As the UK Covid-19 lockdown eases, many businesses are looking to reopen and many already have began the process. Across different industries there are going to be a variety of different requirements prior to reopening. In a lot of these circumstances, facilities management services will be necessary. In order to ensure a successful and safe reopening there are a number of things you must consider. The government has provided their own guidelines on reopening businesses in terms of being ‘Covid-19 secure’ however there are also a range of other things you must consider, from your HVAC to water systems.
Hygiene is obviously of the utmost importance when it comes to reopening facilities post-lockdown. In all industries a deep clean of both internal and external facilities will be necessary and completed in line with government guidelines. It is also essential for all facilities that they are compliant with all relevant laws and legislation so that any missed visits are undertaken prior to opening as well as ensuring all maintenance is completed on schedule and nothing is in need of repair.
Let’s take a look in more detail at some of the industries which may be in the process of opening or planning how they may open in the possibly near future. All of these measures mentioned are transferable across all sectors; yet may be more important in certain sectors.
Before you can look to reopen the office, or any facility for that matter, you will need to consider start up procedures for your water systems. This will include things such as water system cleaning and disinfection in order to prevent risks associated with stagnation. It is important to remain compliant when it comes to the maintenance of your water systems due to the risk of Legionella bacteria growing within water systems if they are not managed correctly. The Legionella bacteria can become airborne and cause Legionnaires disease or Pontiac fever, potentially fatal diseases.
When re-opening your facility, you must update your risk assessment in order to reflect the current usage of water and other systems which have been shut down. Water treatment advisors or public health authorities can assist you where necessary. MSL can assist you with re-opening procedures to ensure your water systems are resumed in a safe manner.
Whilst there are no specific legal requirements surrounding HVAC systems when re-opening a building, it is important that an inspection be carried out due to the extended period the unit will have been out of use. Air quality is incredibly important, so ensure your HVAC is inspected regularly is essential. After prolonged shutdown it is advisable to have it inspected to ensure the filters are cleaned and to remove any bacteria which may be residing in the unit. MSL are available to help re-instate your HVAC maintenance service and schedule, alongside other office facility management services, to ensure your system is running properly upon re-opening.
Of course, in addition to this it is also essential that offices meet hygiene standards as detailed in the ‘Covid-19 secure’ guidelines issued by the government as well as ensuring social distancing measures are in place.
There are various steps which will need to be taken when it comes to hygiene, post-lockdown. This is the case across all industries, but particularly within warehouses due to the use of equipment and increased handling of objects. The objective of increased hygiene is to keep the workplace clean and prevent transmission of the virus from contaminated surfaces. The government has a specific checklist for hygiene control for warehouses which includes things such as frequent cleaning of equipment between uses as well as surfaces which are touched regularly such as door handles.
Employees should also be encouraged to maintain personal hygiene such as regular handwashing and there should be signs to remind of this fact. Hand sanitiser should be made available in multiple locations and there should be enhanced cleaning of the busiest areas.
MSL can help with deep cleaning prior to re-opening in terms of both external and internal cleaning packages SafeTOUCH Internal and External.
In addition to ensuring hygiene standards are being maintained it is important to encourage social distancing and following relevant guidelines on mitigating risk and reducing congestion at entry and exit points.
Social Distancing Aids
The government has stated that a 2m social distance should be maintained wherever possible. However, within retail this can become difficult. That is why within this sector it is particularly important to consider the implementation of social distancing aids and protection for both staff and customers. To encourage customers to adhere to social distancing guidelines many retailers have chosen to lay out markings which clearly show a 2m distance. In addition to this you can also install ‘sneeze guards’ at tills or counters where the 2m distance may not be feasible.
In addition to social distancing aids, also consider the implementation of hygiene aids such as hand sanitizing stations. These can be particularly useful at entry and exit points as well as at tills or trade counters. Signs should also be utilised to encourage staff and customers to sanitize their hands often.
MSL can assist with the installation of sneeze guards, floor markings and sanitizing stations to help ensure the retail environment is as safe as possible for staff and customers.
Whilst the government has not yet announced that the majority of hospitality businesses can reopen; they have provided guidance to those who can offer a takeaway or delivery service. One of the most important aspects of reopening these facilities has included hygiene and cleanliness. This will include ensuring that prior to reopening a deep clean has been conducted of both the internal and external facility. It will also involve putting a plan into place regarding the regular cleaning of equipment and surfaces which are regularly touched such as door handles.
MSL can help with deep cleaning services, both internally and externally as well as installing hand sanitising stations intermittently across the facility to encourage the regular washing of hands.
Upon reopening, it will be important to ensure your electrics are in proper working order and meeting all relevant laws and legislation. Over the period of shutdown, your electrical compliance may have expired. You don’t want to be in breach of any laws or legislation, so it is key to ensure you remain compliant. In addition to this, you may want to resume your regular planned maintenance schedule to ensure everything is in working order before returning to work. MSL can help with both compliance and planned maintenance strategies.
As mentioned, one thing you must do before resuming work and re-opening your facility is to ensure you are still compliant with relevant laws and legislation. This is relevant across all sectors; it is essential to remain compliant otherwise you could face large fines and even face a trip to court. MSL can help in ensuring your business is compliant upon re-opening post-lockdown.
MSL Property Care Services can assist in various aspects of getting your business open again; from restarting your planned maintenance schedule to ensuring you remain compliant. For more information, contact us today.