Three facilities management consultants expanded yesterday on their ten point plan for the re-opening of offices yesterday in a webinar presentation that considered each element in turn.
Jason Gurd, FM consultant at Cognitive FM, Chris Morris of recruitment firm the Xenon Group, and Bernard Crouch, director of Acumen FM combined yesterday to add detail and further discuss their ten step guide for facilities managers planning to re-open their workplaces.
The three specialists listed a range of specific measures that follow from each of ten key steps in their guide, the details of which are at the foot of this story.
Considering the sheer volume of information on reopening made available in recent weeks, Jason Gurd stressed the importance of FM’s taking an holistic view: “while all this detail is good, we need to step back and see all of the wood, not just the trees.”
It was important, for instance, to hone in on what exactly is being asked of organisations by government.
“You might think the government’s Covid-19 framework brings in new regulations but that’s mainly not the case. In terms of the existing regulations, we’re (still) working within the provisions of the Management of Health & Safety at Work Regulations Act 1999.”
One important new requirement is for the result of any risk assessment conducted to be posted on an organisation’s web site should that organisation have more than 50 employees.
In terms of potential outbreaks, said Gurd, “we need to apply RIDDOR (the Reporting of Injuries, Diseases and Dangerous Occurrences Regulations Act) where there is reasonable evidence that coronavirus exposure has occurred.”.
Dealing with senior management expectations early on in the process of reopening is also key.
“Your senior management team may have different views to you about what’s right,” said Gurd, “so the earlier you can manage those expectations, the better”,
Bernard Crouch spoke of the likely need for FMs to cater for staggered shifts and additional car parking space, describing one (pre-Covid) instance where a client of his had been able to secure space in a local church for temporary parking. Might this be a possibility?
For the much touted increase in building users cycling to the workplace, Crouch suggested that, as well as new temporary storage facilities and washroom capacity, there may need to be a ‘drying area’ for cyclists’ damp clothing to dry out during the day.
Turning to infection contro, Crouch spoke of the need for an isolation room to be designated where anyone suspected of being infected can be taken. Critically, the choice of room should be made with consideration of the need for those isolated to be easily taken out of the building without coming in close proximity to others.
It will also be necessary for those rooms dealing with incoming post and packages to be discrete from other parts of building, and be subject to routine and rigorous wipe-down procedures.
Crouch closed by warning listeners of the need for precise record keeping.
“The HSE been given an extra £14m to carry out checks and be more stringent regarding the workplace. Clearly, government is quite concerned about ensuring that these measures are undertaken. So we need to be sure we carry out our initial risk assessments and then make sure everything that subsequently happens is logged.”
Among other key tips presented by Morris, Gurd and Crouch were:
— Any changes to normal entrances and exits will require a fresh fire risk assessment.
— With government saying there should be no hot desking, a clear desk policy needs to be implemented and enforced to allow cleaners to do their work.
— Consider having lifts to take people up but stairs for them to come down.
— Produce and prominently display specific-area risk sheets for such places as meeting rooms, lifts and toilets, explaining to users the necessary guidelines.
The ten parts of the consultants’ Guide to Re-Opening Workplaces are as follows:
— Understand requirements
— Set realistic expectations
— Determine needs
— Consider travel
—Assess general risks
— Assess specific area risks
— Develop emergency procedures
— Record your findings
— Develop comms strategy
— Review and update.
Readers can watch the full Zoom presentation, which lasts 55 minutes, through this link.