Latest News from BPCA

06 May 2020

Health and safety: returning to work after lockdown

The government may announce an end to some of the lockdown restrictions this Sunday (10 May 2020). This will mean some businesses which had closed could be encouraged to reopen.

It's good to be prepared, so BPCA technical and compliance officer Natalie Bungay takes a look at what you need to consider when you eventually reopen your pest control business. 

299 returning to work after lockdown2

Risk assessments

We love a good risk assessment at BPCA because you can never be too safe! 

It's been advised that a Covid-19 risk assessment must be done for all businesses with five or more employees. However, BPCA highly recommends all companies, regardless of size, carries out a risk assessment relating to the risk of contracting or spreading Covid-19.

Risk assessments are a vital tool to justify your decisions and actions as a business, should the need arise.

Some key points to consider are:

  • Ways the virus could be transmitted/spread
  • Identify activities and locations where transmission is more likely
  • Apply the hierarchy of control to develop a control strategy.

Once you've filled in your risk assessment, it should be made available for all employees to read and sign to acknowledge their understanding.

Risk assessment templates are available to BPCA members in the member area (login required). You can also demonstrate good practice by using a toolbox talk template, also in the BPCA member area, to discuss the risk assessment and how technicians can practically implement the control measures.

Risk assessments are a vital tool to justify your decisions and actions as a business, should the need arise.

Workplace arrangements

As we know, employees must not return to work for seven days if they have begun showing symptoms of Covid-19 or 14 days if they are living with someone who has been showing symptoms. 

You can find more information about that on the Gov UK website

Before returning to work, all employees should complete a screening questionnaire (see guide template from Stallard Kane in BPCA member area) to address any possible exposure to the virus.

Communication and procedures

Signs should be visible in all areas of the workplace, highlighting social distancing rules and hygiene practices.

For example, if you have an equipment/pesticide store that technicians need to visit to re-stock, make sure they understand that they must be 2m apart at all times. Maybe devise a rota for store visits.

It is important that you share with employees any changes that are happening and mitigation measures in place. This is a legal responsibility as well as a moral one. 

To do this you need to make sure that you have effective communication channels in place, including emergency contact details. 

Access, cleaning and limiting numbers

  • Make sure you record any visits to shared workspaces or offices on a log sheet 
  • Where possible restrict or stop all visits to the workplace that are unnecessary
  • Install barriers or floor markings to ensure social distancing while waiting to enter/exit the workplace or store
  • Plastic screens should be used to avoid face to face contact - if technicians need to share a vehicle, drop-down screens can be fitted to protect the occupants.

Make sure you record any visits to shared workspaces or offices on a log sheet

Where possible reduce the numbers of employees on-site at any one time:

  • Introduce a shift system to reduce numbers of workers at any one time
  • Reduce the numbers in teams and desks to an office as a temporary arrangement.

There are various factors to consider and ways to control the use of welfare facilities. These include:

  • Reducing the number of employees in break rooms by introducing staggered dinner breaks
  • Reducing the number of chairs or tables in the break room to ensure social distancing is adhered to
  • Providing hand gels and sprays for wiping down communal items such as microwaves, kettles etc
  • If you have toilet facilities with multiple cubicles, introduce a 'one in, one out' policy
  • Ensuring there are signs in the bathroom to encourage thorough hand washing and general hygiene
  • Consider field workers who may have limited access to toilets due to the lockdown - there are apps available to locate nearby facilities and their status in terms of open or closed. Research should be done and shared with employees.

You should implement a more frequent and robust cleaning regime.

This must include all areas which may not usually be part of the daily cleaning regime, such as:

  • Vehicles
  • Handrails on stairs
  • Door handles
  • PCs
  • Printers
  • Telephones.

Cleaning products should be sourced for ‘anti-viral’ cleaning as Covid-19 is a virus, not a bacterium.

coronavirus-hr-advice-bpca 2

PPE

Extend your use of PPE wherever reasonably possible.

There are certain items such as safety glasses, gloves and face masks, which are frequently a part of a pest controllers toolkit.

Let your customers know that you will be extending your use of these to include your arrival on-site. If at all possible, use disposable items so you can wear a new set on the next job.

Let your clients know of any additional costs because of precautionary measures taken at this time, making it clear that you are taking these steps for your own safety and that of your clients.

You should not substitute frequent hand washing for PPE - continue to practice good hygiene, even if you have been wearing gloves.

Re-usable PPE should be thoroughly cleaned and stored and should not be shared with multiple users.

Single-use PPE should be disposed of as soon as finished and treated as clinical waste.

MORE COVID-19 ADVICE FROM BPCA

13 resources for pest professionals during Covid-19 pandemic

UPDATED: Advice for pest professionals operating during Covid-19 pandemic

UPDATED: Furloughing pest management workers and the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme (JRS)

New legal helpline and video calls for BPCA members

Ask the technical team May 2020

Keep rats out of the attic: mental health resilience for pest pros

ASK THE TECHNICAL TEAM

If you're a BPCA member with a question, get in touch with our technical team.

technical@bpca.org.uk

Source: Online

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