As part of the NHS Test and Trace service, the UK Government has developed action cards to help identify and contain any potential outbreak of COVID-19 in the workplace. These can be used by owners, managers and supervisors of employees who work outdoors, including those within the construction, energy, waste management, infrastructure and rail sectors.
Below, SOCOTEC’s Health & Safety Consultancy provides a brief overview of how the action cards work and what you can do to prevent and control the spread of COVID-19 within your organisation.
What is the purpose of the Test and Trace action cards?
The Test and Trace action cards allow employers to quickly and effectively prevent any potential outbreak of COVID-19 in their organisation. The cards are designed to be printed, downloaded and distributed throughout the workplace to raise awareness of the actions required in the event of a viral outbreak.
How do I manage a suspected or confirmed COVID-19 outbreak within my organisation?
If a case is suspected or confirmed within your organisation, you will be required to follow a series of key steps, each of which is outlined within the Test and Trace action cards:
Identify – your organisation may be informed of a confirmed case of COVID-19 by the NHS Test and Trace service, an employee/visitor or your local Public Health England Health Protection Team (HPT). When you are informed of more than one case, proceed immediately to the Report
- Report – contact your local PHE HPT and local authority for advice, as this is key to minimising any possible wider outbreak in your community as early as possible. This can be located via this link. You may be asked to provide further information, details of which are provided below.
- Respond – your local PHE HPT will work with your organisation to conduct a COVID-19 risk assessment and advise you on the appropriate level of intervention. Depending on the outcome, your HPT and local authority may refer you to an Outbreak Control Team, who will implement an outbreak management plan. This involves working out what needs to be communicated and to whom, as well as updating your COVID-19 risk assessment while the outbreak is being managed.
What sort of information is required when reporting an outbreak of COVID-19 at work?
When reporting a COVID-19 outbreak to your local PHE HPT, you will be asked to provide a range of information about your organisation, as well as details on the suspected or confirmed case(s). This will include:
Details of the organisation
- Name of the business
- Key contact details (name, phone number and email address)
- Location (postcode and your local authority)
- Number of staff
Details of the case(s)
- Contact details of those affected
- When the individual(s) became unwell
- When the individual(s) were last present in the workplace
- Nature of their roles/work activities undertaken by any staff affected
- Known links between the individual(s) with COVID-19 inside and outside of work
- Number of people with which the individual(s) have had close contact
- Nature of the work environment (e.g site layout)
- Details of current control measures in place
- Any contact with other agencies (local authority, Health and Safety Executive)
What are the recommended actions to prevent and contain any future COVID-19 outbreaks?
There are a number of measures that your organisation can implement to help prevent any future outbreaks, such as:
- Enhanced hygiene, hand washing and cleaning regimes (including the use of PPE)
- Enhanced testing and tracing
- Increased staff awareness and adherence to preventative measures
- Additional measures to limit access or temporary closure of the site/unit.
What are the benefits of implementing Test and Trace action cards within my organisation?
The implementation of Test and Trace action cards within your workplace allows you to take a proactive approach to preventing and controlling an outbreak of COVID-19, while helping to keep your business and the economy running.
Please adhere to the UK Government guidance document on Working Safely During Coronavirus (COVID-19) for additional information and advice on helping to prevent and manage a possible outbreak in your workplace. This includes details on how to carry out a COVID-19 risk assessment, hygiene procedures, social distancing guidelines and more.
How can SOCOTEC help?
To enable comments sign up for a Disqus account and enter your Disqus shortname in the Articulate node settings.