The Department for Environment Food and Rural Affairs thanks all growers for being food heroes and contributing to feeding the nation during the coronavirus crisis. In doing this work it’s important that you protect yourself and others you work with.
"Your continued work in these challenging times is hugely important. It is equally important that we all do our bit to keep ourselves and others safe. To help you with this, we have issued updated guidelines for people who work in or run outdoor working environments. This guidance is to help employers, employees and the self-employed in the UK understand how to work safely during the COVID-19 pandemic."
It is important that 2 metres social distancing is maintained wherever possible, or 1 metre plus precautions including while arriving at and departing from work, while in work, and when travelling between sites.
Where the social distancing guidelines cannot be followed in full in relation to a particular activity, businesses should consider whether that activity needs to continue for the business to operate, and, if so, take all the mitigating actions possible to reduce the risk of transmission between their staff.
Mitigating actions include:
· further increasing the frequency of hand washing and surface cleaning
· keeping the activity time involved as short as possible
· using screens or barriers to separate people from each other
· using back-to-back or side-to-side working (rather than face-to-face) whenever possible
· reducing the number of people each person has contact with by using ‘fixed teams or partnering’ (so each person works with only a few others)
To aid the briefing of new workers coming to England to pick fruit and vegetables on farms, the guidance on border arrangements for seasonal agricultural workers is also available on GOV.UK in Polish, Romanian, Bulgarian, Ukrainian, Russian and Belarusian.
Finally, we would like to inform you that the new NHS Test and Trace service was launched in England last month. Anyone with a new, continuous cough, a high temperature or a change in their sense of smell or taste should immediately report these symptoms and book a test at nhs.uk/coronavirus or by calling 119. Anyone who tests positive for coronavirus will be contacted by NHS Test and Trace and given clear information explaining what they must do. Visit GOV.UK for more information on NHS Test and Trace.
Visit GOV.UK to read the specific guidance for construction and other outdoor work. In addition, the following organisations have published detail on how you might carry out government guidance in specific environments:
· the Foods Standards Agency – for the agricultural sector overall
· the Agriculture and Horticulture Development Board – for agricultural workers on fruit
and vegetable farms;
· the Livestock Auctioneers’ Association Limited – for those undertaking activity linked to livestock markets; and
· the National Association of Agricultural Contractors – for shearers, wool handlers and farmers..