What to do if site workers show Covid symptoms
- Date: Wednesday 2nd December 2020
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It is not unlikely that site workers may be off sick with Covid or have to self-isolate due to close contact with an infected or symptomatic individual. When this happens, employers should take steps to minimise the potential spread of the disease. The first step is to have a contingency plan in place that triggers a range of safety measures and procedures to prevent further spread.
Stop the spread
If someone is showing symptoms, implement your preparedness plan and disinfect any areas where the employee has been working, ensuring any tools or equipment that the employee has been using are also disinfected.
Following a positive test, the employee should be told to stay at home and return to work only when the home isolation criteria have been met.
Employers should work with the employee to draw up a list of co-workers they have worked closely with, so that they can be informed. These would be any individuals that have come within six feet of the infected person for a period of time; guidance at present states this is 15 minutes duration or longer. Contact tracers may ask for this information, as well as anyone who the infected person has coughed on, has had physical contact with or travelled in a vehicle with.
Anyone who has been in close contact or is traced through a contact should self-isolate in accordance with current Government guidance but, according to Guidance for England, “should not take a test if they are not symptomatic as this could generate a false negative.”
Employers should not encourage or force individuals who have tested positive, or who have been in contact with someone who has tested positive or who is symptomatic, back into work prior to the end of their quarantine period.
If you have multiple Covid-19 cases on site, contact your local health protection team to report the outbreak, either by visiting the Government website or clicking here. Sites should also help prevent further spread by increasing handwashing, hygiene, cleaning and disinfecting regimes, potentially enhancing the use of personal protective equipment (PPE) where necessary.
Should an outbreak occur, it may be necessary to limit access to, or even temporarily close, a site. However, this would depend on the individual site’s circumstances.
Make sure you follow your company-specific Covid-19 risk assessments and communicate with local health authorities or visit the Government website for further guidance.
Source: Chloe Phillips