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Coronavirus (COVID-19): updates and advice, including help if you are struggling financially

Health and safety in a frontline role

Do you need to work on the frontline?

If you’re working on the frontline, but can do all or some of your work from home, we urge you to do so. You should only be working away from home where it is absolutely necessary to carry out your work.

If you think perhaps you can work from home, but are not sure about how you can continue to complete certain tasks, talk to your manager or a digital champion or have a read through our working from home toolkit.

For most of you, it may be necessary to continue working on the frontline. Thank you for your commitment in continuing to go out to work.

If you do need to come into the workplace, please consider how you can change your usual practices to reduce the risk of contracting or spreading coronavirus at work.

Health and safety

Although your work environment or your day to day work may have temporarily changed, keep using our Dorset Council Health and Safety Policies to keep you safe.

All health and safety related risk assessments should be reviewed to consider changes made to working practices due to coronavirus.

On top of our usual policies and guidance, this toolkit should provide some extra guidance on how to stay safe in a frontline role, during this outbreak.

One way to reduce the risk is to follow Public Health England’s instructions regarding social distancing.

Social distancing at work

Take steps to reduce social interaction between you and other people at work, which will help reduce the spread of coronavirus. You should:

  • avoid large and small gatherings in person. Meetings and training sessions can take place on Skype or MS Teams
  • keep at least 2 metres apart from each other if it’s essential to meet someone face to face; keep the numbers as small as possible
  • avoid contact with someone who is showing symptoms of coronavirus. These include a high temperature, shortness of breath and/or new and continuous cough. If someone is showing these symptoms, you should advise them to go home and self-isolate
  • talk to your manager if you have any queries about self-isolation or sickness leave
  • contact the COVID-19 HR Helpline if you have any questions
  • avoid non-essential use of public transport

Everyone must follow these measures as much as is practical.

Personal Protective Equipment (PPE)

We know the lack of PPE has been a source of concern for colleagues in frontline roles.

We've been lobbying central government and the NHS for supplies every day. This is very challenging as there is a national shortage and the NHS is taking priority for the supply of equipment. While some PPE has arrived, we know that availability is still an issue in some areas. Look out for employee news coronavirus update emails and talk to your manager.

Colleagues who need PPE the most are given priority for new supplies. These are colleagues who are giving essential care to or entering the home of someone who has confirmed or is showing symptoms of coronavirus. In our case, this is mainly colleagues in the People directorates.

PPE requirements for you to safely carry out your role will be set out in risk assessments. If you have any queries about what equipment you should be using, contact your line manager.

We are constantly checking to ensure colleagues have the appropriate provision of PPE based on national guidance from Public Health England. We apologise for the delay in getting PPE to you as a result of this national shortage. Thank you for bearing with us in this difficult situation which is affecting councils nationally.

Fire wardens and first aiders

Service managers and managers need to ensure appropriate fire warden and first aid coverage for all buildings; as identified in the Fire Risk Assessment, the manager’s risks assessment and the first aid policy and associated guidance.

The Health and Safety Executive (HSE) have announced a 3 month extension to the validity of the following qualifications, if the first aider is unable to re-qualify because of the coronavirus:

  • First Aid at Work
  • Emergency First Aid at Work
  • Paediatric First Aid
  • Emergency Paediatric First Aid

Contact the Health and Safety team for more information: healthandsafety@dorsetcouncil.gov.uk.

Health and safety online training

You are expected to take responsibility for your own health and safety and the health and safety of others that may be impacted by your work.

Dorset Council offers a wide range of health and safety training resources to support you in doing that through Dorset Learning Online .

Contact Dorset Learning Online if you have problems logging in: learningonline@dorsetcouncil.gov.uk.

 

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