Updates on new and changing regulations plus best practice in health, safety, quality and environment

COVID Test shortage: considerations for your business continuity

COVID Test ShortageAs we head towards autumn our schools have opened and the majority of staff have now returned to the office.  We feel we are making progress and the new normal is starting to become normal for many of us. As part of this new way of working we are all looking to manage and balance our risks and as part of that we rely on testing.  However, we are now facing a COVID test shortage and this could have quite an impact on how we can mitigate against COVID and ensure business continuity.

Some of us are facing even greater challenges being in or close to an area of lockdown.  This makes any COVID test shortage even more of a challenge when it comes to ensuring the safety of our staff in the workplace.

Considerations for ensuring business continuity

Of all of this will have an impact on how we can continue to do business.  Staff who share a household with another person who has a suspected infection will need to isolate, if they cannot determine the difference between suspected and actual infections then a much larger number of people will be excluded from the workplace.  Similarly, parents with children who have possible cases who are unable to get a test will need to work from home whilst their child is excluded from school.COVID testing capacity

Whilst we cannot provide a solution to the current crisis in terms of test availability we can take actions to help mitigate the risk within our own businesses by;

  1. Ensuring that we continue to maintain social distances of at least two meters – without this, you’ll be having to cope with multiple people absent from work rather than just those affected (or suspected);
  2. Putting in place a possible private test – if this person is going to have a large impact on productivity perhaps you can pay for a test in order to have certainty? (if you do select this route use a reputable supplier and ensure that the test bears a CE marking);
  3. Enforcing good social distancing and hygiene throughout the workplace and particularly in rest and meal areas – even more so as the weather cools and fewer people take their breaks outside;
  4. Keeping an eye on your staff and others through regular temperature checks on entry to the workplace.
  5. Remind all staff of the 3 key symptoms they should look out for,
    1. a fever
    2. a new continuous cough
    3. a loss of smell or taste
  6. Visit https://self-referral.test-for-coronavirus.service.gov.uk/antigen/name or call 119 as soon as you can to try and get a test.

What next?

As the chart on community testing capacity illustrates, we’re nearly at testing capacity.  Our investment in laboratories which can process these tests was rapid and capacity was adequate earlier in the summer.  However, demand has now outstripped supply and the many testing centres you can see whilst traveling the country can perform additional tests but cannot get them processed until greater bandwidth becomes available.  This is promised but is still some weeks away so we need to plan what we can do ourselves now.

Finally, don’t think that the UK is lagging badly behind our neighbours, we’re currently testing 2.8 people of 1,000.  That ahead of both France (2.1) and Germany (1.8).

Posted by Roger Hart

KN95 face masks, poor standards and forged paperwork

As clients return to their workplaces the issues of personal protection will arise and a significant number of clients will have instances where face coverings or true PPE will be required and we are now seeing large amounts of KN95 face masks.  Suppliers have been quick to spot this and many new entrants have come into the market supplying whatever they can find for sale leading to the supply of equipment which CANNOT be considered as suitable PPE.KN95 face masks

In more normal times you would rely on people you trust as suppliers and take your time to select equipment which you know will work as expected.  In the current climate this will not always be possible so please make sure you know what you’re buying and if it will truly protect your staff.

NOTE: the comments below are applicable to using these masks as a Filtering Face Piece (FFP) item of Personal Protective Equipment.  This is an instance where you expect the mask to protect the wearer from the environment (rather than protecting the environment from the wearer.  Use cases where this low qualify masks might be used could be as per basic face coverings.

KN95 face masks: a standard which you should not trust

What is KN95?  Its a standard commonly used by Chinese manufacturers and broadly similar to our own FFP2 type face masks.  In itself it’s not bad, it roughly follows the recognised American standard N95 which denotes masks which filter out 95% of airborne particulate of 0.3 microns and above.  Whilst COVID-19 has particle sizes smaller than the 0.3 microns of the standard a good quality mask from a know western manufacturer doesn’t simply stop at the 0.3-micron limit – it remains effective with tests of 3M masks showing them effective at particle sizes far smaller than the 0.14 to 0.06 microns which have been reported as typical for COVID-19.

