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Practical Tips for Return to Work Post COVID-19

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COVID-19 has set us all challenges in returning to work, here are some practical tips for Employees. When you DO return to work you will most likely have to make adjustments to 'work safely', these will be based on various criteria and potentially new requirements from your employer.

Be Up to Date with any changes in your company's Policies and Procedures: No excuses, make sure you know of any changes and how they impact you or your workspace.

Changes of shift / work patterns; This may well change in your current environment; we all have to accommodate these changes so that everyone benefits and is kept safe.

Is there a Risk Assessment Available? As highlighted in Return to Work Risk Assessment, this is something that should have taken place, so, make sure your employer has done this AND make sure you have access to it AND fully understand the contents.

Any PPE and How to Use it? If this is relevant for you, make sure you have access to it and understand the use and disposal or care of it.

What should you do if you believe you have the virus? Your employer will have outlined this in their policy, make sure you are aware of what needs to happen should you contract the virus.

Testing and Screening Measures? Some employers will have defined how (and if) they will implement measures for screening and testing. Make sure you comprehend the requirements and if they affect you.

Appropriate Training: As your employer will have a change in their policies and procedures due to COVID-19 they should be providing you with some sort of training to help your Return to Work. Our advice is to attend and make the most of any training offered so that you are fully 'armed' with the requirements of the business and your responsibilities.

Ensure your own and others well-being: To keep us all safe on Returning to Work we must take responsibility for our own well-being and that of the people we work with, don't take chances, work to guidelines and follow procedures.

Check your Environment is Safe to Return to work: This sounds a little odd, but we all have the right to work in a safe environment. To this end your employer needs to have ensured your workplace is clean, sanitary and safe, so ask the question! In some cases, this may well mean a thorough clean before anyone returns but may also mean resumption of cleaning but with additional requirements, for example, phone sanitisation, workstation cleansing wipes, office hand sanitiser and so on. All of these issues should have been considered by your employers Phased Plan of Return to Work Post COVID-19.

Travel Arrangements in Line with Government Advice: Travel to work, traveling for work and any parking arrangements should be covered in your employers 'Return to Work Policy' and Risk Assessment - you want to know the options available and how those affect you.

Finally, be sensible, follow the rules, ensure social distancing with all your work associates and follow good hygiene practises. Be Practical and don't take risks and Keep up to Date with any government or NHS advice and guidance.

Taking a Common-Sense Approach

At the end of the day we all need to remember that we are personally responsible for our own safety and health. We need to follow measures and government guidelines so that we continue to protect ourselves, our families, our work associates and other members of the public.

We need to wear relevant and appropriate PPE as required and advised. The use of it needs to be considered so as not the waste this resource and to ensure we use the right PPE for the work we undertake and the Return to Work RA plays a key part in this process. We all need to follow the guidelines on disposal or cleansing of it, no point using PPE if we don't clean it appropriately OR dispose of it safely.

We must be 'aware' of the risks to others and ourselves so that we can mitigate them. What we mean by this is taking a look at what we do, assessing the risks, removing them if possible (change of work standards) and putting into place measures which control the residual risks, this may mean changing our processes or wearing PPE or limiting people's access and so on.

Don't feel pressured - only return to work when its right to do so (it is safe, procedures are in place and so on). We must not take any unnecessary risks when we return to work. If we do not follow guidelines and safe work procedures, we open ourselves to preventable and avoidable harm. We must not be complacent, the guidelines are there for a reason, so are safe work practices and processes. Therefore, please follow them as they are there to help us all keep safe.

We must not reply on others to keep us safe. At the end of the day it is our own responsibility to keep ourselves 'safe', guidelines are there for a reason, but they are no good if we rely on others to manage our safety - so, follow the rules!