Post Office Ltd (POL) – Covide-19 Update:
Further to LTB 554/21 a further meeting took place with Post Office Ltd’s Director of Health and Safety and Head of Road Safety on Friday 17 December, following which a communication has been re-issued to the workforce in POL DMB Crown Offices and CVIT Supply Chain Units.
POL have taken the opportunity to update their internal Covid Intranet Site with instructions, guides, risk assessments and documents in collaboration with the Unions, continuing to work together to ensure that making the workplaces as Covid-secure as possible is a priority as well as providing the workforce with the most up to date information regarding Covid-19.
On Friday we discussed the announcement by the Wales Government First Minister that morning regarding the intention to re-introduce a number of restrictions with a further announcement to be made today Monday 20 December 2021.
We have agreed with POL to monitor the situation and any further announced restrictions in order to assess the impact on POL operations and what measures need to be undertaken in the organisation.
Whilst the number of positive cases in Post Office Ltd remains lower than the national average, the new Omicron variant is spreading at a rapid rate with infections doubling over the last few weeks. Given this information, it’s more important than ever that we ensure that the employer and workforce are taking all the right precautions necessary to keep each other safe.
In response to the additional risk, due to the new Covid-19 ‘Omicron’ variant, any POL employee waiting for the result of a Covid-19 PCR test, following notification that they may have been in close contact with a positive case, should not attend the workplace until they have received a negative result, unless they are exempt i.e., fully vaccinated in line with that country’s current guidance and taking daily lateral flow tests for 7 days, in which case they may return.
However, any employee with Covid-19 symptoms should request a PCR test rather than undertake a Lateral Flow Device (LCD) test and remain away from the workplace until they have received a negative result and symptoms subside.
Employees can book a Covid-19 PCR test by using this link: https://www.gov.uk/get-coronavirus-test
Unvaccinated adults must continue to self-isolate for 10 days if they are a close contact of someone who has tested positive for Covid-19. This rule change follows a significant rise in Covid-19 Omicron variant cases in the UK with the new variant expected to become the dominant virus strain by mid-December.
As a reminder, and as agreed, ‘Face Masks/Coverings’ MUST be worn behind the counter as well as in public facing areas in POL Directly Managed Branches. All of the workforce and visitors are required to wear a face covering whilst in a Branch Office including; behind the counter (including fortress positions), serving positions, parcel hatches, in every public facing location and when moving about communal areas e.g., welfare rooms, corridors, storerooms etc.
All CVIT Supply Chain employees MUST also wear a ‘Face Mask/Covering’ when moving around the depot.
Members should always, also continue to follow good hygiene standards and practices such as keeping hands clean, using sanitiser, maintaining distancing where it’s possible and making use of the ‘Workforce Lateral Flow Tests’ that are available for all members, as agreed between POL and the Union.
To protect themselves, their family and workmates, we also jointly strongly encourage members to avoid crowds and gatherings outside of the workplace.
Following the Government announcement on Sunday, we encourage members to get vaccinated if they can and those who are extremely vulnerable should check with their GP or hospital consultant whether they can take the vaccine. Wherever possible, appointments should be booked outside of work time. However, POL recognises that this isn’t always possible and POL is committed to being as flexible as possible to support the workforce in that regard. Members should speak to their line manager if they are struggling to find a suitable appointment time.
As the Covid rules are constantly changing, we advise workers to familiarise themselves with the latest Government guidance and the latest COVID briefings sent out by the Health and Safety team. Those members requiring further clarification on the above should speak to their manager or union rep who will give advice. You can also find further details on the POL Coronavirus intranet site.
National Health, Safety & Environment Officer