Posted on by Ronnie Devine

Jewellery Quarter

 

What do I need to do in my shop or branches to get ready for work post COVID-19?

On 25th May the UK Government published Guidance on safe working in shops and branches to facilitate the return to work in the middle of June.

It is clear that workers should not be forced into an unsafe workplace, and that social distancing is of prime importance in halting the spread of COVID-19.

The full guidance runs to a 33 page document and can be found on the link below.  It takes about 1 hour to read so below this you'll find a summary of the main points which should be easier to read in less time.

 

PDF download

 

Step 1 - Risk Assessment

The first step is to carry out an appropriate COVID-19 risk assessment, just as you would for other health and safety related hazards. This risk assessment must be done in consultation with your team.

If you have fewer than five workers, or are self-employed, you don’t have to write anything down as part of your Risk assessment.

 

Ways to minimise the risk

  • In every workplace, increasing the frequency of hand washing and surface cleaning.
  • Businesses and workplaces should make every reasonable effort to enable working from home as a first option. Where working from home is not possible, workplaces should make every reasonable effort to comply with the social distancing guidelines set out by the government (keeping people 2m apart wherever possible).
  • Where the social distancing guidelines cannot be followed in full, in relation to a particular activity, businesses should consider whether that activity needs to continue for the business to operate, and if so, take all the mitigating actions possible to reduce the risk of transmission between their staff.
  • Using screens or barriers to separate people from each other.
  • Using back-to-back or side-to-side working (rather than face-to-face) whenever possible.
  • Reducing the number of people each person has contact with by using ‘fixed teams or partnering’ (so each person works with only a few others).
  • Finally, if people must work face-to-face for a sustained period with more than a small group of fixed partners, then you will need to assess whether the activity can safely go ahead. No one is obliged to work in an unsafe work environment.
  • In your assessment you should have particular regard to whether the people doing the work are especially vulnerable to COVID-19.

You should share the results of your risk assessment with your workforce. If possible, you should consider publishing the results on your website (and all employers with over 50 workers are expected to do so).

 

Who should go to work?

  • Considering who is essential to be on the premises; for example, back of house workers should work from home if at all possible.
  • Planning for the minimum number of people needed on site to operate safely and effectively.
  • Monitoring the well-being of people who are working from home and helping them stay connected to the rest of the workforce, especially if the majority of their colleagues are on-site.
  • Keeping in touch with off-site workers on their working arrangements including their welfare, mental and physical health and personal security.
  • Providing equipment for people to work from home safely and effectively, for example, remote access to work systems.
  • Clinically extremely vulnerable individuals have been strongly advised not to work outside the home.

Employers should always remember equality on the workplace

  • It is breaking the law to discriminate, directly or indirectly, against anyone because of a protected characteristic such as age, sex or disability.
  • Employers also have particular responsibilities towards disabled workers and those who are new or expectant mothers.

 

Social Distancing whilst at work

You must maintain social distancing in the workplace wherever possible.

Where the social distancing guidelines cannot be followed in full in relation to a particular activity, businesses should consider whether that activity needs to continue for the business to operate, and, if so, take all the mitigating actions possible to reduce the risk of transmission between their staff. Mitigating actions include:

  • Further increasing the frequency of hand washing and surface cleaning.
  • Keeping the activity time involved as short as possible.
  • Using screens or barriers to separate people from each other.
  • Using back-to-back or side-to-side working (rather than face-to-face) whenever possible.
  • Reducing the number of people each person has contact with by using ‘fixed teams or partnering’ (so each person works with only a few others).
  • Social distancing applies to all parts of a business, not just the place where people spend most of their time, but also entrances and exits, break rooms, canteens and similar settings. These are often the most challenging areas to maintain social distancing.

 

Coming to and leaving work

The aim is maintain social distancing on arrival and departure, and to enable hand washing upon arrival.