However, we are talking about an N95 mask from a well-recognised manufacturer.  NOT a mask with KN95 which has been manufactured in a hurry to meet western demand by a company you don’t know.  Further, the KN95 Chinese standard is self-certified.  What does that mean?  Well, you just make them and tell everyone that you’ve done a good job… hardly a recipe for consistently high standards.  HSE has commented that the majority of paperwork accompanying these masks is either faked or fraudulent.  HSE have stopped over 25 million items of this type of mask entering the UK supply chain but more are being shipped each day.

HSE issue Safety Alert

For more detail on why you should avoid any mask marked as KN95 for when selecting PPE please read the HSE’s Safety Alert here; https://www.hse.gov.uk/safetybulletins/use-of-face-masks-designated-kn95.htm 

Incidentally, if you are asking staff to wear facemasks then please take a look at how you correctly fit them.  Take a look at HSE’s poster on wearing FFPs: https://www.hse.gov.uk/pubns/disposable-respirator.pdf

Posted by Roger Hart

Coronavirus: Return to Work Planning Risk Map

Most of us are planning and finessing our return to work risk assessments.  We’ve created a Return to Work Planning Risk Map for the use of our retained clients some weeks ago and now is the time to share that with the wider community with the aim of easing everyone’s journey back to work, just click the image below to download the PDF file.

You can download a copy by clicking on the image below and also find a link within it to our return to work documents if you’re not a retained client these can be purchased for a one-off fee of £99.00.  If you are a retained client then please contact us today if you need any of these resources;

  • A COVID-19 Document Pack is available to all Safety~net retained clients on request.  You can also purchase them by clicking the Buy Now button below completing your payment details through our partner, Simple Goods.  This will immediately email you a link to download all of the documents below.

    Buy Now

    • Daily Operations Checklist Word and PDF versions;
    • COVID Workplace Signage Pack x 9 covering reception, office, welfare, stores and other areas PDF version;
    • COVID Return to Work Questionnaire Word version;
    • COVID Return to Work Induction PowerPoint, 22 slides covering all aspects of a safe return to induct your staff;
    • Attendance Record and Question Sheet to follow the presentation;
    • PHE COVID Workplace Signs x 3 PDF;
    • COVID Site Visits Risk Assessment Word version;
    • ToolBox Talks: 2 versions one for onsite staff and one for offsite staff;
    • Flowcharts: 3 documents covering flowcharts for offsite visits, first aid provisions and precautions and identifying vulnerable workers

COVID Return to work planner

Posted by Roger Hart

Coronavirus and HVAC, how your HVAC System can help

Coronavirus and HVACAs we get closer to larger and more complex buildings and even shared office space coming back into use we need to think more widely on the issues of risk management.  You should now review Coronavirus and HVAC. The Building Services Engineering Association have recently introduced new guidance which has been built with the help of REHVA – the Federation of European Heating, Ventilation and Air Conditioning Associations with additional content from CIBSE – the Chartered Institution of Building Services Engineers and BESA – the Building Engineering Services Association.

Changes to building services to support COVID risk management

One of the key elements of advice for Coronavirus and HVAC concerns recirculation of air.  Under normal circumstances, some workplaces may see just 20% fresh air in normal operation in cold temperatures.  Whilst the environment would normally dictate that this is good practice to conserve energy usage and lower carbon emissions our new normal will change this.  If you are running recirculating air the new advice is to run at 100% fresh air and no recirculation as to recirculate air would introduce the potential for increased viral load.

Another change is to ensure that systems are running before and after occupation to further increase air changeover, 2 hours before and 2 hours after occupation where practicable. Outside of this systems may be kept running at a reduced speed to continually change over the air within buildings – this would include overnight and at weekends.  Some larger clients may have automated systems with a sensing CO2 set point.  If this is set to 400ppm (closer to a typical value for outside air) then this will ensure that fresh air is introduced and recirculation is minimised.

