The UK Government has extended its programme of Covid Lateral Flow Testing to more businesses. Previously this was limited to schools and businesses with over 250 employees. From this week, businesses with more than 50 employees are able to register for test kits, which are supplied free of charge. This provision is aimed at those businesses with workforces who cannot work from home.
You are able to sign up for this scheme online: https://www.gov.uk/get-workplace-coronavirus-tests
So is it a good idea for you?
Good question. There are some very good reasons to undertake Covid testing:
- Testing should identify employees who are asymptomatic and enable them to self-isolate rather than inadvertently spread the virus in the workplace.
- By ensuring that only those who test negative for Covid attend the workplace, you are reducing the likelihood of transmission between employees, which should help protect the business.
- You can inform your customers of the measures that you are taking to reduce the risk of transmission from your employees. This could be especially important if you are visiting multiple customers on a face to face basis, such as when making deliveries.
Are there any further considerations?
We would caution anyone from just embarking on a testing regime without considering the impact of doing so:
- Making Covid tests a mandatory requirement is not recommended. Our advice if you are looking to introduce Covid testing amongst the workforce is to treat it as any other change or implementation of a policy. Consult with the workforce widely the reasons for the change, share the positive benefits of such a move and listen objectively and sympathetic to individuals concerns and views.
- Introduce as a voluntary scheme where those happy to take part, can freely give their consent.
- If someone does not wish to be part of the scheme, they should continue to comply with all other workplace safety measures.
- You will need to implement a system which tracks which employees have been allocated which test kits. There will be some administration burden to this.
- You will need somewhere secure to store the kits where they won’t be damaged by low or high temperatures and somewhere to distribute the test kits from. This will require space within your workplace.
By Jodi Cooling – Group Operations Director