  • Staggering arrival and departure times at work to reduce crowding into and out of the workplace.
  • Providing additional parking or facilities such as bike-racks to help people walk, run, or cycle to work where possible.
  • Limiting passengers in corporate vehicles, for example, work minibuses. This could include leaving seats empty.
  • Having more entry points to the workplace in larger stores.

 

Moving around buildings and stores

  • Using markings and introducing one-way flow at entry and exit points.
  • Providing hand washing facilities (or hand sanitiser where not possible) at entry and exit points.
  • Providing alternatives to touch-based security devices such as keypads.
  • Defining process alternatives for entry/exit points where appropriate, for example, deactivating pass readers at turnstiles in favour of showing a pass to security personnel at a distance.

 

Workplaces and workstations

For people who work in one place, workstations should allow them to maintain social distancing wherever possible.

  • Reviewing layouts to allow workers to work further apart from each other.
  • Using floor tape or paint to mark areas to help people keep to a 2m distance.
  • Avoiding people working face-to-face. For example, by working side-by-side or facing away from each other.
  • Using screens to create a physical barrier between people.
  • For people who work in one place, workstations should allow them to maintain social distancing wherever possible.
  • Workstations should be assigned to an individual as much as possible.
  • If they need to be shared, they should be shared by the smallest possible number of people.
  • If it is not possible to keep workstations 2m apart then businesses should consider whether that activity needs to continue for the business to operate, and if so take all mitigating actions possible to reduce the risk of transmission.

 

Meetings

  • To reduce transmission due to face-to-face meetings and maintain social distancing in meetings.
  • Using remote working tools to avoid in person meetings.
  • Only absolutely necessary participants should attend meetings and should maintain 2m separation throughout.
  • Avoiding transmission during meetings, for example avoiding sharing pens and other objects. Providing hand sanitiser in meeting rooms.
  • Holding meetings outdoors or in well-ventilated rooms whenever possible.
  • For areas where regular meetings take place, use floor signage to help people maintain social distancing

 

Managing your customers, visitors and contractors

To minimise the contact resulting from visits to stores or outlets.

  • Defining the number of customers that can reasonably follow 2m social distancing within the store and any outdoor selling areas. Take into account total floor space as well as likely pinch points and busy areas.
  • Limiting the number of customers in the store, overall and in any particular congestion areas, for example doorways between outside and inside spaces.
  • Suspending or reducing customer services that cannot be undertaken without contravening social distancing guidelines. This may include re-thinking how assistance is provided, for example, using fixed pairs of colleagues to lift heavy objects rather than a single colleague lifting with a customer.
  • Encouraging customers to shop alone where possible, unless they need specific assistance.
  • Reminding customers who are accompanied by children that they are responsible for supervising them at all times and should follow social distancing guidelines.
  • Looking at how people walk through the shop and how you could adjust this to reduce congestion and contact between customers, for example, queue management or one-way flow, where possible.
  • Using outside premises for queuing where available and safe, for example some car parks. Ensuring any changes to entries, exit and queue management take into account reasonable adjustments for those who need them, including disabled shoppers.
  • Managing outside queues to ensure they do not cause a risk to individuals or other businesses, for example by introducing queuing systems, using barriers and having staff direct customers.
  • Encouraging customers to use hand sanitiser or handwashing facilities as they enter the premises to reduce the risk of transmission by touching products while browsing.
  • Working with your local authority or landlord to take into account the impact of your processes, including queues, on public spaces such as high streets and public car parks.
  • Encouraging customers to avoid handling products whilst browsing, if at all possible.
  • Working within your local area to provide additional parking or facilities such as bike-racks, where possible, to help customers avoid using public transport.
  • Shopping centres should take responsibility for regulating the number of customers in the centre and the queuing process in communal areas on behalf of their retail.
  • Having clearly designated positions from which colleagues can provide advice or assistance to customers whilst maintaining social distance.
  • Working with neighbouring businesses and local authorities to consider how to spread the number of people arriving throughout the day for example by staggering opening hours; this will help reduce demand on public transport at key times and avoid overcrowding.
  • Continuing to keep customer restaurants and cafes closed until further notice, apart from when offering hot or cold food to be consumed off the premises.
  • Avoid sharing vehicles except within a family, for example on test drives. If it is not possible, keep the number of people in the vehicle to a minimum and as distanced within the vehicle space as possible, and use other safety measures such as ensuring good ventilation.

