How to avoid closing if NHS Test and Trace require your staff to self-isolate
As infection levels increase in the community, there is a risk that one or more of your staff members will come into close contact with someone with COVID-19, either at or outside of work.
As a result, if they have the NHS COVID-19 App or are contacted by NHS Test and Trace, they will need to self-isolate whilst they are tested. If they test positive, it may mean that a substantial amount of your workforce also needs to self-isolate – in effect closing your business.
How can you reduce the risk to your business?
Wherever possible, employees should be organised into cohorts or groups built around natural work teams. Cohorts work together, take their breaks together, change together, and travel together if relevant.
If one person then becomes infected this increases the ability for only members of that cohort to be excluded from the workplace and facilitates the smoother running of the facility.
Consider creating cohorts or groups of staff to minimise contact and reduce potential transmission. Cleaning should also be scheduled around zones and cohort lines.
What if the staff member has NO symptoms of COVID-19?
This does not matter. If a staff member is contacted by NHS Test and Trace and asked to self-isolate, they must do so. If you allow them back to work too soon, you can be fined up to £10,000.
What if the staff member DOES have symptoms of COVID-19?
Even if they are not contacted by NHS Test and Trace, when someone develops symptoms of COVID-19, they must not come to work and instead arrange to be tested and should alert people they have been in close contact within the 48 hours before symptom onset and since.
If any of those close contacts are co-workers, the person who has developed symptoms may wish to (but is not obliged to) ask their employer to alert those co-workers.
When can a staff member return to work after a COVID-19 test?
If a member of staff is contacted by Test and Trace or instructed by the NHS COVID-19 App to get tested, they should follow the advice that they are given.
If they are COVID-19 tested for any other reason, these are useful flow charts to refer to when determining when it is safe for them to return:
Safer Food Scores is a long-established team of environmental health experts who advise businesses on health and safety compliance and outbreak control day in, day out. Guidance through this process is included as part of our Complete Compliance Contracts
Safer Food Scores COVID-19 compliance consultants provide COVID-19 management systems which include risk assessments, safe methods, monitoring records and signage. Your COVID-19 checks can be digitised using our health and safety monitoring app available for iOS and Android devices. We can also help you achieve COVID-SAFER UK accreditation which would give your staff, customers and visitors confidence that you are following best practice. Please contact us on firstname.lastname@example.org for more details.