People unable to work for more than seven days because of coronavirus (COVID-19) can obtain an isolation note through a new online service. A Isolation note will provided to employees with evidence for their employers that they have been advised to self-isolate due to coronavirus, either because they have symptoms or they live with someone who has symptoms, and therefore cannot work.
Daily briefing – Care home workers ‘not been forgotten’
At yesterday’s UK press conference, we heard from the Chancellor Rishi Sunak, NHS England’s Prof Stephen Powis, and Public Health England’s Prof Yvonne Doyle. Key points from Tuesday’s briefing include:
In other developments:
According to figures from Worldometer on April 15, there are:
A UK wide plan to ensure that critical PPE is delivered to those on the front line responding to coronavirus (COVID-19) has been published by Health and Social Care Secretary Matt Hancock. The plan can be found here.
This 3 strand plan aims to provide clear guidance on who needs PPE and when they need it, ensure those who need it can get it at the right time and sets out action to secure enough PPE to last through the entire crisis.
THE guidance COVID-19 personal protective equipment (PPE) is available here. It covers use of personal protective equipment (PPE) by health and social care workers, in the context of the current COVID-19 pandemic. It supersedes previous PPE guidance. A document outlining the main updates to infection prevention and control guidance is available here.
The following posters are available:
The government is calling on businesses to apply to help with services. Use this service to tell the government how your business might be able to help with the response to coronavirus.
The support needed includes things like:
Advice from the HSE
The HSE has issued advice within a document titled: Social distancing, keeping businesses open and in-work activities during the coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak. It covers guidance on social distancing, essential and non-essential work, and in-work activity.
Also released is guidance covering RIDDOR, first aid and chemicals:
RIDDOR reporting of COVID-19
What to report?
First aid cover & qualifications during coronavirus (COVID-19)
If first aid cover for a business is reduced because of coronavirus or the first aid training needed is not available, this advice points out that there are some things that can be done to still comply with the law.
Arrangements for regulation of chemicals during the coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak
The HSE has made some administrative changes in the provision of services for regulating chemicals during the coronavirus outbreak. These are set out for each chemical regime, with updated details on how to contact the HSE.
People unable to work for more than seven days because of coronavirus (COVID-19) can obtain an isolation note through a new online service. Isolation notes will provide employees with evidence for their employers that they have been advised to self-isolate due to coronavirus, either because they have symptoms or they live with someone who has symptoms, and so cannot work. As isolation notes can be obtained without contacting a doctor, this will reduce the pressure on GP surgeries and prevent people needing to leave their homes.
For the first seven days off work, employees can self-certify so they don’t need any evidence for their employer. After that, employers may ask for evidence of sickness absence. Where this is related to having symptoms of coronavirus or living with someone who has symptoms, the isolation note can be used to provide evidence of the advice to self-isolate.
People who need to claim Universal Credit or Employment and Support Allowance because of coronavirus will not be required to produce a fit note or an isolation note.
A new coronavirus Status Checker that will help the NHS coordinate its response and build up additional data on the COVID-19 outbreak has been launched by Health and Social Care Secretary Matt Hancock.
People with potential coronavirus symptoms are now being asked to complete the status checker and answer a short series of questions which will tell the NHS about their experience.
It is open to anyone in the UK to use on the NHS website and in its initial phase the NHS is particularly keen for anyone who thinks they may be displaying potential coronavirus symptoms, no matter how mild, to complete it.
Status Checker users are clearly told at the beginning and the end of the survey that it is not a triage or clinical advice tool, and that they should visit 111 online for medical advice about their symptoms.
The information gathered will help the NHS to plan its response to the outbreak, indicating when and where more resources like oxygen, ventilators and additional staff might be needed and will provide valuable insight into the development and progression of the virus across the country.
Health and Social Care Secretary Matt Hancock said: “Technology and data is playing a vital role in battling coronavirus and supporting our heroic NHS frontline workers to save lives, protect the vulnerable, and relive pressure on the NHS.
