

However, employee wellbeing addresses both the physical and emotional health of employees. Aiming to prevent problems arising or, if they do, helping employees to cope with them. This allows the issues to have a minimal impact on their work.

Why improve wellbeing?

Research shows that having positive wellbeing in the workplace leads to an increase in motivation and productivity, whilst reducing absenteeism and staff turnover. Therefore, creating a workplace culture which supports employee wellbeing should be the goal of any business.

While the benefits are obvious, the negatives of not looking after employee wellbeing speak loudly. With the Centre for Mental Health suggesting that UK companies lose £34.9 billion in productivity because of mental health issues alone.

Don’t limit your business to just health and risk assessments, ensure you improve wellbeing for your employees outside of the legal requirements. Let’s look at some ways you can below.

Improve physical wellbeing

You can set aside funds to encourage the activeness of employees or improve workplace facilities. Whether that be through infrastructure or through education, there are a few key areas you can focus on.

Physical activities

This is the most simple way to improve physical wellbeing, make your employees more physically active. To improve physical wellbeing, an employee doesn’t need to spend hours in the gym but simply move around the office more.

This can be encouraged by implementing an initiative in the workplace where you educate employees on the dangers of a sedentary lifestyle and encourage them to stand up and move throughout the day.

Though it is important to note this “policy” idea is intended to provide permission to employees to get up and moving; it is not meant to be policed.

Funds can also be spent on equipment such as standing desks or a foot peddler to improve their health. Or for those employees who are interested in working out at a local gym, you could look for a group discount to provide them with.

Ideas
• Educational workshops
• Policy/initiatives in the workplace with group walks
• Discounted/free gym memberships
• Weekly/monthly exercise classes at the workplace
• Equipment such as standing desks

Healthy eating

Diet is an important factor in an employee’s physical wellbeing. Over a long working day, it’s inevitable they’ll want a snack at some point. As an employer, you can encourage wellbeing with healthy and nutritional snacks around the workplace.

You can go a step further and ensure there are healthy options when holding workplace functions or events. Always opt for a healthier set of dishes for your employees.

Allowing for an adequate space where employees can store and prepare food also promotes healthy eating. Many convenient lunch meal deals from supermarkets or corner shops are either very calorific or offer little nutritional value. This allows employees to bring in healthier options.

Ideas
• Healthy snacks at work
• Healthy food at work events
• Adequate food storage and preparation equipment at work

Sleep

Sleep deprivation plays a big part in an employee’s wellbeing. If you lack sleep every night, there are some serious ramifications for your long-term health. Research shows that as a result of less sleep, individuals “move slower, have trouble concentrating, become forgetful, make bad decisions, are more irritable, and show visible signs of sleeplessness.”

How can you promote better sleep habits? Encourage employees to take regular breaks and ensure there are reasonable work schedules in place. Promote or provide tips for good sleep at home such as limiting screen time and avoiding stimulants like caffeine too close to bedtime.

Ideas
• Education
• Reasonable work schedules

Improve mental wellbeing

Mental wellbeing in the workplace is something that is incredibly important towards a productive business but is often last on the list of priority.

As mental health is almost invisible compared to physical health, it can often go by the wayside even to those suffering. This leads to an inevitable crash at work if you do not encourage positive mental health wellbeing.

Here are some ways you can encourage mental wellbeing in your workforce.

  • Provide wellbeing support and perks
  • Offering employee benefits aiming at improving wellbeing is a great idea to keeping your employees’ mental health up. This can be achieved in a number of ways, which allow the employee to have a confidential support network.
  • One way of doing this is by investing in an employee assistance programme (EAP) to improve wellbeing. This provides employees with a wellness programme as well as access to counsellors to talk through workplace issues.
  • Providing resources and programmes can also be an invaluable way of supporting mental wellbeing. This allows employees to tackle these issues and at their own pace, sometimes it is difficult to talk to someone else so reading can be a good alternative.

Ideas
• Invest in an EAP
• Provide mental health resources and programmes

Engage with employees

Providing employees with external support measures, such as EAPs, are a great option. However, if you engage with employees, this is a great way to encourage wellbeing alongside this.

If you show you care in the workplace, it can help foster positive wellbeing and bring a workforce closer together.

Whether that be through more one-on-one meetings and recognition, or with events paid for by the company. When talking to an employee, show you care about them as a person, ask about their life, talk about their career and goals rather than just job performance and just engage with them.

  • One on one time with employees
  • Asking about the employee’s life rather than work
  • Talk about their career and goals
  • Company events

We hope this has been useful. Remember to share this information with others in the company.

Contact us if you require further information.

Guest Blog with David Price from Health Assured https://www.healthassured.org/. Thank you!

Menopause at Work: Risk Assessments, Policies & Guidelines

menopause-at-work-risk-assessments-policies-guidelines

Menopause at Work

Overview

Menopause occurs when a woman hasn’t menstruated in 12 consecutive months and can no longer become pregnant naturally. It usually begins between the ages of 45 and 55, but can develop before or after this age range.

Menopause can cause uncomfortable symptoms, such as hot flashes and weight gain. For most women, medical treatment isn’t needed for menopause.

Let’s start with why menopause is relevant in the workplace.

100% of women will go through menopause but that’s nothing new. What has changed is women’s role in the UK workforce.

Women currently comprise nearly half the UK workforce and the number of older UK women in employment has been rising for a number of years alongside the rising retirement age.

As a result of this more women are experiencing menopause whilst working. Moreover, growth in female leadership means the number of women in senior roles is rising and will continue to do so.

So, menopause is more relevant in the workplace today than it was even 20 years ago because women are working longer and they’re working in more senior positions too. The menopause symptoms women will experience can affect performance at work and impact relationships with managers, colleagues and clients.

Symptoms include poor memory and concentration resulting in an inability to recall facts, figures and names leading to a loss of confidence with colleagues and clients. Hot flushes aren’t just uncomfortable they’re embarrassing too. How would you feel about leading an internal meeting or pitching to clients when you’re at risk of visibly breaking into a sweat every 30 minutes?

The good news is with the right support and access to balanced expert information women can successfully learn to manage symptoms at work and at home too.

What can you do as an employer?

Start by reviewing the occupational health and wellbeing documentation you may have in place. If you require this documentation, please contact us.

  • Look at completing a risk assessment for the individual and consider the specific needs of menopausal women with regards to temperature, ventilation, toilet facilities and access to chilled drinking water when they’re in the office, travelling for business or working off site.
  • Consider the formal policies and guidelines you currently have in place with regards to topics like managing stress and mental health and how can they be adapted to incorporate the needs of your female employees experiencing menopause symptoms?
  • Or would it be more appropriate for your organisation to introduce a menopause policy and guidelines as part of your wider health and wellbeing agenda. It may be beneficial to produce separate guidance to meet the differing needs of staff and managers.

Updating your occupational health and wellbeing documentation is just one way your organisation can support female employees through menopause.

In the meantime, if you have any queries, please contact us.

Alternatively, contact hello@talkingmenopause.co.uk to discuss the range of solutions available to your organisation to minimise the impact of menopause in the workplace.