The latest key advice from the Government is to follow 3 simple actions: Wash hands; Cover face; Make space.
Our Continuing To Work (CTW) strategy is exactly the same, plus the addition of our fourth key action, which is Screening (keeping an eye out for symptoms).
As before, we are following Government guidance regarding Covid-19 Health and Safety at work. The Government have produced a guide to Working safely during coronavirus (COVID-19). It covers 14 areas of work and what we do overlaps in at least 3 of them. We have provided links to the relevant sections in the full document, but please read the following to understand how we are implementing this guidance at Rocketvan.
– Tina is cleaning at the warehouse 6 mornings per week. She disinfects every surface, handle, switch and knob likely to need to be touched by anyone.
– We ask that you touch these switches and knobs as little as possible, and wash your hands immediately after doing so.
– There will be disinfectant wipes placed at regular intervals to ensure that you can wipe any surface you are unsure about. There will also be high alcohol hand sanitiser placed at the same intervals and in particular upon entrance to the warehouse. You will also be able to wash your hands with soap and water in the sink leading to the toilets.
*********– Until further notice, you will all be able to use both the Male and Female toilets. There are currently no female members of staff on site.
– Wash your hands with soap and water after using the toilet and before you leave the warehouse each morning.
– On the question of wearing gloves, this is a matter of personal preference and does not remove the need for frequent, thorough handwashing.
We will have available a selection of work gloves, as well as rubber disposable gloves. It is not necessarily a solution to wear gloves as you’ll simply get the virus onto the gloves if you touch something with it on, and then you might touch something else or your face. We think it is better to just wash your hands regularly, many many times a day, after contact with items and surfaces. With gloves, you’ll have to take them off and put them on again, potentially with the virus on them, with the risk of transferring it to your face accidentally. You will be able to wash them every evening however, which will rid them of any virus which might have attached to them. The emphasis here is to not touch your face in any way whilst wearing them.
We do have a supply of disposable gloves but like disposable masks, we can’t guarantee that we will be able to keep up that supply.
So very regular hand washing is the best option. If you do wish to wear gloves then you must be very careful not to touch your face whilst wearing them, as you will not be able to wash the virus off the gloves during the day.
– We have provided every member of staff with a number of bespoke made cloth face masks or coverings, which you will be able to wash with your uniform after every day. Face coverings have been colour coded to ensure no accidental using of each other’s masks.
The purpose of face coverings is to protect others against the spread of infection because they cover the nose and mouth, which are the main confirmed sources of transmission of the virus. If you all wear your mask/face covering in the correct manner when you cannot be more than 2 metres from each other, then you will be protecting each other from the spread of the virus. You are not wearing it to protect yourself, you are wearing it to protect your colleagues and clients, and so when you cannot be 2m+ apart, this is unequivocally not a question of whether you personally want to or not.
– As part of the previous induction you will all have been given new sets of uniform, the number of sets being dependant on the number of shifts you are likely to be doing. You will be expected to wear clean washed uniform every single day, from your trousers to your jackets, and including your socks, gloves and face coverings. We will be checking for this and you will be signing off on this basis every single morning.
– You will similarly be asked to sign off on the fact that you have been following government guidelines when not at work, in relation to social distancing from anyone outside your household, be that overnight, over the weekend, or just since your last shift.
– There should be as little sharing of items during the day as possible. No sharing of gloves, masks, food or drink containers. You should restrict yourselves to one side of the van each, taking responsibility for clearing and cleaning your side, wiping down your side of the van during and at the end of each day. You may need to share tools but you might be as well to allocate someone on the tools each day to restrict the spread of any potential virus this way also.
In the Warehouse
– Entrance to the warehouse will be via the open shutter doors, and NOT through the front door. The shutter will be open upon your arrival and for the purposes of social distancing whilst getting ready to go to work, we will be treating the yard and warehouse as one space.
– We will be staggering the arrival of each two man team – see below – in half hour slots so as to reduce the number of people here at any one time to just three wherever possible, and to aid easy social distancing. See below for more on two man teams.
