We are seeking to provide all staff with as much information as possible in a quickly changing situation and we have been collating the various issues and questions raised by employees within the Bereavement Management Service. Outlined below is information on these various issues. We will keep this under continual review and update the information as necessary.
Employee well-being & safety
Should there be more than one operative in a vehicle?
We are looking to operate with single person vehicles where this is possible. Where this is not practical, a maximum of two people per vehicle will be allowed to travel together provided they can ensure that they are sitting one metre apart. Where possible, vehicle windows should be lowered to improve ventilation. Employees should also wash hands or use hand sanitiser provided prior to and after use of vehicles. Anti bacterial wipes are also available.
How can you guarantee my safety?
We are doing everything possible to protect employees and promote a safe way of working, which is in line with Public Health Scotland information. By following the HPS guidance we are ensuring our employees' health and safety so far as is reasonably practicable in line with our responsibilities under the Health & Safety at Work Act 1974. Notices have been displayed in the crematorium with regards to physical distancing and coffins are no longer left on display and must be put straight onto the catafalque. Guidance to charge hands re handling coffins has been issued.
The health & safety of the employees should be the number one priority for Falkirk Council as an employer, is the PPE provided sufficient in minimising the risk to us and our families?
We are adopting in full the recommended specification and use of PPE as set out by Health Protection Scotland. By following the HPS guidance we are ensuring our employees’ health and safety so far as is reasonably practicable in line with our responsibilities under the Health & Safety at Work Act 1974. PPE is one part of how employees can protect themselves. All employees should make sure they are undertaking physical distancing and practicing good hand hygiene and coughing or sneezing into tissues then disposing of them appropriately. In line with the guidance from HPS there is no additional PPE required for COVID19. Employees should continue to use relevant PPE.
Employees are being told to stay away from family members but there have been gatherings of employees in the same area?
All employees should be practicing safe physical distancing where possible. This is Government guidance and employees have a responsibility to put this guidance in place whilst at work, as well as other situations, where this is possible. Such circumstances of employee gathering should not take place and we are doing everything possible to stop such occurrences. Employees should highlight such concerns to their line manager to enable groups to be dispersed. Employees who are displaying symptoms should also not be attending work.
Why haven’t employees been asked if they have any underlying issues?
It is for each individual employee to assess their own circumstances against the national guidance on physical distancing. You should also seek advice from your GP. If you have a relevant underlying health condition you should take account of the advice given to you by your GP and make an informed decision on your ability to continue to attend work. If you are unable to continue to attend work, you should discuss this with your manager. Information for employees with underlying conditions is also published on the employee information website. Employees should continue to check this.
Should I be at work if a family member has been told to self isolate or shield due to existing health conditions?
In such cases, the information on the Council’s website for employees directs them to NHS Inform. Follow the advice from NHS Inform. Current advice is that family members sharing a house with someone who is 'shielding’ does not have to adopt shielding practices but should adhere to the Government’s physical distancing guidance. As you work in an essential service, it is expected that you will continue to work but follow relevant precautions.
Essential Service provision
The majority of Council employees have been sent home, why aren't the Council only running with an emergency service?
The Council is prioritising essential services only. Bereavement services are regarded as essential.
Why should employees attend work and put their own health & family members’ health at risk when other employees have gone home with no symptoms and still being paid, while staff attending work have to pay for petrol etc. to get to work?
The Council is prioritising essential services and in Bereavement Services the effective and safe operation of the Crematorium and Cemeteries are considered as priority and require to be provided to the community. All necessary measures are being implemented to protect staff.
Will there be daily meetings to update staff of any changes?
We are seeking to provide all staff with as much information as possible in a quickly changing situation. Staff should also be checking the Council’s website which has a specific section for employees with guidance. If employees need to be involved in group discussions, alternatives to physically meeting should be investigated first. Where this is not possible, physical distancing should be observed during the meeting. All employees should wash their hands before and after any meetings and cough or sneeze into tissues then dispose of them appropriately during the any meetings.
Members of the public are approaching us whilst at work.
Members of the public should be asked to maintain physical distancing whilst they converse with you. If you are unable to advise them, you should politely advise them that you are removing yourself from the situation and advise your manager.
The government are saying that symptoms take up to 1 to 2 weeks to show therefore people may be unaware they are carrying the virus. Can the council confirm they think this a safe environment for our employees?
The guidance to all employees is to adopt good hand washing practice and physical distancing, in accordance with Health Protection Scotland information. By following the HPS guidance we are ensuring our employees’ health and safety so far as is reasonably practicable in line with our responsibilities under the Health & Safety at Work Act 1974.