Coronavirus signage: what's required?
With lockdown restrictions slowly starting to lift across the UK, we’re sure you’re eager to get back in business - but perhaps you’re not quite sure what you need to do to provide a safe workplace for both staff and customers to return to.
You’ve no doubt seen the signs and markings that supermarkets and other essential retailers have added to their stores over the pandemic. Does your business need these too before it can reopen? We’ve put together a quick guide to coronavirus signage to help clear up the confusion.
What does my business need to do to reopen safely?
If you haven’t done so already, you’ll need to check whether your type of business is currently allowed to reopen; with or without signage. You can find a list of businesses which must currently remain closed on the Gov.UK website
To quote the guidelines on the Gov.UK website:
‘You must maintain social distancing in the workplace wherever possible. Where the social distancing guidelines cannot be followed in full in relation to a particular activity, businesses should consider whether that activity needs to continue for the business to operate, and, if so, take all the mitigating actions possible to reduce the risk of transmission between their staff.’
Currently, the Government is advising that we all keep a social distance of two metres between us - but maintaining that distance in certain situations and activities (such as driving vehicles, for example) won’t always be possible.
Your business is advised to carry out a full risk assessment, to identify:
the hazards that your business premises present during the pandemic - not just transmission of the virus, but also any health and safety risks that might arise from new/temporary working procedures
• What your business will need in order to maintain social distancing
• What you need to do to lessen the risk of virus spread when social distancing isn’t possible
• Businesses are also being advised to ensure everyone who comes to their premises - whether they’re staff members, customers, visitors, contractors or goods delivery personnel - are advised on the social distancing and hygiene procedures they must follow to prevent transmission of the virus and protect others.
Your employees also need to know the safety measures you’re taking and the changes or disruptions that the pandemic may have brought to your regular activities (such as supply shortages or production schedule rearrangements) - but you must communicate these in ways which minimise the need for face-to-face communications, which can obviously increase the risk of spreading Covid-19.
And of course, you and your employees should follow all the self-isolation and shielding guidelines for potentially coronavirus-positive employees and those at a higher risk from coronavirus. The Advisory, Conciliation and Arbitration Service has a handy list of coronavirus guidelines for employers and employees; including what to do if someone at work may be sick.
How will I know if my business is Covid-secure?
Unfortunately there’s no clear answer for this, since everyone’s business is different.
Your best bet is to follow the Gov.UK advice on working safely during coronavirus, which currently includes a more general five-step plan as well as more in-depth guidelines for eight different business types (with more presumably to follow as lockdown restrictions continue to lift across different industries).
The nation’s Health and Safety Executive (HSE) will be responsible for regulating our occupational health and safety during the pandemic, including checking that businesses are taking the appropriate steps to protect their staff.
However, their site mentions that ‘our regulatory approach will continue to take proportionate account of the risks and challenges arising from the pandemic’.
So, unless your business is actively neglecting its duties to provide a safe working environment, it seems unlikely that you’ll be penalised. Rather, the HSE will likely advise you on any work that still needs to be done to prevent virus transmission; with more harsh consequences possible if their advice goes ignored.
Do I need coronavirus safety signage and markings to reopen my business?
Signage and markings are not necessarily a requirement for reopening your business; but as we covered earlier, you are required to protect your staff and customers by taking steps to maintain social distancing and appropriate hygiene.
The appropriate use of signs and markers can help you take those steps, and demonstrate to the HSE that you’re working to prevent virus transmission.
Of course, signs and markers should not be used as a substitute for following other coronavirus safety guidelines. Be sure to follow all the required guidelines for preventing coronavirus spread.
Here’s a few of the printed solutions that can help you maintain a Covid-secure workplace.
Floor stickers and strips
Temporary floor marker stickers are a handy visual indicator for any areas where queues may form - not just checkout sections and store counters, but also toilets, locker rooms and other common/communal areas. (Of course, you’ll need to ensure that they’re placed two metres apart!)
Meanwhile, divider strips can be useful for marking out temporary one-way systems and corridor lanes; helping to prevent cross-traffic spread of the virus.
Barriers are especially useful when outdoor queueing is a must; not only providing a visual 2m indicator, but also keeping queuers safely separated from vehicle traffic.
Plus, they can also serve to keep sections of your workplace separated from one another, which is great for isolating cleaning-in-progress zones and helping staff and customers navigate any temporary layout changes.
Moving on to display solutions, strut cards are a good choice for handwashing instructions at sinks and bathroom shelves, or for displaying your company’s distancing procedures at typical staff-customer interaction points (such as reception desks and checkout counters).
Outdoor posters, banners and boards
And when it comes to informing arriving staff, customers and goods delivery drivers of your new safety procedures - and letting them know what they need to do to keep everyone safe - there’s a range of weatherproof display solutions in our catalogue to lend a hand.
Our range includes a variety of PVC, Foamex, Correx, synthetic paper and window cling products to match your budget requirements - and as with all the products in the Better Printing range, you’re free to customise with your own instructional message and branding.
Take a look at our Covid-19 signage brochure to see the complete range today, or get in touch with us on 023 8087 8037 or email@example.com to discuss your coronavirus print requirements.
And whenever your business may reopen, we hope you stay safe!
All information correct at the time of writing. For the latest coronavirus guidance in the UK, visit www.gov.uk/coronavirus. For more advice on your health and safety responsibilities during the COVID-19 pandemic, visit www.hse.gov.uk/news/coronavirus.htm. For COVID-19 health advice, visit www.nhs.uk/conditions/coronavirus-covid-19.