In this weeks Leading the Way blog, we share why Bristow & Sutor promotes regular COVID-19 testing and share how our Enforcement Agents (EAs) have made lateral flow tests part of their normal routine.
Lateral flow tests (LFTs) help to find cases in people who may have no symptoms but may still have been exposed to coronavirus. They can be obtained free of charge via the government and come in a batch of 7, arriving within a couple of days of being ordered. The test involves taking a sample from the tonsils and nose using a swab, with results available in just 30 minutes.
Whilst there is no legal requirement or evidence to suggest these tests must be taken for EAs to carry out their duties effectively, Bristow & Sutor recently decided to include these measures as an appropriate next step in the ongoing evolution of our safe working procedures. We have constantly updated our methods for interacting with the public throughout the pandemic and continue to do so as recovery efforts progress. Recent developments have made it unclear whether the full lifting of national restrictions will proceed in June as previously planned, but regardless of this, we are remaining committed to our proactive and preventative safety measures at all times.
The impact on employees
The availability of free LFTs and the minimal disruption this causes to employees, who are now all well versed in socially distanced enforcement methods, was a key factor in our decision to encourage twice-weekly tests amongst our directly-employed EAs.
All customer-facing members of staff have been trained on the use of PPE and must pass an industry approved course before being allowed to conduct visits. Bristow & Sutor EAs possess masks, gloves, hand sanitisers, antibacterial wipes and bin bags as standard. They also undertake additional cleaning measures before and after each visit, including scenarios such as clamping a vehicle, which now requires the additional step of applying disinfectant spray. Preparing PPE before starting work has become part of everyday working procedure and introducing LFTs is simply a continuation of this safety-first mindset.
Dean Allen is a Bristow & Sutor EA Team Leader who has added lateral flow testing to his weekly routine and says this can only be a positive thing, “I was pleased to hear Bristow & Sutor were encouraging EAs to test themselves twice per week as this seems like a responsible thing to do” he said. “It is reassuring for me to get a negative result before doing my job and means I go to work with confidence, knowing I am not putting myself or anyone else at potential risk. The measures we had in place with social distancing and PPE were already comprehensive, but you can never be too careful, especially at a time when we are hoping the country is returning to a sense of normality.”
Beyond LFT commitments
Our ongoing encouragement of regular testing is the latest in a long line of safety processes Bristow & Sutor has committed to. In addition to the industry-wide Enforcement Agent PPE training introduced last year, which remains required before any EA is allowed to undertake visits, all of our First Aiders within the business have had COVID-19 specific training, teaching them how to treat a casualty during the pandemic, the safe use and disposal of PPE, and the clean-up operation after dealing with a suspected coronavirus case.
Earlier this year, Bristow & Sutor were successfully awarded NQA COVID Secure Verification, which is a recognised and renowned global certification and independent assessment stating that our coronavirus safety and security measures are both appropriate and secure. For this verification to be granted, a thorough audit of our Safe Working Procedures and Risk Assessments for visits was required, along with a detailed look at our PPE/hygiene standards and on-site site compliance. We also successfully passed an HSE spot check.
We hope that continuing to go above and beyond with our safety measures, such as continuing to utilise lateral flow tests, will provide further assurance to employees in our offices, EAs on the road, debtors and clients. Bristow & Sutor remains fully committed to its ethos of being Cool, Calm and Collected.