control measures to reduce the risk of contracting the disease to as low a level as is reasonably practicable. The assessment should therefore consider the following: l How can you ensure a two-metre gap is maintained between employees, residents and any other persons that may be affected by the work activity?
l How can you follow the guidelines on isolation and apply these within a care home environment?
l How are you going to ensure testing is completed?
l Are handwashing facilities in place, including hot and cold running water, soap and disposable hand towels? If these are not available, consider providing hand sanitiser.
l Are disposable tissues available to reduce the threat of transmission?
l Is there an effective action plan in place to deal with someone with suspected symptoms?
l How and when will certain areas and hand-contact points be disinfected to prevent spread?
l Can you display education pieces, such as a symptoms chart and handwashing guidance, throughout the workplace to raise awareness and promote safe practices?
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l How do you plan to monitor the health of employees and ensure the home remains up to date with the latest guidance?
l Are contractors and visitors managed appropriately? Potential control measures may include only allowing essential work to take place, providing handwashing facilities, and ensuring social distancing is maintained.
Does PPE need to be assessed? In the care sector, PPE plays a crucial role in preventing the spread of the virus and will also help staff to feel more at ease when discharging their duties. It is crucial that: l PPE is worn in line with the latest guidance. This will vary based on the task but will typically involve some form of face covering, eye protection and disposable aprons and gloves.
l There is a system in place for PPE to be put on and taken off safely, known as donning and doffing. That is important to ensure it fits the wearer properly and because PPE could potentially be contaminated when it is removed.
l Stock levels are managed so that staff are adequately protected at all times and standards of care
can be maintained.
l Homemade PPE that is donated is properly assessed, as it might not be suitable and therefore put staff and residents at increased risk.
While Covid-19 will undoubtedly test UK care providers to their limits, the employment and health and safety challenges facing care homes are, in many ways, reciprocal: your ability to keep people safe relies on the stability of your team, and the stability of your team relies on how equipped you are to keep people safe. This is something all employers would do well to keep in mind in the coming weeks and months. TCHE
Ellis Whittam has created a coronavirus advice hub, containing free guides, checklists, sample letters and risk assessment templates, to help care sector leaders manage the employment and safety implications of Covid-19. Register online at https://elliswhittam.co
Vital all round defence
June 2020 • www.thecarehomeenvironment.co
FIRE RATED DOOR
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