A responsible return to the workplace, helping people work safely

As many sectors are returning to work, having procedures in place to ensure that it is safe to do so is a top priority, to protect staff and customers.

Practical actions for ‘Working safely during coronavirus’, have been outlined by government and are continuing to be updated as part of a ‘roadmap to recovery’. Cafes, bars, restaurants, guest houses, and hairdressers, for instance, are starting to reopen this month, provided they can meet COVID-19 safety guidelines.

Steps that need to be followed include social distancing, heightened cleaning and hygiene procedures, use of personal protective equipment (PPE), and enhanced procedures for handling of laundry.  Safe waste management and recycling practices, including more provision of facilities to do so, and frequent collection, are also necessary.

By building upon established industry standards and following sector specific guidance, businesses across all markets can ensure they are doing everything possible to protect people. Clear instructions should be given to staff and the public on how to follow these measures.

Clinical Waste Sacks and Bags

Plastic is continuing to play an important role in protecting people and industries. We offer a comprehensive range of products to help people work safely and to prompt responsible waste disposable and recycling behaviour. This includes PPE, including face masks, aprons, disposable gloves, and water-soluble strip laundry bags, to temporary plastic sheeting (TPS)  made from recycled polythene, and use of refuse sacks, recycling bags and bin liners. It’s worth considering additional bins and liners for the safe collection and disposal of PPE items, to avoid littering and minimise infection risk.

Unfortunately, this demand for protective essential items has led to some companies offering inferior products that have no guarantee of meeting industry safety standards. Businesses should ensure they are purchasing products which meet European Standards (EN), International Organization for Standardization (ISO), and carry CE markings where appropriate, to ensure they meet the highest reliability, quality, sustainability, and safety standards. Everyone is now selling face masks, which may or may not be medical grade, as indicated by the CE mark and meeting European quality standard EN 14683, which specifies requirements and test methods for medical face masks for bacterial filtration.

In the UK, the Cleaning and Hygiene Suppliers Association (CHSA) Accreditation schemes for cotton mops, soft tissue, and plastic refuse sacks ensures they are fit for purpose and that the dimensions and count of products are as indicated on the label i.e. ‘what’s on the box is what’s in the box’. Many of our products hold the CHSA Rating as standard. As well as the CHSA quality standards, buying through CHSA distributors is your guarantee you are getting what you paid for, and quality products.

Clinical waste compliance

You may have noticed that this month, we are giving a special sector focus on our social media sites to clinical waste. The effectiveness and safety of products and procedures is essential in any sector, but particularly vital in healthcare settings. Department of Health and Social Care best practice must be followed, including guidance for management and disposal of healthcare waste. For example, any bin liner used in a healthcare setting – whether for hazardous, sanitary, or general waste – should have been independently tested, or follow recognised standards.

Tiger Stripe Clinical Waste Sack

Clinical waste sacks should be fit for purpose to meet a performance specification, with high tear resistance. The correct colour coded bag should be used for safe and legally compliant management and disposal of clinical waste, for instance:

  • Yellow bags for infectious waste which must be sent for incineration
  • Orange bags for infectious waste which can be sent for alternative treatment to render it safe prior to disposal
  • Tiger bags for offensive waste that does not pose an infection risk which may be sent for energy recovery.

For advice and assistance on clinical waste handling and disposal, help at hand from the CIWM, experts in waste management, and The Sanitary Medical Disposal Services Association (SMDSA), which, through its members, promotes best practice in the handling, collection, treatment and disposal of healthcare and hygiene waste material.

To keep working safely during the coronavirus crisis, each sector must continue to follow government guidance, communicate adapted procedures, and draw support from its relevant industry bodies which champion best practice.

Don’t forget you can subscribe to our newsletter or visit us on LinkedIn or Twitter for regular updates on how to work safely. We now also have a dedicated Twitter page for our sister company, Cromwell Plastics Recycling.

In addition you may find our new Cromwell literature bank useful, where you can download a range of our company information sheets, as well as find a wide range of topics related to the recycling and waste management industry.