***********– You will be coming to work by walking, running, driving or getting a lift in one of the vans. To begin with we have decided that it is not safe to use public transport as it currently stands, and so you cannot come to work or go home on public transport. As discussed with all of you already, you will need to make arrangements to get to and from work by some other means, be it cycling, walking, running, driving one of the vans, or being picked up in one of the vans by your team mate (more to follow). Bicycles will be locked up in the yard so that if you return to collect one, you will not need to come back in to the warehouse.
– Upon arrival in the morning you will follow the painted yellow and black floor signs to enter down your left hand side. These floor signs will have directional arrows to help you, and you will come to a stop only on one of these painted signs.
– You will transact with one of us at the new stores/trade counter to get your jobsheet etc before leaving the yard down the opposite side/shop side, again via the directional painted signs.
– All floor painted signs will be 3m from the next nearest sign in all directions. Only come to a stop when you are standing on one of them and that way every transaction or conversation you have with anyone in the yard or warehouse will be at a safe distance.
– You will come to the warehouse once per day only, in the morning. There will be no returning to the warehouse on any day other than if you need to for work. IE to deliver or to collect something. Any downtime will be spent with your team mate somewhere safe, perhaps parked up or even in a park. We are hoping that there won’t be much downtime as such but there will be an increased need for breaks due to there being two man teams on all jobs. See below.
– The kitchen will be closed off, but there will be a hot water urn and some coffee and tea set up for you in the warehouse for filling your flask with coffee or tea. You might be better off doing this at home before you come in however. You will also be able to fill your water bottle in the sink outside the loos or the outside tap.
– Whilst at the warehouse, please do not touch anything other than what is absolutely necessary, such as the jobsheet or extra tools – eg piano skate – that you might need. We will bring everything to you at the counter. Try not to touch any light switches for example which will all be turned on already, but if you must touch anything, please take all the necessary measures, washing and drying your hands afterwards
– You can of course use the toilet but again, do not touch anything other than what is absolutely necessary. Then wash your hands.
On the Vans
– You will be operating in 2 man teams for the time being. This is to allow for more social distancing on the job, for you and the clients, and also in the vans where we are also trying to establish some shielding between you. 2 man teams can mean quite an intense day’s work, so you will need to have water and food and a change of T shirt with you.
– We would suggest that you try to keep 2m+ from each other as much as possible while doing removals and deliveries, and where this is not possible, i.e. when you are in the van or carrying something together – you should both wear your face coverings. Current
– When travelling in the van we would suggest that you open both windows to allow for the flow of air, and wear your face coverings.
– If we have jobs where more than two people are essential, such as two van jobs or some Julian Chichester deliveries, we would ask that we still attempt to remain 2m+ from each other and wear your face coverings where this is not possible. We would also suggest that you try to stick to carrying larger items – two man lifts – with your van partner. This way you are still getting close to less people and doing so with someone who you will have established a routine with in this regard.
– We will be attempting to begin with to try to keep 2 man teams together, or at least to change them up as infrequently as possible. As you know though, teams change for all sorts of reasons and we will need to do this whenever the need arises. If we can all adjust quickly and in good faith to the new practices however, then we can all be confident that each and every one of us can work carefully, respectfully and safely with whoever we are asked to work with. The future of the company and our navigating our way safely out of this situation into the ‘new normal’ depends to a large degree on this sense of teamwork, so I really hope that we can all approach work and each other with a continued sense of patience and cooperation.
– We would also ask that you do not use shops during working hours until further notice and so make an effort to come to work prepared for all eventualities throughout the day.
********– On larger moves, we will be working on the basis that you will need to take breaks more often than before. These can be discussed during induction and obviously will be relative to the type of job, how long it is, the type of property you are working in and the weather on the day. This will be something that we will work out as we go, but I wanted to flag it up at this stage to let you know that we are aware of it as a potential issue.
– We will be offering each of you a draw string bin liner each day to put any discarded clothing items, or masks or gloves in to keep these items from contaminating other surfaces throughout the day.
