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 Waste 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?
Refuse collections will operate with a driver plus 1. Scottish Government guidance states that where it is not possible to implement the 2 meter physical distancing guidance at the workplace, a brief risk assessment should be undertaken as to whether the task is essential and if so, the distance between workers can be reduced to no less than 1 meter. In the majority of circumstances a second loader will be available via a pool car/minibus or by walking to the route.
Street Cleansing provide a different type of operation, where it is easier for employees to work independently. Street Cleansing operations will therefore work via a driver only
Why is hand sanitiser not given to each employee?
Guidelines advise that the most effective deterrent is hand washing, which is more effective at reducing the spread of COVID-19 than using hand sanitiser. Hand sanitiser is provided where hand washing facilities are not available. Anti-bacterial wipes are available within all vehicle cabs
How can you guarantee my safety?
We have developed a Risk Assessment to protect employees and promote a safe way of working, which is in line with Public Health Scotland information. Risk Assessments are available to all employees. 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.
Is the PPE suitable?
All PPE already identified and provided for the task should continue to be used. In terms of COVID-19, disposable gloves and face coverings have also been provided. Good hand hygiene should be practiced after removing any element of PPE.
Employees are being told to stay away from family members but there have been large 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 who are displaying symptoms should also not be attending work. Where it is not possible to maintain physical distancing of 2m whilst delivering essential services, the Scottish Government guidance allows for this distance to be reduced to 1m following a risk assessment.
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 in our employee section. Employees should continue to check this.
What toilet facilities can we use when everywhere is closed?
Toilet facilities are available at Grangemouth Depot, Roughmute and Kinneil sites.
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 and in Waste Management the following are considered as priority and require to be provided to the community.
- Waste Collections (Residual), food waste and absorbent hygiene product collections
- Servicing of Litter Bins
- Mechanical sweeping
- Maintenance of Household Waste Recycling Centre and Material Recovery Facility
- Food waste transfer operations
- Environment enforcement
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 prioritizing essential services and in Waste Management the areas outlined above are considered as priority and require to be provided to the community. All necessary measures are being implemented to protect staff
Will staff be advised of 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.
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, they should be directed to the Council's website or call centre for full information.
The government are saying that symptoms take up to 1-2 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.
Are staggered start times and break times being looked at?
Staggered start times could be looked at. It is considered that there is sufficient space in the depot and there is signage throughout advocating physical distancing.
Some employees are starting and going home with work clothes on. Should they be advised to change before going home?
This is only necessary where you are working within a hospital/care setting. Also, operating Driver plus 1 means that there may be less need to start from home.