COVID-19 – Guidance for Garden Centres
Due to the coronavirus pandemic, Derry City and Strabane District Council is seeking your support as an employer to control the risks and comply with the Health and Safety at Work (NI) Order 1978 which includes your duty to protect yourself, your staff and any other person who could be affected by your business (i.e. customers, delivery staff etc.) from the risks posed by the coronavirus.
The Horticulture Trade Association has issued safe trading guidance which can be downloaded at: https://hta.org.uk/uploads/assets/bd8b34da-0289-45de-a120147de703aeeb/HTA-Safe-Trading-GuidanceV10.pdf . This contains valuable guidance in relation to the safe opening of garden centres. It contains information on social distancing to include: site controls; store segregation; queueing guidance and employee protocols. Also further website links from the HTA on guidance on safe working within landscaping and nurseries during the coronavirus pandemic are available at the end of this guidance document.
In order to prevent the spread of Coronavirus (COVID-19) and protect your staff and others, you should assess the risks associated with your activities and implement effective control measures. To assist you with this process, a coronavirus related risk assessment template has been created by HSENI which can be downloaded at: https://www.hseni.gov.uk/news/example-risk-assessment-covid-19-workplaces The Horticulture Trade Association has an example risk assessment which can be downloaded at: https://hta.org.uk/uploads/assets/e004ade1-18eb-4c00-95c79af03f7ed6a1/Managing-COVID-19-In-The-Workplace-Social-Distancing.pdf. Please remember the above link is to a generic risk assessment which lists the hazards in alphabetical order and these hazards may not be relevant to your work place. You must complete your own business specific risk assessment in consultation with your employees, the example risk assessments are there as guides and under no circumstances should be regarded as a suitable and sufficient risk assessment, see further details on risk assessments as below.
The Health and Safety Executive have also produced a short guide on working safely during the coronavirus outbreak which can be accessed at: https://www.hse.gov.uk/news/assets/docs/working-safely-guide.pdf
Information on workplace safety guidelines and social distancing can be accessed at https://www.nibusinessinfo.co.uk/content/coronavirus-workplace-safety-guidelines-and-social-distancing
As every business is different - you should consider:
- Hazards and control measures that are specific to your business and the control measures required to keep staff and members of the public safe and healthy.
- Information, instruction, training and supervision required to ensure that staff understand and follow the controls required.
- Management systems to ensure staff are following the controls in your risk assessment and the advice within the various coronavirus guidance documents - available via the Public Health Agency and from Gov.UK (see links in below guidance “Essential Retail Business on Covid-19”).
At this time please take account of work processes where employees with responsibility for safety critical tasks and checks who could be absent from work at short notice and for long periods due to illness or self-isolation i.e. authorised drivers of fork lift trucks. It is vital that employers have the necessary measures and resources in place, to proactively ensure the continuity of safe systems of work in the absence of such employees.
The following 5 key points, while not exhaustive, are examples of the type of matters that you must consider. You must ensure that any control measures that you implement are relevant to your business activities, are suitable and sufficient and are implemented effectively on an on-going basis.
5 KEY POINTS
This sets out practical steps for businesses focused on 5 key points, which should be implemented as soon as it is practical:
1. Work from home, if you can
All reasonable steps should be taken by employers to help people work from home. But for those who cannot work from home staff should speak to their employer who should ensure that necessary measure have been put in place.
2. Carry out a COVID-19 risk assessment, in consultation with workers
This guidance operates within current health and safety employment and equalities legislation and employers will need to carry out COVID-19 risk assessments in consultation with their workers or trade unions, to establish what guidelines to put in place. This must be clearly communicated to your workers and documented if you have 5 or more employees
3. Maintain two meters social distancing, wherever possible
You must ensure a distance of two metres between all persons – this includes between employees, between customers, between employees and customers and any other visitors (e.g. delivery personnel). Effective arrangements must be in place to ensure customers enter separated, so as to ensure spaces are not crowded and separation can be maintained. Effective queue controls and distance markers may be required inside and outside of premises to ensure safe and effective separation is maintained. This may require properly protected additional employees at premises entrances/exits to manage numbers of customers within their premises and clear signage informing customers of the need to maintain social distancing. The use of frequent PA announcements will help reinforce this message. Suitable screens may be required to protect employees/customers (e.g. at checkouts). Management and employees must ensure the requirements of social distancing are firmly adhered to. Further information is available from: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/guidance-to-employers-and-businesses-about-covid-19/guidance-for-employers-and-businesses-on-coronavirus-covid-19
4. Where people cannot be two meters apart, manage transmission risk
If two meters distancing is not achievable, you must consider if the activity needs to be carried out, or can it be carried out at an alternative time such as when the premises is closed to the public.