We are aware that not all of our clients are major employers which operate such complex systems.  In these cases the simple act of opening windows and reminding users that typical wall and ceiling mount A/C systems simply recirculate air is best practice.  this may increase thermal discomfort but most staff will appreciate the method behind this when told. Similarly, those in production environments may also see a benefit in increased air throughput from leaving external doors open but this does need to be risk assessed on a site by site basis.

For toilet facilities, you may wish to close external windows but keep extraction running continuously to create a negative air pressure for comfort and safety.  It is wise to flush toilets with the lids closed to reduce airborne particles.

Maintenance works for HVAC systems: Coronavirus and HVAC

You should also be aware of the potential for increased risk when inspecting, duct cleaning, replacing filters and so on.  In the current situation, these filters should be treated as contaminated and staff protected accordingly and good hygiene practised.  All filters should be double bagged before disposal.

Good practice for those with fan coil heater exchangers would be to run these in full heating mode once per day ensuring that the fan coil reaches 60oC for at least one hour to deactivate any virus accumulation.

We would caution that we are not HVAC Engineers but the above guidance and the information available at this link is a good starting point for clients.  We would suggest using the above information to request further detail from your contractors or FM partners to ensure you are doing all you can to help control COVID exposure.

We hope that this information helps you.  If you have any questions relating to Coronavirus please contact your retained safety consultant if you are a member of our Safety~net competent person service. We have a number of documents available for retained clients including model risk assessments, flow charts on isolation, administering first aid and home working, toolbox talks for office-based and field-based staff and similar documents which are being developed each day.  We’re still open, our phone lines are live and we’re ready to help when needed.

Resources;

Posted by Roger Hart

Hand sanitising and surface sanitising, choices and options

We’re beginning the process of returning to work.  As we do so we have choices to make and Hand sanitising and surface sanitisingwe also face shortages of supplies including those of what to supply and use for hand sanitising and surface sanitising.  We know that the message until now has been based on hand washing and now is a good time to briefly clarify what good looks like.

Last week we issued detailed guidance in the form of a risk management map for returning to work complete with induction presentation in PowerPoint, signage, checklists and other supporting documents to all those clients on retained support under our Safety~net competent person service.  If you are a retained client and haven’t got a copy yet please contact us.

Hand sanitising and surface sanitising, choices and options

Handwashing with soap and water remains the method of choice but not all workplaces and work types enable this.  Those working off site or in construction will sometimes find it difficult to wash hands with soap and water.  Use the table below to help you make an informed choice on how to help protect your staff.

Type:Alcohol based hand sanitisers (gel type)Alcohol based surface sanitisersNon alcohol based sanitisersSoap and water
Formulation notes:Must be at least 60% alcohol and preferably 70%, known to be effective if formulation correctMust be at least 60% alcohol and preferably 70%, can be 80%, known to be effective if formulation correctUses quarternary ammonium compounds (usually benzalkonium chloride) instead of alcoholThe best choice for fixed workplaces, use whenever practicable,easily available, low cost, known to be effective
Best for:Higher (£50-65 for 5 litres)Medium (£30-45 for 5 litres)Very lowGeneral use when based on a fixed site
Limitations:Prolonged use on skin likely to cause dermatitis, use soap and water whenever practicable, carry moisturiserProlonged use on skin likely to cause dermatitis, use on surfaces onlyNot as effective against some bacteria and viruses, use with cautionNeed access to a sink and hand drying
Cost:Higher (£50-65 for 5 litres)Medium (£30-45 for 5 litres)Low (£20-£30 for 5 litres)Very low
Use when:Use when soap and water washing is not practicableUse for high contact surfacesA potential alternative for regular use on more sensitive individuals but not as effective - caution!The best solution if a fixed workplace subject to wash time of 20 seconds and good hand drying

We hope that this information helps you.  If you have any questions relating to Coronavirus please contact your retained safety consultant if you are a member of our Safety~net competent person service. We have a number of documents available for retained clients including model risk assessments, flow charts on isolation, administering first aid and home working, toolbox talks for office-based and field-based staff and similar documents which are being developed each day.  We’re still open, our phone lines are live and we’re ready to help when needed.

