Re-opening checklist for UK businesses: Here’s what you need to know

Throughout June, the UK Government will allow offices and non-essential shops to reopen — a key milestone on the road back to “normality”. This will be followed later in the year by restaurants, pubs, gyms, hotels.

And while it will be a relief to welcome customers and colleagues once again, there’s a lot that we all need to do to get prepared. It’s up to all of us — business owners, employees and members of the public — to stick to the guidelines, and continue to minimise how COVID-19 spreads.

But it’s not easy to keep up with what’s allowed and what’s not allowed during these turbulent times, we know. 

If you’re feeling ready to re-open your business, you can start right here...

Legal hygiene requirements to prevent the spread of COVID-19

The UK government requires all businesses to complete a renewed health and safety risk assessment — no matter how recent your last one was. Remember: playing by the rules is not just the responsible thing to do, it’s also a legal requirement. Business owners seen to skim on the government’s hygiene recommendations face criminal prosecution and fines.

So, what exactly are the legal requirements here? 

Firstly, your risk assessment should be carried out in consultation with relevant trade unions or members of staff, and will take into consideration:

  • Where and how your work is carried out
  • Who has to come into the workplace, and who can work from home
  • What PPE is necessary to keep your staff member safe
  • How social distancing can be maintained between colleagues and the public
  • How you’ll keep staff and customers/clients in the loop with the latest legal measures
  • How you’ll provide crucial hygiene products, like soap and water and/or hand sanitisers.

A key part of the risk assessment is ensuring you are following the latest guidance on public health. This includes:

  • Displaying a poster in your window to show awareness of the guidelines and a commitment to safety measures
  • Enabling social distancing wherever possible
  • Placing protective coverings on large items that might be touched by the public (like display furniture, for example)
  • Training staff on advanced health and safety measures, especially if handling food and drink
  • Holding any returned items for 72 hours before offering them for sale again
  • Frequent and thorough cleaning of objects and surfaces that are touched regularly — more on this just below.

You can read more about the latest guidance here and get an idea of what might be required from your risk assessment by looking at this template on the HSENI website.

Now, on to the second point regarding hygiene. This is where we, at CleanedUp, can really help!

Promote regular and thorough hand hygiene for both staff and customers

It’s essential for businesses to support the health and safety of staff and customers by encouraging regular hand washing and sanitising. You can do this by:

  • Installing hand sanitiser stations in prominent places around your workplace
  • Keeping all hand sanitiser dispensers topped up regularly
  • Displaying informational posters about hand hygiene (you should be able to grab some graphics from your local council or via www.WHO.int)
  • Making doubly sure that your staff, customers and any visitors (like suppliers and contractors) have easy access to hand washing or sanitising facilities.

Hand hygiene, along with social distancing, is one of our greatest weapons in the fight against coronavirus. Soap and sanitiser kill the virus, and stop it spreading further.

The constant reminders about this might be getting a bit old now, but they are still absolutely necessary. And there is no better reminder than a prominent hand sanitising station — especially one that people can’t help but walk past, whenever they enter your workplace.

Make sure workspaces are clean and hygienic

Disinfecting should be an end-of-the-day priority. Shared surfaces like desks, tables and worktops, as well as objects including phones, keyboards, access terminals, tills, lift controls, door handles (seriously, we could go on for ages here — basically anything that anyone touches) should be added to the list.

But giving everything “the old once over” in the morning and then again before you leave at night isn’t going to cut it here. Without regular disinfecting, these surfaces and objects can easily become contaminated with coronavirus and infect anyone else who touches them.

This is one of the most common ways that COVID-19 is transmitted.

Hand sanitising dispensers: an essential part of your business continuation plan

Fortunately, you can go a long way towards meeting many hygiene requirements by installing hand sanitiser dispensers around your workplace.

CleanedUp hand sanitising stations

What are hand sanitiser dispensers?

Hand sanitiser dispensers are the most hygienic and convenient way to provide hand-washing facilities to large groups of people.

Dispensers contain a sizeable volume of hand sanitiser dispensed via a convenient pump.

With many public toilets still closed, and a lot of businesses not having enough bathrooms to go round, hand sanitiser dispensers offer a way for everyone to protect themselves and others — while avoiding long queues and increasingly questionable shared towels!

What kind of hand sanitiser dispensers can you get?

There are 4 main types of dispensers:

Hand sanitising stations

The largest type of dispenser, a hand sanitising station is a standalone unit with a manual pump at the top and a reservoir of sanitiser hidden in the unit below.

At CleanedUp we offer 3 types of hand sanitising station:

The first is a 5-litre single pump model that will provide 5000 uses per refill and suits a small office or shop.

The second is a larger station with 2 pumps, available in 10-litre or 20-litre capacity. These are perfect for larger and busier offices, or shops and public spaces with a high footfall.

The third is the new automatic station designed for venues looking to provide a completely touch free sanitising solution. With a capacity of 1L in the tank and 10L in the storage locker these are perfect to allow your customers to feel safe.

CleanedUp Automatic Touch Free Hand Sanitising Dispenser

You can check out our sanitising stations and refill options for yourself right here.