Employers should look into putting barriers in shared spaces, creating workplace shift patterns or fixed teams minimising the number of people in contact with one another, or ensuring colleagues are facing away from each other.
Where suitable PPE is required for employees to carry out their work activities safely, employers must provide this free of charge and ensure there is enough available. Examples, may include: gloves, face masks, aprons etc. Further general information on PPE is available from: https://www.hse.gov.uk/toolbox/ppe.htm
5. Reinforcing cleaning processes
Workplaces should be cleaned more frequently, paying close attention to high-contact objects like door handles and keyboards. Employers should provide handwashing facilities or hand sanitisers at entry and exit points. Where possible, allocate work equipment to one employee only.
Businesses must ensure that there are suitable facilities for employees to wash their hands with soap and hot and cold running water and ensure that they do this regularly for at least 20 seconds each time. Information on effective handwashing can be found here: https://www.nhs.uk/live-well/healthy-body/best-way-to-wash-your-hands/
Ensure to catch all coughs and sneezes with tissues, binning them immediately after, the provision of tissues to employees and the display of posters to promote the message of CATCH IT, BIN IT, KILL IT, will help achieve good respiratory hygiene (see links to posters below).
While not a substitute for effective hand washing, hand sanitiser should also be provided for employees and, the provision of hand sanitisers and towels/tissues at work areas should also be considered. You should also consider providing hand sanitisers for customer use when entering and leaving your premises and ensure that these are managed effectively.
Equipment and surfaces that are touched regularly, should be frequently cleaned and disinfected, taking care not to spread any potential contamination. Further advice on cleaning is available from: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/covid-19-decontamination-in-non-healthcare-settings/covid-19-decontamination-in-non-healthcare-settings
A practical guide to making workplaces safer can be accessed at: https://www.nibusinessinfo.co.uk/sites/default/files/Covid-19-Working-Through-This-Together_0.pdf
Employees from vulnerable groups should follow the government’s advice available from: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/covid-19-guidance-on-social-distancing-and-for-vulnerable-people
It is important to keep all employees updated on actions being taken to reduce risks of exposure in the workplace. Ensure all employee contact numbers and emergency contact details are up to date. Ensure managers and supervisors know how to spot symptoms of COVID-19 and are clear on any relevant processes, such as sickness reporting and appropriate procedures if someone in the workplace is potentially infected or displaying symptoms.
Posters and Other Information
Proactive steps must be taken to remind everyone of the key public health advice, to help reduce the spread of coronavirus (COVID-19). Some posters, leaflets and other materials are available from the links below and should be displayed in prominent positions to help inform both employees and members of the public.
Arrangements for Suspected COVID-19 Infection
If someone becomes unwell in the workplace with a new, continuous cough or a high temperature, they should be sent home, advised to stay at home and follow the public health advice available from: https://www.publichealth.hscni.net/covid-19-coronavirus
It is absolutely essential that everyone follows the ongoing advice and rules set down by government to deal with and prevent the spread of Coronavirus (Covid-19). Further information and guidance is available from the links below:
Advice for Employers and Businesses: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/guidance-to-employers-and-businesses-about-covid-19/guidance-for-employers-and-businesses-on-coronavirus-covid-19
Daily Updated list of Related Guidance:
The HSE have also published information and guidance on Coronavirus at: https://www.hse.gov.uk/news/coronavirus.htm
Safe Working for landscapers:
Safe working and operation of nurseries:
Examples of Business Support Information: https://www.derrystrabane.com/Business/Updates-And-Support/Updates-And-Support https://www.derrystrabane.com/Business/Updates-And-Support/SME-Toolkit https://www.nibusinessinfo.co.uk/campaign/coronavirus-updates-support-your-business
The Council’s Business Team can be contacted for further support at: [email protected]
Please Note: The above are not an exhaustive list of example precautions and guidance and it is your responsibility to do all this is required in your particular circumstances, to ensure your efforts are effective.
Further information and guidance on Coronavirus (Covid-19) and on general health and safety, is available from our team’s website at: https://www.derrystrabane.com/healthandsafety and https://www.derrystrabane.com/Subsites/Health-Community-Wellbeing/Covid-19
During this difficult time, we will continue to support and provide assistance to all essential businesses. Should you wish to discuss any matter with a member of the Health & Safety and Consumer Protection Team, please do not hesitate to contact us on 028 71 253253 or by email at [email protected]