5 tips for reopening your business after lockdown

As many businesses look to reopen their premises after lockdown, Brian Lawrie, Vice Chair of the Society of Chief Environmental Health Officers of Scotland, outlines the 5 priority things you should look at.

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3 min read

1. Employees and Risk Assessment

Engage with your staff and review your risk assessments together:

  • Ensure everyone is clear on their role and the procedures
  • Set up steps to monitor that your controls are followed every day. Record what you have done to monitor.
  • Think about the need for work cohorts (bubbles).
  • Make sure everyone can get to work and return home safely.

2. Utility Services

Ensure utility services (e.g. gas, electricity or water supplies) are safe for re-opening. Water stagnation can occur due to lack of use, increasing risk of Legionnaires disease. Review risk assessment and manage Legionella risks before you re-start using:

  • the water system
  • air conditioning units

3. Ventilation

There must be an adequate supply of fresh air (ventilation) in enclosed areas of your workplace. Identify poorly ventilated areas and maximise ventilation by:

  • Natural ventilation – open windows, doors (excluding fire doors), and air vents
  • Mechanical ventilation – use fans and ducts to bring in air from outside
  • A combination of both

4. Hand hygiene and Cleaning

Provide enough alcohol-based hand gel stations throughout the business for employees and customers to maintain cleans hands. It's important to maintain clean hands throughout the working day.

Design a cleaning schedule and train staff on its implementation. Include:

  • Work areas
  • Staff rooms
  • Canteens
  • Toilets
  • Equipment
  • Frequent touch points (door handles, trollies, baskets, handheld devices etc)

Ensure these areas are cleaned and disinfected during the workday.

5. Prepare for Physical Distancing

You are required to keep a 2-metre physical distance between all persons to minimise COVID-19 transmission. Remember to identify pinch points and busy areas.

Consider how you will:

  • Limit customer numbers into a shop at one time
  • Manage queues inside and outdoors e.g. 2m interval floor markings
  • Mark 2m intervals on the floor inside
  • Introduce safe routes i.e. One-way systems
  • Remind customers of physical distancing i.e. tannoy announcements or taped messages
  • Highlight pinch points and busy areas with signs to remind about physical distancing
  • Screen at service counters
  • Stagger start times, finish times and breaks

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