Hand sanitiser dispensers

You are probably all too familiar with the smaller and more portable hand sanitiser dispenser by now — you know, the ones being sold in your nearest newsagents for a fiver? They’re great if you need a sanitising solution in your pocket, but they need constant refilling if placed in even moderately busy areas.

And these mini hand sanitisers have another sized-based drawback: they are extremely easy to carry off. If you are using one of these, it is probably best to have it supervised so it doesn’t end up getting “lost”.

Wall mounted hand sanitiser dispensers

A common sight in public restrooms, this is a small, manual pump-activated dispenser with a relatively low capacity. Being wall mounted, there’s no risk of it going missing, but you’ll need to keep an eye on how much is left.

Automatic hand sanitiser dispensers

For a more upmarket feel some venues tend to favour the automatic hand sanitiser, versus a manual pump. These devices can be wall mounted, freestanding or counter-top, but unlike other devices they’re a contactless way to sanitise — simply wave your hand underneath, rub the sanitiser in and off you go.

Where should you place hand sanitising stations?

If you want people to use a hand sanitiser, you need to make it easy for them. That’s why the best place to position your dispensers is somewhere obvious — somewhere people pass, regularly, throughout the day.

Doing this means your employees, customers, and anyone else in the workplace, get a regular and hard-to-ignore reminder about keeping their hands clean.

Be mindful of the guidance from WHO though, and don’t put sanitiser dispensers close to potential ignition sources or gas outlets. More info here.

Everything you need to know about hand sanitiser

Even last year, hand sanitisers barely figured on a lot of people’s radar. Now? They’re an essential for everyday life. 

That said, there’s still a lot of confusion around what hand sanitisers do, and how to use them properly. So let’s straighten up those misunderstandings, once and for all...

Does hand sanitiser kill coronavirus?

It’s widely accepted that a thorough wash with soap and water will get your hands cleaner than using hand sanitiser. However, when talking about effectiveness at killing coronavirus, hand sanitiser can be just as effective as soap.

Coronavirus cells have an outer envelope that is vulnerable to alcohol. Using a hand sanitiser that contains at least 60% alcohol will kill the virus.

Of course, if your hands are particularly dirty, hand sanitiser won’t be as effective. So we recommend a good scrub with soap and water before sanitising, just to be safe. In situations where people’s hands tend to be clean, and they simply want to disinfect and protect against infection, hand sanitiser is the fastest and most convenient solution.

Is hand sanitiser bad for you?

Is hand sanitiser safe to drink? No. Is it safe to rub on your skin? Yes, as long as it’s from a reputable source.

The World Health Organization have an approved hand sanitiser formula that has been deemed safe for recommended use. CleanedUp produce our sanitiser to this exact formula, from our UK facility.

To gain the full benefits, use a small amount of sanitiser and completely cover both hands in it. Then rub the sanitiser into all areas of your hands until they are dry. If you stick to these guidelines, hand sanitiser poses no risk to you, your staff, or your customers.

Oh, and also, please don’t be tempted to try and make your own sanitiser from a recipe you found online. Not all recipes match the WHO approved one, and there is a risk that ‘home-brewed’ sanitiser could become contaminated and ineffective.

Alcohol vs non-alcohol

There really is no debate here as far as coronavirus is concerned — alcohol is the only ingredient in hand sanitiser that can effectively attack and kill the virus, so avoid non-alcohol gels. This has been confirmed in official advice from WHO.

Hand sanitisers that contain less than 60% alcohol offer little to no protection against the virus. Worse still, they put your staff and members of the public in danger by giving them a false sense of security.

If your employees are spending all day using an alcohol-free sanitiser, they are putting themselves at greater risk of infection and posing a higher risk of transmitting coronavirus.

How to pick the best hand gel

Given the information above, your best bet is to go for one containing a minimum of 60% alcohol and order from a reputable, approved source that follows official WHO guidelines.

We provide refills for our sanitising stations in the form of a 5-litre bottle of sanitiser containing 70% alcohol — precisely in line with WHO recommendations.

So, do you have the measures in place to safely and hygienically reopen your business?

We know there is a lot of information (and misinformation) out there right now about what you need to do to reopen your business.

In this guide, we’ve tried to condense all of the relevant information down, using only reliable and trusted sources (plus our own knowledge and expertise) to give you a quick overview of what is required.

So, let’s recap quickly.

The 5 things you are legally required to address before reopening are

  • Carry out a COVID-19 risk assessment
  • Develop hand-washing and hygiene procedures
  • Encourage home working
  • Maintain social distancing
  • Manage transmission risk where social distancing is not possible

Hand-washing and hygiene procedures are vital to protect your business and anyone who comes into contact with it. Hand sanitising stations and dispensers are a great way to ensure that hygiene is accessible and convenient for everyone.

If your employees can work from home, they should still be encouraged to do so. This advice has not changed since lockdown was first announced.

Do everything you can to allow customers and employees to stay 2m apart. You may need to move furniture or stock around, and possibly introduce a one-way system for navigating your office or store.

Seriously consider whether tasks that cannot be completed with social distancing are necessary — care-free times will come again, and they’ll be here a lot faster if we all play our part.

Most importantly - c
onsult the www.gov.uk website for information about risk assessments, or speak to your local council for help.