While life beyond lockdown is unpredictable, one thing that is inevitable is the production of Covid waste.
Prime Minister, Boris Johnson, is expected to address the nation on 22 February to detail the latest road map out of the UK’s third national lockdown.
The process is predicted to include three stages, from opening schools to non-essential retail, and finally, hospitality – all dependant on the R number.
With the UK hitting its vaccination targets, a small but bright ray of hope does shine as businesses across the nation prepare for the future.
While predictions in the era of coronavirus all offer high odds, one consideration businesses will need to make is how they will deal with Covid waste.
While many countries hailed testing as the conqueror in the fight against Covid-19, many have criticised the UK’s far from world-beating test and trace system.
Despite this, the government recently announced a drive to increase workplace testing to detect asymptomatic coronavirus cases in sectors open during lockdown.
The criteria for taking part in workplace testing was lowered to businesses with more than 50 employees, with the aim of normalising testing at work across both public and private sectors.
Health Secretary, Matt Hancock, stated those businesses that remain open should be testing staff regularly.
With around one in three Covid cases reported to be symptomless, it is expected that rapid testing within workplaces will become increasingly necessary to reopen and stay open.
Workplace testing is carried out through a lateral flow device (LFD), a practical test that offers results within 30 minutes.
A similar technology to at-home pregnancy tests, LFD’s detect antigens present in those who are Covid-19 positive.
An employee will take a swab from their nose and throat, dip the swab into an extraction solution and drip this on to the LFD’s paper pad, producing the reaction that provides the result.
While taking the LFD tests and interpreting the results are fairly straightforward, there remains doubt and confusion over the correct, and safest, way to dispose of the waste they produce.
Businesses in England with more than 50 employees can register for workplace testing here.
Personal Protective Equipment
Another, more familiar, workplace necessity is Personal Protective Equipment (PPE).
Part of our everyday routine, PPE will again become integral to the reopening and continuation of business, especially those in close contact services.
Currently, government guidelines specify face coverings must be worn by staff in retail, leisure and hospitality, as well as in any indoor area where workers are likely to come into contact with the public.
For those in close contact services, practitioners are required by law to wear both a clear visor or goggles and a face mask.
What’s more, the government delivers an exhaustive list of indoor settings where the public are also required to wear face coverings, such as theatres, premises providing personal care and beauty treatments, and hotels.
It is likely that upon reopening, rules surrounding face coverings in hospitality settings will mirror those introduced in September 2020, where customers were required to wear a mask when entering, leaving or walking around pubs, cafes, bars and restaurants.
This means that, not only do businesses have to consider the correct disposal of staff PPE, but often their customer’s too.
How to deal with Covid waste
While lockdown will be eased and life will begin to resume, Covid measures will likely remain in place throughout the year, and perhaps beyond.
Planning a Covid safe workplace will be integral to businesses survival, whatever the size or sector.
With little guidance available on the safe disposal of both lateral flow tests and PPE, CheaperWaste are here to take the worry out of Covid waste.
CheaperWaste have extensive experience handling hazardous, clinical and offensive waste, and are equipped and ready to safely dispose of Covid waste, from lateral flow test kits to personal protective equipment.