Resources;

Posted by Roger Hart

Exit plan for coronavirus, our observations

With the announcement. from Boris yesterday we have new information and are now awaiting the accompanying guidance on the Exit plan for coronavirus.  Some have commented that the statements made raise as many questions as they answer and this is perhaps inevitable at this stage and given the unknowns surrounding the virus.  Last week we issued detailed guidance in the form of a risk management map for returning to work complete with induction presentation in PowerPoint, signage, checklists and other supporting documents to all those clients on retained support under our Safety~net competent person service.  If you are a retained client and haven’t got a copy yet please contact us.Exit plan for coronavirus

Now that we have the five alert levels it’s time to review what was issued and the impact on our previous guidance.  In essence, the advice stays the same with an assessment of risk and the maintenance of 2-metre social distancing. The 5 levels are summarised below;

  1. Level 5 – Critical Tight lockdown, Disease spreading rapidly. NHS overwhelmed
  2. Level 4 – Severe (current level), Partial lockdown, Community transmission. NHS stretched but coping
  3. Level 3 – Substantial Disease in general circulation NHS operating at extra capacity. Restrictions remain on the public sector, business and everyday life
  4. Level 2 – Moderate Low transmission NHS operating normally. Schools and business open subject to some special measures
  5. Level 1 – Low Disease no longer present in the UK. No behavioural restrictions. Public and private sectors operate normally

In quick summary this is how we see our clients responding to the 5 levels in their exit plan for coronavirus;

  1. Level 5 – Critical Essential works in support of the crisis to be undertaken if required and subject to risk assessment.  For example, construction works to build a hospital or other essential facilities subject to strict controls
  2. Level 4 – Severe (current level), Construction and manufacturing return to work subject to detailed planning and risk assessment. 2-metre rule maintained at all times, PPE reviewed and specified where required (for example social distancing cannot be maintained). travel on public transport avoided where possible, staggered arrival times, those who can continue to work from home. Contractors only onsite for essential maintenance. Work at other sites avoided where practicable.
  3. Level 3 – Substantial Easing of the above to allow greater production. Disinfection of workplace reviewed, some workers return to the workplace from homeworking. Contractors completing maintenance work subject to controls.  Work at other sites completed subject to risk assessment.
  4. Level 2 – Moderate further easing of the above and perhaps reduced social distancing subject to new guidance and scientific information.
  5. Level 1 – Low A return to a life similar to that before lockdown?

The truth is that we are likely to remain at Level 4 for some weeks and a drop to Level 3 may well be difficult to achieve and also hard to maintain. We are a global economy and with the reproduction rate of the virus being 2.0-2.5 a return to outbreaks of COVID remains a likelihood until we can make a vaccine effective against the disease.

The future challenge which now faces us is to remain vigilant and contain the disease so that its R rate stays below 1.  If we can do that the number of current infections, and with that, the number of potential infections will continue to drop.  Without effective controls in place we face a continuing problem of outbreaks and the real risk of a return to the Level 5 Critical status.

For an illustration worth sharing with your workforce see the image below reproduced from the original article here:

Scenario5 Day Period30 Day Period
No social distancing practiced1 person infects 2.5* others406 people infected as a result
50% reduction in social exposure1 person infects 1.25* others15 people infected as a result
75% reduction in social exposure1 person infects 0.625* others2.5 people infected as a result

Exit plan for coronavirus

We hope that this information helps you.  If you have any questions relating to Coronavirus please contact your retained safety consultant if you are a member of our Safety~net competent person service. We have a number of documents available for retained clients including model risk assessments, flow charts on isolation, administering first aid and home working, toolbox talks for office-based and field-based staff and similar documents which are being developed each day.  We’re still open, our phone lines are live and we’re ready to help when needed.