“We must learn as much as possible about this virus, and we are asking the whole nation to join this effort.
“If anyone has experienced symptoms of COVID-19 I would urge you to use our new status checker app to help us to collect essential information on the virus and allow us to better allocate NHS resources where they are needed most.”
The tool is live now and people can complete the survey either for themselves or on behalf of someone else with their permission.
It asks them:
Major UK supermarkets bring in safety measures
Major supermarkets in the UK are bringing in measures to prevent the spread of coronavirus, including limiting the number of people in stores and floor markings to help customers maintain a safe distance while queuing.
Sainsbury’s, Tesco, Asda and the Co-Op are among those to implement changes, including extra hand sanitisers in stores for staff and customers to use, cleaning products to wipe down baskets or trolleys and putting up protective screens at checkouts.
Stores have also asked people to try to arrive throughout the day, rather than first thing in the morning, and to pay by card.
Companies not doing enough?
The business select committee has said that it’s received thousands of messages from concerned workers who still have to go into work in the UK – including office-based staff, travel agents and furniture manufacturers.
Rachel Reeves, Labour MP and head of the committee, said that “many businesses are not doing what the government is asking them to do.
“Lots of workers have told us that even if they have symptoms, or are living with a vulnerable person, they are still being made to go to work. That’s not acceptable. The government has put in place a scheme for income replacement, which business should use to pay staff if they’re not coming to work.”
She also called for other firms, such as call centres, to ensure staff can work from home: “In time, businesses will be held accountable for their role, what they’ve done in this pandemic.”
The HSE has issued guidance for occupational health providers, appointed doctors and employers. In the light of advice from Public Health England on COVID-19, HSE has set out in the guidance below, what it describes as a proportionate and flexible approach to enable health/medical surveillance to continue. It applies where workers are undergoing periodic review under several sets of health and safety regulations. The guidance balances the current constraints presented by the COVID-19 outbreak and the need to protect the health, safety and welfare of workers.
Prime Minister’s address
On 23 March, Prime Minister Boris Johnson announced a major ramping up of coronavirus measures. From last night, people in Britain are allowed to leave their homes for only “very limited purposes”, such as shopping for basic necessities; for one form of exercise a day; for any medical need; and to travel to and from work when “absolutely necessary”.
Key points from the PM’s address:
School closures and key workers
Parents have been told that if you can keep your children at home, do so. But key workers still have the right to send their children to school. These are workers in:
The Coronavirus Bill, introduced in the House of Commons on 19 March 2020, received Royal Assent on 25 March 2020 and is now in force.
The purpose of the Act is to enable the Government to respond to an emergency situation and manage the effects of a covid-19 pandemic. A severe pandemic could infect up to 80% of the population leading to a reduced workforce, increased pressure on health services and death management processes. The Bill contains temporary measures designed to either amend existing legislative provisions or introduce new statutory powers which are designed to mitigate these impacts.
Chief medical adviser Prof Chris Whitty advises that the group of people who should take “particular care to minimise their social contact” are:
Many businesses have begun to embrace the idea of flexible working and working from home and, in the current climate, more and more of us may find ourselves plunged into doing so for longer than the one to two days a week, which employers and employees adapt to fairly easily, potentially leading to increased work-related stress and mental health conditions for employers.
It is predicted that by 2020, half of UK’s workforce will work from home, according to the Office for National Statistics. SHP, Barbour EHS and The Healthy Work Company have compiled a home working hub to provide research, case studies, videos and resources to enable you to lead this transition in a way which safeguards the health and wellbeing of your teams and maximises the opportunity to embrace new ways of working for the future and how to maintain a positive mental health and limit stress, as well as helpting to create a healthy workplace for individuals.
OJ Health and Safety do not take credit for all the information above. We have used the online source SHP Online and linked accordly throughout.
Brand Director, Barbour