 

Providing and explaining available guidance

To make sure people understand what they need to do to maintain safety by providing clear guidance on social distancing and hygiene to people on arrival, for example, signage and visual aids.

 

Cleaning the workplace

To keep the workplace clean and prevent transmission by touching contaminated surfaces.

Frequent cleaning of objects and surfaces that are touched regularly, using your usual cleaning products. Including self-checkouts, trolleys, coffee machines, betting machines or staff handheld devices, and making sure there are adequate disposal arrangements for cleaning products.

 

Hygiene – hand washing, sanitation facilities and toilets

To help everyone maintain good hygiene throughout the day:

  • Provide signage, and hand sanitiser in multiple locations
  • Enhance cleaning for busy areas

 

Customer fitting rooms

Fitting rooms should be closed wherever possible given the challenges in operating them safely.

  • If not possible limit contact between customers and colleagues during fitting, for example by suspending fitting assistance.
  • Where fitting rooms are essential, they should be cleaned very frequently, typically between each use.
  • Creating procedures to manage clothes that have been tried on, for example delaying their return to the shop floor.

 

Handling goods, merchandise and other materials

To reduce transmission through contact with objects in the store.

  • Limit customer handling of merchandise, for example, through different display methods, new signage or rotation of high-touch stock.
  • Putting in place picking-up and dropping-off collection points where possible, rather than passing goods hand-to-hand.
  • Staggering collection times for customers collecting items, with a queuing system in place to ensure a safe distance of 2m.
  • Setting up ‘no contact’ return procedures where customers take return goods to a designated area.
  • Encouraging contact less refunds, where possible.
  • Storing items that have been returned, donated, brought in for repair or extensively handled, for example tried-on shoes or clothes, in a container or separate room for 72 hours, or cleaning such items with usual cleaning products, before displaying them on the shop floor. Materials used for cleaning can be disposed of normally.
  • Providing guidance to how workers can safely assist customers with handling large item purchases.
  • Considering placing protective coverings on large items that may require customer testing or use, for example, furniture, beds or seats. Ensuring frequent cleaning of these coverings between uses, using usual cleaning products.
  • Cleaning touch-points after each customer use or handover. For some examples, such as rental equipment, and test drive and rental vehicles, interior and exterior touch-points should be considered.

 

Personal Protective Equipment (PPE)

When managing the risk of COVID-19, additional PPE beyond what you usually wear is not beneficial. This is because COVID-19 is a different type of risk to the risks you normally face in a workplace, and needs to be managed through social distancing, hygiene and fixed teams or partnering, not through the use of PPE.

Workplaces should not encourage the precautionary use of extra PPE to protect against COVID-19 outside clinical settings or when responding to a suspected or confirmed case of COVID-19. Unless you are in a situation where the risk of COVID-19 transmission is very high, your risk assessment should reflect the fact that the role of PPE in providing additional protection is extremely limited.

However, if your risk assessment does show that PPE is required, then you must provide this PPE free of charge to workers who need it. Any PPE provided must fit properly.

 

Face Coverings

There are some circumstances when wearing a face covering may be marginally beneficial as a precautionary measure. The evidence suggests that wearing a face covering does not protect you, but it may protect others if you are infected but have not developed symptoms. A face covering can be very simple and may be worn in enclosed spaces where social distancing isn’t possible. It just needs to cover your mouth and nose. It is not the same as a face mask, such as the surgical masks or respirators used by health and care workers. Similarly, face coverings are not the same as the PPE used to manage risks like dust and spray in an industrial context.

