Coronavirus/Covid-19 – LFD Workforce Testing Scheme in Royal Mail Group – Update:
LTBs 183/21, 190/21, 197/21 and 54/21 reported on the agreement reached with Royal Mail Group to introduce a ‘Workforce Home Testing’ scheme for Covid-19/Coronavirus.
This scheme is a positive, proactive way of improving ‘Covid-Secure’ workplace safety standards for everyone in Royal Mail Group (Royal Mail, Parcelforce, RM Engineering, RM Fleet, RM Property & Facilities Services, RM Specialist Services, RM Customer Experience etc.,) by combatting the spread and transmission of the virus in the workplace. The simple to use Lateral Flow Device (LFD) test kits are supplied to members at their workplace and they can then take them home to use in the privacy of their own homes. The fast result, quickly identifies those infected but asymptomatic (showing no symptoms) and gets them into self-isolation promptly.
This testing scheme firstly protects the individual and secondly reduces the risk of ‘unknown’ transmission of the virus to others, bearing in mind that many people, estimated as much as one in three, may be infected but are either ‘pre-symptomatic’ (infected but incubating and not yet showing symptoms) or totally ‘asymptomatic’ (infected by the virus but not showing or experiencing any ill effects). People in these positions will not know they have the virus but are transmitting it to others who then become ill and an outbreak can occur as more become infected from the unknown source.
Following initial discussions between the CWU Health, Safety & Environment Department, Royal Mail Group and Government Agencies the BEIS (Department for Business, Energy & Industrial Strategy) and the HSE (Health and Safety Executive), agreement was reached and contracts signed with the DHSC (Department of Health & Social Care) and the MHRA (Medicines & Healthcare Regulatory Agency) in relation to securing participation in the Government’s Workforce Covid-19 Testing Programme Pilots.
A positive test early in the course of the illness enables individuals to isolate themselves, reducing the chances that they will infect others and allows them to seek treatment earlier, likely reducing disease severity and the risk of long-term disability, or death.
Since it is recognised that a third of all Covid-19 infections are transmitted by people who are not showing any symptoms, identifying infected individuals via testing while they are not symptomatic, via workforce testing in Royal Mail Group, one of the UK’s largest employers, could therefore play a major role in helping stop the virus spread.
A ‘tripartite’ agreement was reached involving the CWU, Royal Mail Group and the Department of Health and Social Care for Royal Mail to introduce a Government initiative of regular weekly Covid-19 testing for Postal Workers which involves Lateral Flow Device (LFD) Test Kits provided to staff at work which they can take home to test themselves in the privacy of their homes, using the very simple test.
Royal Mail Group secured a stock of 300,000 LFD Test Kits from DHSC (Department of Health & Social Care) with the stock now held at Royal Mail Swindon Walk Bundling Centre ready for national distribution to workplaces requesting the kits in order that staff will be able to collect and take home, twice weekly, self-testing, test kit packs and then use the free, rapid coronavirus (Covid-19) tests twice a week at home.
The Scheme has been very successful showing that 53 LFD Positive Test Results were subsequently confirmed by a PCR test and therefore Covid-19 outbreaks have been avoided over a number of Units as the benefit of getting infected workers into self-isolation blocked transmission of the virus any further.
Results so far show:
- 56 LFDS confirmed as Covid-19 positive cases from 36 Units
Please participate in Workforce Testing
The CWU is very strongly supporting Covid-19 Workforce Testing and we need the help and support of every CWU Rep at all levels to encourage our members to participate and take up the testing option which is a positive benefit to all our members.
Royal Mail and CWU are pleased to be working with the Government to deliver a workforce home testing programme. Participation in this is voluntary and is fully supported by Royal Mail, Parcelforce, CWU/HQ and Unite/CMA HQ. We want every member to take part in regular Lateral Flow Testing to help prevent the spread of Covid-19.
The Royal Mail Group contact for Unit Managers to contact if individuals in a workplace want to participate in Workforce Testing is:
Carole Pearce Royal Mail Group Senior Operations Solutions Manager Mob: 07860847584 Email: Carole.email@example.com
Any enquiries regarding this LTB should be directed to the CWU/HQ Health, Safety & Environment Department.
National Health, Safety & Environment Officer