Covid-19 is undoubtedly affecting everybody across the world. With the majority of industries choosing to self-isolate and implement remote working strategies, there are certain workers that are unable to do so. Waste collection workers are incredibly important, and supporting them through a time that is uncertain is imperative. Every day, waste collection workers are interacting with high levels of bacteria, and exposing themselves to potentially contracting the virus. Waste collection workers may have families, relatives or friends that they are interacting with on a daily basis, which further risks exposing them. 

As this challenge is impacting many of our clients, we wanted to provide some advice for waste collection workers personally, as well as what companies can be doing to keep them as safe as possible during this time.

 

For waste collection workers:

  • Sanitisation is key: You’ve probably been told a thousand times before, but make sure that you thoroughly wash your hands, wear protective gloves, and keep your workwear away from family/friends you may be living with! Where possible, put your workwear in a plastic bag if you are unable to wash it, or wash it as regularly as possible on a high heat to kill any bacteria on it.
  • Look after your immune system: Make sure you are eating plenty of fresh fruit, vegetables and ensure you don’t get too cold as we approach winter. Drinking plenty of water and hot drinks (such as herbal tea) are natural immune boosters and will keep you hydrated and healthy.
  • Monitor your health: Every morning and night check your temperature and monitor how you are feeling. Even if you feel the slightest bit unlike yourself, inform your employer and those you are living with immediately and follow government advice online for seeking medical help. 

 

For companies:

  • Provide your workers with the correct clothing and protective masks: Ensure that your employees are completely protected and that they have medical grade masks and overalls so they are having as little skin to skin contact with waste as possible. Hand sanitiser should be provided as it is essential that your employees are clean, as well as providing gloves.
  • Introduce a rota: With more and more people self-isolating, the amount of public waste will have reduced, which means that you will not need a full workforce every time. Reducing your workforce will mean social distancing will be easier – even on the job. 
  • If they are at risk, do not put them at risk: If one of your employees is in a household with someone who is at high risk, or is at high risk themselves – it’s time to have a conversation about what you can put in place as an employer for them. It could be paid leave, or reduced hours with minimum social contact as well.
  • Get your workers regularly tested: To stop the spread, and ensure that you are putting your workers health at the forefront of your organization, get your workers tested for the virus. This is a necessary expense that will ensure that your business can run smoothly, as well as keeping everybody safe.

 

Staying as safe and as clean as possible during this pandemic is crucial, and we have to look after our key workers to make sure that they can still do their jobs in the safest way possible. 

For more information on preparing and keeping safe at this time visit the Australian Government’s Department of Health website here.