Royal Mail Group – Coronavirus Update – Easing of Restrictions – Message From Dr Shaun Davis Director Safety:
On 19 January, the Prime Minister Boris Johnson and the Secretary of State For Health and Social Care Sajid Javid, announced that all Covid-19 “Plan B” measures and restrictions will end this week and this included guidance to work from home, vaccine certificates/passports and mandatory mask rules, which are to be ended in England on 27 January, as the nation moves back to “Plan A”. The Prime Minister also announced that the legal, compulsory requirement on people with Coronavirus to self-isolate would cease on 24 March, or that date could be brought forward.
The Secretary of State for Health and Social Care stated that the Government’s Office of National Statistics (ONS) data shows a marked fall in infections, including in older age groups. Additionally, hospitalisations have fallen and the number of Covid-19 patients in intensive care beds has now dropped to the same level as it was back in July 2021. Mr Javid said that testing, vaccines, antibodies and antivirals will be the “cornerstone of our future defences” as “almost all” restrictions end.
In removing the legal mandate for the wearing of face masks, the Government suggests that people may wish to voluntarily wear them in enclosed, crowded places, especially where people come into contact with people who they don’t normally meet.
Further announcements including rule changes around care homes and hospital visits will follow.
Dr Susan Hopkins Chief Medical Advisor of the UK Health Security Agency (UKHSA), the Government agency in England responsible for public health protection and the impact of infectious diseases also confirmed her support for the announced changes after seeing the declining case numbers. Dr Hopkins said Covid-19 infections are significantly down compared with the peak at the end of 2021. The latest seven-day average was 93,000 compared with 225,000 on 29 December 2021. Hospital cases were back down to below 20,000 while there were only 700 people on mechanical ventilators across the country which is back down to levels last seen in July 2021. This reflects population vaccination levels and the weakening and reduced severity of the Virus that we’ve seen with the Omicron variant of Covid-19.
Royal Mail Group – Coronavirus Update – Easing of Restrictions
On 20 January, Royal Mail Group issued the attached ‘Coronavirus Update Message’ from Dr. Shaun Davis, Royal Mail Group Director of Safety, further to the Government announcements the previous day. The update which follows the Government rule changes and the advice of their medical and scientific experts covers the following:
Changes in England – Face Masks and Working From Home:
- From the 19 January 2022, it is no longer necessary for those employees, working from home to continue doing so and any individual Royal Mail Group employees with concerns about returning to offices should discuss this with their manager.
- From 27 January 2022, the ‘mandatory’ requirement to wear a face mask/covering in Royal Mail Group indoor settings will end (in England) – however face masks will remain ‘strongly recommended’ and Royal Mail Group will continue to supply face masks to those wishing to wear them.
England – Self Isolation Rules:
- As a reminder, people with Coronavirus in England can end their self-isolation after five full days, as long as they complete a negative lateral flow (LFD) test on day five and day six.
- If an employee tests negative on day six (24 hours after day five), then they should be able to resume work that day.
- Employees working from home should continue to do so where possible.
- Face coverings remain mandatory in all Royal Mail Group indoor settings.
Wales and Northern Ireland
- There is currently no changeto existing controls in place and employees should continue to follow current guidance. (See LTB No. 582/21 issued on 23 December 2021).
- Face coverings remain mandatory in all Royal Mail Group indoor settings.
Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland announced on 20 January the gradual easing of restrictions which will commence on Friday 21 and Monday 24 January with the relaxation of controls and limits on household meetings, sports, nightclubs, pubs and restaurants, indoor/outdoor events, cinemas, theatres and Covid passports. The rules vary country to country. Further information in a separate LTB will be published.
Reducing the Risk of Covid-19 Coronavirus Transmission in the Workplace – Prevention is key
Please take the opportunity to check the standards in your unit:
- Washing hands – regularly, for 40-60 seconds each time.
- Face Masks/Coverings– ‘Strongly Recommended’ – not mandatory in England – Still Mandatory in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland until further notice and announcements by the devolved government administrations. Face Masks should be well fitted. Scientific and medical evidence shows that face coverings help stop the virus spreading, and this is a sensible precautionary measure at this time.
- Cleaning vehicles – should take place at the start and end of duties.
- Ventilation – increased ventilation reduces the concentration of the virus in the air and reduces the risk from airborne transmission. It is important to get as much fresh air into buildings as possible. Avoid stuffy, crowded rooms with no ventilation/fresh air.
- Shared vans – ensure that windows are lowered to allow the cab to be ventilated.