– The vans will need to be wiped clean at the end of every single day and at times during the course of the day. You will have disinfectant wipes in each van and you will be asked to wipe yourselves out of the van every evening, leaving nothing in the vans that might be contaminated. This will also apply to any litter. Van cleanliness will form a very important part of our overall hygiene routine around coronavirus and going forward in general. It has fallen well below acceptable standards in the past.
– No clients, or anyone else for that matter will be permitted to travel in the van with you. A third Rocketvan colleague will not be allowed to travel in the van either, even for a lift. Two men only at any one time, and with windows open and face coverings on.
– Nobody is allowed to travel in the back of the vans.
– The matter of the virus being present on furniture surfaces and on our blankets after being in contact with such surfaces, will no doubt have occurred to you. It is not clear for exactly how long the virus remains on surfaces but we would suggest that you should simply be very careful to wash your hands regularly throughout the day and to avoid touching your face before doing so. We will be giving every member of staff their own personal bottles of hand sanitiser to be able to wash hands as often as you like and would recommend using soap and water whenever possible too.
In client’s homes and premises/On the job
– Most of our work will be house and flat moves as well as office relocations for a little while, so you will need to think and act very carefully in and around other people’s homes and premises.
– Expectations for the client will be set by us beforehand on the phone, by email, on the website and in a Coronavirus specific Statement of Service we will be sending out. The emphasis will be on allowing you to do your jobs safely and efficiently, to both protect you and them. If there is any doubt around working conditions in relation to the virus, we will act in your interests every time, assuming of course that you are already acting in each other’s and the clients interests. You should be aware that the circumstances will be new to the client also, so a polite reminder should suffice if any lines are being or look like being crossed.
– Please be already wearing your masks/face coverings upon arrival, when you first enter the property and until you have established that expectations are being met. You can of course keep them on if you want, but if this is because expectations are not being met then you will need to address this immediately – and politely – and if they are still not met, you are to leave the premises and call the office.
– If it is a packing or removal job, open all windows in the property while you are working in it. This will be included in our expectations for the client. They must be shut again afterwards before you leave the property in question. If it is a delivery as opposed to a removal, perhaps open those windows in rooms that you will be spending any time in. We will be asking clients to do this in advance also but you will need to check. You will need to have enough clothes layers to combat slightly colder conditions as a result.
– If you are packing in a kitchen for example, you might want to clean any surfaces you will be using and touching with disinfectant wipes. You will be carrying plenty of these with you on the van.
– Use the toilet on the job if absolutely necessary, but please leave it as you found it and be sure to wash your hands after. You will not be returning to the warehouse as often as you are used to after all.
‘Screening’ or Being Aware of Symptoms
– If you begin to show symptoms or feel like you may have the coronavirus, you must NOT come to work. Please let us know immediately. This should only affect one or two other people if we have been able to keep our teams apart, and even then if we have all been adhering to social distancing and wearing our face coverings, this may not be a concern for anyone else at all.
– We are investigating temperature guns but in view of the work we do and how people will be coming to work, I am not sure that this will be helpful. So keeping alert to symptoms and following the guidelines and information as laid out over the last few pages, will remain yours and our best way of avoiding the spread of the virus and staying healthy.
– If you need to isolate or take time off work having contracted the virus, as before we will pay double the statutory sick pay whilst you are absent. I appreciate that this is not enough but in a worse case scenario where everyone ended up off work at the same time for example, we simply could not afford to pay everybody full pay for however long it takes to get back to work. The best thing therefore is to please take every possible step to avoid getting the virus yourselves or spreading it to your colleagues.
– The following is not a rule but a strong recommendation. I would recommend that you take the same safety first view in dealing with housemates, friends and associates, ensuring that everyone around you is adhering to the guidelines around social distancing and the wearing of face coverings when this is not possible e.g. in shops and on public transport. If they are not, then I would suggest that you try to influence them to do so, or if this is not possible, for the sake of yours and your families health and livelihood, simply avoid them until this is no longer such a critical issue. If you recognise this behaviour in someone in your circle, perhaps they might benefit from some of the information provided here.
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Full guidance document: https://www.gov.uk/guidance/working-safely-during-coronavirus-covid-19
Particularly relevant sections: