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Returning to work: hygiene safety in the workplace

Returning to work: hygiene safety in the workplace

Now that schools have reopened and hospitality venues are preparing to follow, other businesses and offices will be planning on returning to work and opening their doors again too. Although some offices have signalled a permanent switch to WFH, this scenario isn’t always a practical option for many business operations. 

Whereas some workers might thrive WFH, others may sorely need a return to the office environment after a year in the domestic setting. And for certain employees, a balance between the two might be ideal, with employers offering a flexible arrangement.  

But above all else, there’s another concern that outweighs all the others: hygiene.  

With virtual meetings and webinars now commonplace, it’s obvious we have the technical means to drive essential communications forward; but when it comes to workplace sanitation, how does your business rate? There are certainly plenty of factors to consider and guidelines to follow. But for various reasons, some companies struggle with an effective hygiene control plan, with almost half of employers failing to carry out a Covid risk assessment or using inadequate prevention measures. Covid aside, this still seems surprising, especially when you consider that sick days have increased by 10 million since 2012. 

So what does a comprehensive business hygiene control system look like? I had the good fortune to find out recently when I started working for Fireco.  

A safe and hygienic welcome back to work

Beginning a new job is an exciting prospect, but during a global pandemic, it can also be quite strange and daunting. However, having researched the company, I knew that hygiene-control would be a major priority for Fireco employees. When I visited the offices for my induction, I was impressed with the measures that have been applied and decided to make a film about them.

 

After masking up on arrival, staff use a key fob to gain access, usefully avoiding the major touchpoint of the front door. I was then greeted by Fireco’s very own sanitising system, Germgard station, which welcomes reception guests too. Cleverly, it uses a Passive Infrared (PIR) Sensor which detects when someone is approaching the door. The connected screen then displays a message to remind the user to sanitise their hands. When the user complies, a customised message appears and then grants entry. 

It’s best to be on the safe side nowadays, so before entering the office space that’s located upstairs, another model, the Germgard System, requires you to sanitise again. 

Germgard comes in 3 different models and can be used as a stand-alone system or it can be integrated with electronic door locks, automatic doors, and access control systems. A welcome on-site presence, Germgard instantly reassures visitors that the business cares about visitor well-being. 

To further emphasise this, a temperature device sits near the main entrance. If you register over 37.8 degrees then you know it’s not safe to be at work and you need to do the right thing: go home, look after yourself and take a Covid test. 

Speaking of which, Covid Antigen rapid-result swab test kits are also available on site for staff who may not be registering the usual symptoms, but need some quick peace of mind. 

A refreshing work atmosphere 

As you make your way along the one-way system that directs you around the building, there are plenty of signs reminding you to stand 2 metres away from colleagues, as well as sanitation points throughout. Signage makes it very clear that toilets are only to be used one at a time. 

In occupied areas, all windows are open. Interior corridor doors are open too, essential in maintaining hygiene control with constant airflow providing ventilation and replacing stale air. This was underlined in Sir Patrick Vallance’s key points for the Government’s advice on returning to schools recently. 

The heavy doors are held open by Fireco’s million plus-selling Dorgard retainer and its popular sister product, the Freedor Smartsound. Dorgard is a wireless fire door retainer that holds open fire doors, allowing automatic closure on the sound of the fire alarm. Fitted onto the base of the fire door in under five minutes, Dorgard listens out for a continuous fire alarm of 14 seconds or more.

Freedor SmartSound is an overhead door closer which makes opening and closing a fire door effortless. Another wireless device, it lets you place your door open in any position and closes on the sound of the alarm.

Enough space for everyone 

There’s plenty of room to help you on your way to your desk, with zonal spacing marked out in communal spaces, including the kitchen/dining area and meeting rooms. Disposable cloths and antiviral disinfectants are also on hand to help keep surfaces clean. 

Fireco’s wide-ranging office safety measures are designed to instil confidence into anyone who needs to visit their workspace in these uncertain times. This was certainly the case with me and it just goes to show that with the right level of care, businesses can receive staff back to the working environment with confidence. 

If you need any help in welcoming your workforce and customers back to the office with peace of mind, then speak to us about our hygiene-control measures on 01273 320650

All products mentioned in this blog are available in our webshop

Germgard: Opening your building to safer measures 

Germgard: Opening your building to safer measures 

On February 22nd 2021, Boris Johnson laid out his roadmap for getting England’s services and institutions back open. Within this, it was announced that schools would reopen on March 8th with non-essential shops and outdoor venues to follow on April 12th. 

Following on from this, Chancellor Rishi Sunak declared he was providing £408 million in a support package designed to aid the struggling cultural sector. As the likes of museums, galleries, cinemas and libraries also prepare to reopen over the coming weeks, this provides some much-needed funding to help look after customers in the post-lockdown landscape. 

The smart and safe welcome back to work

The chief concern for any return to an indoor venue is infection prevention, and there are many ways to improve the customer experience whilst ensuring safety measures are upheld. To enable a successful transition where we can all fully enjoy the experience of going out again, these simply can’t afford to be short-term measures. 

Hygiene control will include:

  • Ample ventilation with fresh air regularly replaced
  • A widespread reduction of touchpoints
  • Temperature checks
  • PPE for staff 
  • The adoption of social bubbles 
  • Sanitisation points.  

The initial welcome will be vital for reassuring customers that your establishment is safe. Proprietors need to send out the message from the outset that they’re serious about the well-being of their clientele. 

Our Germgard products meet these requirements to perfection. Available in 3 different formats, they provide a welcome reminder on arrival to sanitise your hands before entering.  

 

Germgard station helps businesses reopen safely

 

Leave hygiene worries at the door with Germgard 

Our portable Germgard Station is a smart sanitising station, perfect for reception areas and lobbies of hospitality establishments. Like a hygienic gatekeeper, it uses a Passive Infrared (PIR) Sensor which detects when someone is approaching the door. The connected screen will display a message to remind the user to sanitise their hands. When the user cleans their hands, a customised message will appear and then grant entry. There is also the option to personalise the messages and graphics that customers will see.

Germgard can be used as a stand-alone system or it can be integrated with electronic door locks, automatic doors, and access control systems.

For maintaining cleanliness when entering interior rooms such as canteens, meeting rooms and toilets, the smaller, wall-mounted Germgard Lite is the ideal solution. It’s a screenless access control system that also demands the use of hand sanitiser before gaining entry. Once a user has cleaned their hands with the Bluetooth unit, the door will open.

Going with the flow 

Once customers have entered the building, successful hygiene measures dictate that it’s imperative to have good ventilation throughout. As Sir Patrick Vallance explained for the Government on 22nd Feb when discussing a return to schools, “…ventilation is going to be important as children go back, good ventilation.” 

This is where Fireco products can successfully integrate to boost hygiene-control in buildings. After entering the main doors, all interior fire doors can be kept safely open with our Dorgard devices. As well as being an effective fire safety tool, these wireless retainers can increase the flow of ventilation throughout any establishment whilst also reducing touchpoints. Quick and easy to install, they’ll only close when hearing any fire alarm that lasts more than 14 seconds. Simple, unobtrusive and effective, it’s no wonder we’ve sold over a million units since their launch.  

Ultimately it’s about creating a new, safe and welcoming type of visitor experience that stands the test of time. It’s obvious that hygiene-control is an essential factor in the success of this.

Fireco can help you safely welcome back your customers with a comprehensive return to work hygiene strategy. Call us on 01273 320650. 

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