Provision and Supply of Masks, Gloves, Sanitizer and Wipes
Masks, gloves and sanitizer per person is not to be unreasonably limited with supplies to be sufficient to enable them to be provided/changed frequently. For assistance in ordering supplies Office PiCs/Managers should contact: Uniform@royalmail.comor Sam Dixon National Uniform Manager Email: firstname.lastname@example.org Tel: 07553365925.
Hand sanitiser and wipes are available via the Additional Supplies Register (ASR) App. Assistance is available through Email: ASR_Support@royalmail.com
RMG have updated their Ventilation and Air Conditioning Covid-19 Guidance document with further detail on what constitutes ‘well ventilated’ and ‘poorly ventilated’ spaces or areas. Further information is on the P&FS Guidance SharePoint webpages. PiCs should ensure the Unit Ventilation Risk Assessment is completed. For further information Unit PiCs/Managers should contact Katherine Bate RMP&FS Risk, Compliance and Standards Lead Email: email@example.comMob: 07843370676.
Self-Isolation and Testing
It is important that members self-isolate when advised to do so, appropriate to the rules for the country concerned (England, Scotland, Wales or Northern Ireland). For further information Unit PiCs/Managers can contact Dan Clark RMG Health & Wellbeing Manager Tel: 07718098179 Email: firstname.lastname@example.org.
Workplace Outbreaks/Case Clusters
Where units experience a cluster of cases, managers should utilise the materials in the ‘Confirmed Case Managers Pack’ and the RMG process for monitoring local infection rates, engaging and working with CWU Reps to reduce the risk of further transmissions. RMG stresses the importance of engaging with local IR and Safety Reps to consider the re-introduction of measures to avoid the spread in the workplace. For further information PiCs/Managers should contact Freddie Warnock RMG Head of Safety UK Operations Email: email@example.comMobile: 07841076475.
Covid Secure Workplace Risk Assessment
To ensure workplaces remain ‘Covid-Secure’ environments, PiCs should check that they have reviewed and updated the Unit/Office Risk Assessment to the latest version. There is now one risk assessment which applies to all sites. For further information PiCs/Managers should contact Joanna Hosking RMG SHE Systems, Standards & Reporting Manager Mobile: 07841 492960 Email: firstname.lastname@example.org.
Workplace Intense Cleaning Following Cases of Covid-19 Positive Tests
Following the diagnosis of positive cases in Royal Mail Group workplaces, intense virucidal, antimicrobial cleaning will take place of both the workplace and vehicles. Cleaning requests should be made via the RMP&FS Help Desk. For further information PiCs/Managers should contact Richard Booth-Davey RMP&FS Head of Safety Mob: 07568103436 Email: email@example.com.
Lateral Flow Device (LFD) Test Kits are available centrally to any Units or individuals wishing to undertake home self-testing which Royal Mail, Parcelforce and the CWU strongly support and encourage. The Test Kits can be ordered and will be delivered to the workplace for distribution to those wanting to participate. Regular testing aids the speedy detection of those infected but without symptoms, so allowing them to self-isolate and reduce the risk of causing an outbreak in the workplace. The CWU Health, Safety & Environment Department is keen to get workplace weekly testing implemented in as many Units as possible. For those Units wishing to participate and request test kits PiCs/Managers should contact: firstname.lastname@example.org.
Managers Further General Coronavirus Information/Support
For further information, help and support managers can either call RMG Coronavirus Support 0345 604 2787 or contact email@example.com.
First Class Support
RMG First Class Support is free and confidential for employees including direct access to counselling services. Call 0345 266 5060, visit www.rmgfirstclasssupport.co.ukor download the ‘Lifeworks’ App. New users of the website/App can ‘sign up’ using a unique invitation code, which is RMG- and then your payroll number, e.g. RMG-12345678.
On the Royal Mail Group ‘Health and Wellbeing Intranet Webpages’, the RMG ‘Feeling First Class – Mental Health page’ includes stress guidance, support and training as well as signposting to internal and external mental health support services. For further information unit PiCs/Managers can contact Dan Clark RMG Health & Wellbeing Manager Tel: 07718098179 Email: firstname.lastname@example.org.
CWU Representatives Involvement
CWU Representatives will continue to be fully engaged and involved at all times with their input taken into account dealing with ‘Covid-Secure’ risk control measures as a priority. It is agreed nationally that managers and CWU representatives will work together to ensure that Covid-Secure controls are maintained and complied with.
RMG HQ and CWU HQ will continue to review the current arrangements on a weekly basis, in line with the latest updates from the UK Government and devolved administrations.
- Message from Dr. Shaun Davis RMG Director Safety
National Health, Safety & Environment Officer
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