13 May Covid-19: Ten tips for staying safe & staying operational
As the weather continues to improve and the workload increases on farms across the UK, many will be considering how best to continue operating whilst managing the risk and maintaining biosecurity.
Guidance from the government which actively encourages those who cannot work from home, to go back to work, only amplifies the need for stringent control measures and careful planning going forward. We’ve put together ten tips for growers on staying safe and staying operational.
- Staff should only come into work if they are well, have no symptoms and if no one in their household is showing symptoms.
- If a member of staff develops symptoms, they should be sent home immediately. You may also consider sending staff home who have been in contact with the person showing symptoms, as a precautionary measure.
- You might also insist upon all members of your team having Coronavirus tests.
- Where possible, vehicles should not be shared and where unavoidable, cabs should be fully disinfected to include door handles, steering wheel and controls between users. Drivers might consider locking the cab, putting a note on the window to remind individuals not to enter and providing their phone number on the note as an alternative method of contact.
- Face to face communications should be kept to a minimum, even where social distancing rules of 2m are adhered to. Communication should be through phone and radio wherever possible. Staff should be supplied with all relevant contact numbers.
- Farm visitors should be discouraged and avoided wherever possible. Where the situation is unavoidable (e.g. machinery repairs, delivery drivers) ensure individuals remain at least 2m apart and follow hygiene guidelines. You might consider putting notices up explaining only essential workers must enter premises, and that deliveries can be left at a distance.
- Hygiene measures should be increased and maintained. Handwashing facilities should be made readily available. To maintain driver hygiene, you might consider supplying each cab with hand wipes and hand sanitiser (alcohol >70%). Employees should be reminded to wash their hands more frequently, and that coughs and sneezes must be into a tissue and disposed of at the earliest opportunity.
- We believe that the use of face masks where appropriate would be regarded as ‘reasonably practicable’ and that you should therefore give this careful consideration. The purpose of wearing a mask maybe to restrict the outward projection of such micro droplets from the wearer and thereby reduce the amount of virus in the atmosphere, it’s travel distance and potentially the volume expelled. Wearing a mask also restricts the wearer from touching their nose and mouth and thereby reduces the potential for them transferring any virus from their hands to those parts of their body where it may be more readily absorbed.
- Where disposable masks are worn, they should be single use only and disposed of in a sealed bag. Hands should be washed immediately. Where reusable masks are worn, they should be washed at 60 degrees centigrade and carefully stored when not in use. For both types of masks, the wearer must ensure there is no gaping around the edge of the mask, the fit is good and a clean-shaven policy must be in place.
- Tea rooms and communal staff welfare areas should be closed where possible, to avoid close contact. Staff should provide their own daily refreshments, where they do not already. Toilet facilities can be kept open but strict hygiene practice must be adhered to.