Our resident Health and Safety expert, Rebekah highlights some of the key steps that food businesses need to be taking as New Zealand deescalates from Alert Level 4 to Alert Level 3 Covid-19 restrictions.
Find out what the changes mean for your business and clear, practical ways you can implement the changes.
It’s really important you identify your risks and put controls in place in order to manage those risks. Where Elimination is not possible, and as businesses open up again, you move into the Isolation/Control phase. Here it’s important to maintain 1m distancing, have contactless deliveries in place, set up Contact Tracing registers and stagger lunch breaks and space chairs in common areas out to at least 1m.
Identify your risks and put controls in place to manage those risks.
When we look at Administration, it’s really important to keep having those Toolbox and Health and Safety meetings at this time.
Employee participation is so important, particularly during uncertain times because there are so many internal and external stresses at play. These meetings are a great forum to give people the chance to talk about what is going on in their home lives as well as how they are coping with the changes and any apprehension they may be facing.
Hygiene vs. PPE
There is no doubt that good handwashing, drying and sanitising should always come before implementing Personal Protective Equipment. PPE is an easy control to default to. But it shouldn’t be used until you’ve crossed off those other hygiene controls.
Germs spread more easily from wet or damp skin than from dry skin. Drying hands thoroughly and with a clean cloth or paper towel is the most effective way of minimising germs and not spreading them to other contact surfaces.
Review your current SOP’s and update as required to meet new requirements. More frequent hand washing and cleaning will be needed. Refresh your staff that they’ll need to wash their hands after doing any of the following: sneezing, coughing, blowing their nose, visiting the bathroom, eating, using mobile phones, touching surfaces, animals or money, and after handling rubbish.
Before we move into the next phase of deescalation and begin to ramp things up again, it’s a good time to remember that this has been a really stressful time for a lot of businesses and families. Take the time to check in with those around you and continue to do so regularly.
Ask people what they are comfortable with, as everyone will have a different view on what’s acceptable and what isn’t, depending on their own situation. Communication is key.
For the latest information on how the Covid-19 restrictions might affect your business, keep an eye on the Government’s website https://covid19.govt.nz/