Last week, the Government issued seven steps to protect yourself, your staff and your customers during coronavirus. They also issued specific advice for factories, plants and warehouses, as well as research facilities.

  1. Complete a COVID-19 risk assessment. Share it with all your staff.
  2. Clean more often. Increase how often you clean surfaces, especially those that are being touched a lot. Ask your staff and your customers to use hand sanitiser and wash their hands frequently.
  3. Ask visitors to wear face coverings where required to do so by law. That is especially important if your visitors are likely to be around people they do not normally meet. Some exemptions apply.
  4. Make sure everyone is social distancing. Make it easy for everyone to do so by putting up signs or introducing a one-way system that staff and visitors can follow.
  5. Increase ventilation by keeping doors and windows open where possible and running ventilation systems at all times.
  6. Take part in NHS Test and Trace by keeping a record of all staff, contractors and visitors for 21 days. From 18 September, this will be enforced in law. Some exemptions apply.
  7. Turn people with coronavirus symptoms away. If a staff member (or someone in their household) or a visitor has a persistent cough, a high temperature or has lost their sense of taste or smell, they should be isolating.

Five more things to be aware of if you work in or run factories, plants and warehouses:

  • Only use Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) where appropriate. Where you already use PPE in work, you should continue to do so. But when managing the risk of coronavirus, additional PPE beyond what you usually wear is not beneficial in most situations. Refer to Public Health England on how and when to use PPE.
  • Work with the same team every day. Use fixed teams or shift patterns to reduce the number of people each person comes into contact with.
  • Arrange workspaces to keep staff apart. Consider using barriers between workstations or introduce back-to-back or side-to-side working.
  • Inbound and outbound goods. Minimise deliveries and frequency of handling and use the same pairs of people for load handling where more than one person is needed.
  • Keep music and other background noise to a minimum to prevent people from speaking loudly or shouting.

Five more things to be aware of if your business is a lab or research facility:

  • Work with the same team every day. Use fixed teams or shift patterns to reduce the number of people each person comes into contact with.
  • Reduce crowding. Consider how many people can be in each space while remaining socially distant. Use fixed teams or have staff book rooms or labs to avoid overcrowding.
  • Arrange work spaces to keep staff apart. Consider using barriers between workstations and introduce back-to-back or side-to-side working.
  • Clean shared equipment. Clean workstations and shared equipment frequently and limit the number of people who use them.
  • Communicate and train. Make sure all staff and customers are kept up to date with how safety measures are being used and updated.