Resources;

Posted by Roger Hart

Coronavirus demarcation of workplaces, examples of good practice

As we consider the return to our workplaces the issue of demarcation and social distancing becomes more and more relevant.  We all realise that the current lockdown and furlough situation is not sustainable in the longer terms and we must make efforts to adapt our lives and workplaces to fit in with a ‘new normal’

Coronavirus demarcation of workplacesdemarcation of workplaces

The businesses which we support operate across multiple sectors from construction through to industrial. Each sector will have its own challenges and concerns and we have already started to address the construction sector by issuing COVID and social distancing RAMS and other supporting documents.  If you’re a support client under our Safety~net competent person service please get in touch with us for a copy of these documents and to get specific support.

Below we are concentrating on examples which would suit our manufacturing clients including their office spaces, welfare areas and stores.  This information is part of a larger risk management map which we are issuing to clients to allow them to plan their response and re-occupation of their workplaces.  Supporting documents are available including signage, daily checklists, toolbox talks, risk assessment and so on.  More are being developed each week and retained clients will be receiving these materials through email, if you need a copy please contact us.

Demarcation for COVID, examples of good practice

The key issue here relates to maintaining the 2-metre rule for social distancing.  Clients may have sufficient room for this within the workplace but there will be inevitable choke points within your premises and it is important to identify and manage these, examples being;

  • Reception areas – no contact, have sanitiser ready
  • Signing in and out – remove biometric and paper sign-in, prop doors open if possible
  • Clocking in and out – non-contact options to be explored, facial recognition being trialled
  • Stores and receipt and despatch of goods – drivers not to pass paperwork, use email or PO check off, driver stays in vehicle
  • Welfare areas including
    • Toilets – single access?
    • Canteens – remove chairs to reduce capacity, stagger breaks, keep teams together
    • Shared fridges – all staff bring in food with no trips to supermarkets, Tupperware containers cleaned and marked with name, removed at shift end
    • Water coolers – remove or sanitise regularly
  • Office kitchens – common contact points, review usage
  • Main entry and exit routes, walkways – one-way system marked to reduce contact potential
  • Muster areas in case of fire – consider your arrangements
  • Office desks – maintain distances, clear at end of the day for wipe down
  • Materials Handling Equipment – single user with clean down inc charging points

Using hazard tape or similar is established good practice for showing the distance required between people in the workplace, see below for examples.

Also, see our other resources;

Posted by Roger Hart

How long can Coronavirus survive on different surfaces?

WHow long can Coronavirus survive on different surfaces?hen preparing your workplace for reoccupation you have a number of issues to consider one of which is how long can Coronavirus survive on different surfaces?.  For our clients support under our Safety~net competent person service we have created a risk map document which guides you through this process.  This document dynamically links to this post and others like it and also to specific checklists, signs, risk assessments, toolbox talks and other documents which support your return to work.  If you are a retained client, or would like to become one, then please contact us for a download link..

How long can Coronavirus survive on different surfaces?

The virus itself is encased in a membrane that can be broken down by different chemicals including simple soap.  Whilst washing your hands regularly for at least 20 seconds is great advice for us we cannot apply this as easily to our workplaces.  There are a number of different options from bleach solutions (1000ppm available chlorine, see our blog on cleaning your workplace) to high alcohol gels (70% recommended).

The next question you will have is how often to sanitise the areas you have and the information below will help.  If you would like to review the research report you can find it here; Aerosol and Surface Stability of SARS-CoV-2 as Compared with SARS-CoV-1

Coronavirus survival rates on different surfaces:

  • Paper – 1 hour
  • Copper – 2 hours
  • Cardboard – 23 hours
  • Wood – 2 days
  • Cloth – 2 days
  • Stainless steel – 2-3 days
  • Plastic – 3 days
  • Glass – 4 days
  • Paper money (notes) – 4 days
  • Outside of a face mask – 7 days

The above information is approximate and affected by other factors such as temperature, UV exposure and humidity. 