Supplies of PPE, including face masks, must continue to be reserved for those who need them to protect against risks in their workplace, such as health and care workers, and those in industrial settings like those exposed to dust hazards. It is important to know that the evidence of the benefit of using a face covering to protect others is weak and the effect is likely to be small, therefore face coverings are not a replacement for the other ways of managing risk, including minimising time spent in contact, using fixed teams and partnering for close-up work, and increasing hand and surface washing. These other measures remain the best ways of managing risk in the workplace and government would therefore not expect to see employers relying on face coverings as risk management for the purpose of their health and safety assessments.

Wearing a face covering is optional and is not required by law, including in the workplace. If you choose to wear one, it is important to use face coverings properly and wash your hands before putting them on and taking them off.

Employers should support their workers in using face coverings safely if they choose to wear one. This means telling workers:

  • Wash your hands thoroughly with soap and water for 20 seconds or use hand sanitiser before putting a face covering on, and after removing it.
  • When wearing a face covering, avoid touching your face or face covering, as you could contaminate them with germs from your hands.
  • Change your face covering if it becomes damp or if you’ve touched it.
  • Continue to wash your hands regularly.
  • Change and wash your face covering daily.
  • If the material is washable, wash in line with manufacturer’s instructions. If it’s not washable, dispose of it carefully in your usual waste.
  • Practise social distancing wherever possible.

 

Work related travel

To avoid unnecessary travel and keep people safe if they do need to travel.

  • Minimising non-essential travel – consider remote options first.
  • Minimising the number of people outside of your household travelling together in any one vehicle, using fixed travel partners, increasing ventilation when possible and avoiding sitting face-to-face.
  • Cleaning shared vehicles between shifts or on handover.
  • Where workers are required to stay away from their home, centrally logging the stay and making sure any overnight accommodation meets social distancing guidelines.

 

Deliveries

To help workers delivering to other sites such as factories, logistics sites or customers’ premises to maintain social distancing and hygiene practices.

  • Putting in place procedures to minimise person-to-person contact during deliveries to other sites.
  • Maintaining consistent pairing where two-person deliveries are required.
  • Minimising contact during payments and exchange of documentation, for example by using electronic payment methods and electronically signed and exchanged documents.

 

Communications and training

To make sure all workers understand COVID-19 related safety procedures.

  • Providing clear, consistent and regular communication to improve understanding and consistency of ways of working.
  • Engaging with workers and worker representatives through existing communication routes to explain and agree any changes in working arrangements.
  • Developing communication and training materials for workers prior to returning to site, especially around new procedures for arrival at work.
  • Awareness and focus on the importance of mental health at times of uncertainty.
  • Ongoing engagement with workers (including through trade unions or employee representative groups) to monitor and understand any unforeseen impacts of changes to working environments.
  • Using simple, clear messaging to explain guidelines using images and clear language, with consideration of groups for which English may not be their first language and those with protected characteristics such as visual impairments.
  • Using visual communications, for example whiteboards or signage, to explain changes to production schedules, breakdowns or materials shortages to reduce the need for face-to-face communications.

 

Inbound and outbound goods

To maintain social distancing and avoid surface transmission when goods enter and leave the site, especially in high volume situations, for example, distribution centres or despatch areas.

  • Considering methods to reduce frequency of deliveries, for example by ordering larger quantities less often.
  • Where possible and safe, having single workers load or unload vehicles.
  • Where possible, using the same pairs of people for loads where more than one is needed.
  • Enabling drivers to access welfare facilities when required, consistent with other guidance.
  • Encouraging drivers to stay in their vehicles where this does not compromise their safety and existing safe working practice, such as preventing drive-aways.

 

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Contact Kudos Giftwrap Today

At Kudos Giftwrap, we work proactively with retailers to create memorable packaging solutions that improve brand engagement and increase customer loyalty. Please get in touch today on 01923 954933 or request a free quotation online

 

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