Based on this information you may conclude the following;

  • Hard surfaces require more frequent cleaning;
    • Glass
    • Metal
    • Plastics
  • Money handling should be avoided where possible through electronic payments;
  • Goods storage/receipt will have higher risks from plastic rather than cardboard packaging;
  • Shared cups and glasses should be avoided;
  • Used facemasks should be clearly marked, double bagged and stored securely for 72 hrs before disposal.

We hope that this information helps you.  If you have any questions relating to Coronavirus please contact your retained safety consultant if you are a member of our Safety~net competent person service. We have a number of documents available for retained clients including model risk assessments, flow charts on isolation, administering first aid and home working, toolbox talks for office-based and field-based staff and similar documents which are being developed each day.  We’re still open, our phone lines are live and we’re ready to help when needed.

Resources;

Posted by Roger Hart

Coronavirus Q&A

Following on from Coronavirus Q&Aa recent IOSH Webinar we thoughts we’d share a Coronavirus Q&A which took place which we hope you’ll find useful during the lockdown.  We are still working, albeit from home, but are completing a range of work for clients, particularly those in the construction sector. It looks like construction will be last out and also first in when it comes to getting back to work and so we will use the lessons learnt there to help all our other clients when the time comes.

If you’ve got questions on the points raised below, please contact us for clarification if you’re a Safety~net retained client.  Our thanks to Simon Joyston-Behcel for their insight on these matters.

Coronavirus Q&A

  • What is the requirement for maintaining first aiders in adequate numbers during the lockdown?
    • There is no new specific guidance but it is, as normal, down to your risk assessment.  Please also be aware that first aid will have some higher risks due to COVID – we have a first aid flowchart which might be useful so contact us if you would like a copy.  If you need help to decide on numbers we can provide a template for this calculation.  Please also remember that transmission can be both ways as not all persons who are affected develop symptoms (asymptomatic carriers).
  • We are operating but cannot get our plant inspected as we would normally for lifting gear and pressure systems – can we still operate?
    • Again we are looking at risk assessment here as you need to build a case as to why you have chosen to continue to operate the plant.  You will also need to consider what further precautions you might put into place in the interim if you do decide to keep operations going.  It would also be advisable to keep records of your attempts to source a competent engineer to carry out the inspections.  You should consider the potential for harm carefully, should a failure occur what is the likely result?  Damage to property or damage to persons, what about damage to secondary systems?  Has the equipment functioned reliably and not required maintenance in the past or does it have a history of issues being raised in past inspections?
    • All of the above plus any specifics should form part of your risk assessment.  Please note that HSE’s current approach is that all inspections should be in place, i.e. there is currently no derogation of the Statutory Inspection requirements (examples are lifting equipment and accessories, pressure systems and local exhaust ventilation systems).  However, as of 22/04/20 we have the following update from HSE; HSE will adopt a pragmatic and proportionate approach
  • We have many staff now working from home, can they undertake their own risk assessments for homeworking?
    • Simply put, yes, this is a good idea and also a means to distribute information on good practice.  In fact, this is something which we have championed for many years.  If you would like a copy of our checklist and are a retained client please contact us. If you are not retained then consider a summary document of the good practice you would expect to see and supplement this with relevant questions to cover the DSE, electrical and health requirements. You might want to send a better chair home if staff are working all day, perhaps a courier to despatch their existing office chair if that’s practicable.  Or a screen and separate keyboard could be purchased and expensed.
  • What about home insurance cover for our staff, are there actions we need to take?
    • Your own business insurance would typically cover an employee at work or at home.  In contrast, employees home insurance is unlikely to give them cover for work-related activities.  This is difficult to pin down in terms of good advice and so we would suggest a conversation with your broker/insurer to advise them of the situation you have and get their advice.
  • We want to get back to work but are finding implementing a 2-metre rule to be impracticable, what can we do?
    • We would advise treating this like Q2 above and risk assessing your specific situation. You’ll need to be very careful in how you can justify not aligning with this guidance and have a good reason for doing so plus other robust controls in place.  Be careful about assessing the vulnerability of your workers, assessing the potential loss and consider who in the workforce has vulnerable people within their home.  What we would advise against is simply implementing facemasks and relying on people to protect themselves.
  • Our offices are unoccupied but we would like to arrange for a staff member to visit to review fire and security arrangements and test alarms – can we do this and is it essential?
    • Yes, essential in terms of the lockdown means that it is necessary (essential) to the individual rather than the context of wider society. These kinds of checks are justifiable and whilst we would not see it as reasonable for a group of staff to visit, occasional visits of this type seem to be justifiable as essential journeys under the current guidance.  Again, we would suggest a small, simple risk assessment is in place. You might also want to consider the legionella risks and run unused water outlets at this time, speak to your L8 inspection provider for details.

If you are a retained client on our competent person service, Safety~net, we have a range of other documents available for your use, just call the office or your consultant for more help.  See below for more help and resources in support of this Coronavirus Q&A

Toolbox talks

Resources;

We hope that this information helps you.  If you have any questions relating to Coronavirus please contact your retained safety consultant if you are a member of our Safety~net competent person service. We have a number of documents available for retained clients including model risk assessments, flow charts on isolation, administering first aid and home working, toolbox talks for office-based and field-based staff and similar documents which are being developed each day.  We’re still open, our phone lines are live and we’re ready to help when needed.

Posted by Roger Hart

Coronavirus risk level for different groups, assessing the risk

As we begin our move away from the first stage of the pandemic we begin to face the need for a staged return to work.  Coronavirus risk level for different groupsAs part of this many clients will be facing difficult questions around managing this return whilst keeping their staff safe from harm. As part of this, you will need to be aware of the Coronavirus risk level for different groups.

We have a number of resources which can help many of which are available on the website here and a number of other documents which we have developed exclusively for those clients retaining our services under Safety~net, our competent person scheme. If you’re a member of Safety~net please contact us or your retained consultant for specific additional support.

The Office for National Statistics (ONS) has recently published some useful data which is available here; https://www.ons.gov.uk/peoplepopulationandcommunity/birthsdeathsandmarriages/deaths/datasets/deathsinvolvingcovid19englandandwalesmarch2020

Key factors affecting the Coronavirus risk level for different groups

  • 91% of cases had other health problems;
  • Most common heart disease followed by dementia and then respiratory illness;
  • Average no. of conditions of those killed by the disease is 2.7;
  • A sharp rise in mortality from age 60 upwards;
  • Men approx. twice as likely to die;
  • 86% of death attributed primarily to COVID-19 rather than the other underlying conditions.

Leading causes of death in the UK in March 2020 were as follows; (note: Ischaemic heart disease refers to a build-up of fatty deposits in the arteries)

  1. Dementia: 6,401
  2. Ischaemic heart disease: 4,042
  3. Coronavirus: 3,372
  4. Lower respiratory diseases: 2,925
  5. Cerebrovascular diseases: 2,562
  6. Influenza and pneumonia: 2,446
  7. Lung cancer: 2,299
  8. Unspecified: 1,395
  9. Bowel cancer: 1,252
  10. Blood cancer: 1,057

You should review your staff will reference as to whether they or their close family suffer from one of the above diseases.  You should also consider their age as this increases risk and this is magnified in the case of male versus female workers.

Interestingly, you will also note from figure 10 that overall mortality in March 2020 was actually lower than the 5-year average.  Whilst this does not mean that we can reduce the good work we are doing it does show that the controls we have put in place have prevented a much more concerning outcome at present.

If you are a retained client on our competent person service, Safety~net we have a range of other documents available for your use, just call the office or your consultant for more help.  See below for more help and resources.

Toolbox talks

Resources;

Please note that the images above and an interesting article are available the following link; What the coronavirus figures REALLY show

We hope that this information helps you.  If you have any questions relating to Coronavirus please contact your retained safety consultant if you are a member of our Safety~net competent person service. We have a number of documents available for retained clients including model risk assessments, flow charts on isolation, administering first aid and home working, toolbox talks for office-based and field-based staff and similar documents which are being developed each day.  We’re still open, our phone lines are live and we’re ready to help when needed.

Posted by Roger Hart