The safest way to test your employees for COVID-19
We now know that people who have COVID-19 are most infectious in the early stages of their illness. This means they can spread the virus to others before they’re even showing any symptoms themselves.
This — along with the risk of asymptomatic transmission — means that many employers need to test their employees on a regular basis.
Why should employees be tested for coronavirus?
Testing allows employers to find out if an employee has COVID-19 without realising it. If they do, that employee can quickly isolate and protect other members of staff.
Regular corporate testing can allow for the safe return to offices and minimise the number of employees having to isolate. It also helps employers do their bit in preventing the spread of COVID-19.
Employee testing is a voluntary undertaking. But one that can provide confidence and clarity for both employer and employee in these uncertain times.
If you’re thinking of arranging corporate testing for your workplace, read on to find out how it works and how to make the process as safe as possible for your staff.
How does employee testing work?
Most employers choose to partner with a private COVID testing clinic when arranging workforce tests.
Corporate testing providers, like Corona Test Centre, can test up to 750 of your employees in a single day.
Providers will often set up a testing room within your office. If there isn’t the space to allow this, some can offer a mobile testing van that will sit outside in your car park.
This means that whether you’re running an office, a care home or a construction site, there’s a testing option suited to your set-up.
Corporate testing providers offer a variety of different COVID tests and will be able to advise you on the best options for your staff. You can choose from:
These tests show whether a person was infected with COVID-19 at the time the sample was taken. They’re generally seen as the most reliable test available for finding current infections.
A PCR test involves a swab of the nose and throat. This sample is then sent away to a lab to be tested and results usually take 1-2 days to come back.
Antigen tests also tell you whether a person had COVID-19 at the time of testing. These tests involve just a swab of the nose.
This test is great for mass screening as results are typically returned the same day. But this test is less reliable than the PCR test meaning that positive results often need to be confirmed with a PCR test.
The safest way to test your employees for COVID-19
We’re all very conscious of the risks posed by COVID-19. And it’s really important that employees aren’t exposed to any greater risk as a result of testing.
Here’s what you can do to keep your teams safe while they get tested for COVID-19.
If you’re testing a large number of employees, you need to think carefully about how they are going to move to and from the test venue.
Give employees appointment times
Timing is key. You don’t want to end up with lots of people congregating in the same space while they wait for their test.
Liaise with your test provider to make sure you have a realistic and efficient appointment schedule.
Think about where testing will take place
Ventilation is crucial. Ideally the test venue should be well ventilated, with doors and windows that you can open.
There should also be a well-ventilated space outside the room, in case employees need to wait there before their test.
The room should be thoroughly cleaned in anticipation of the test day(s). Special attention should be paid to high touch surfaces like door handles and handrails.
Keep teams separate
Your employees will already be socially distanced in the office, so don't run the risk of unnecessary interaction when carrying out tests.
Arrange for everyone in a team to be tested at the same time. That way no one is coming into contact with anyone they don’t usually see during a working day.
Promote COVID-19 guidance
The run-up to test day is a good chance to remind employees of COVID-19 safety rules.
- They should wear a face mask to attend their test.
- They should regularly wash or sanitise their hands.
- Wherever possible, they should maintain a 2 metre distance from other team members.
Keep track of who has been tested
Some test results will take between 24 and 48 hours to arrive. So it's vital that you keep accurate records of which employees have been tested – and when.
In the case of a positive test result, this information will help you to establish who needs to self-isolate and for how long.
This is another reason why arranging appointments and sending employees for testing in their teams is useful.
When each team has a designated time or date to be tested, it’s easier to keep track of test results and the follow-up action required.
Consider how often to test your employees
Whilst testing employees regularly gives you the best guarantee that no one is bringing COVID-19 into the workplace, testing carries its own risks.
When deciding how often you want to test your employees you should consider:
- How prevalent the virus is amongst your employees.
- How COVID-safe your setting is. Is there a particular risk of transmission – because of poor ventilation or employees having to work closely with one another?
- The risk profile of your teams. Is anyone at risk of serious illness if they catch COVID-19?
- It’s the employer’s job to balance all of these priorities when deciding on how often to test their teams.
Bring in a reputable corporate test provider
Bringing in a reputable corporate COVID test provider will help you to achieve the necessary safety requirements. They’ll have experience of how to manage the logistics of corporate testing and will be able to offer lots of useful advice.
Any test provider you choose should meet all legal and regulatory requirements set out on this page of the government website.
Corona Test Centre offers workplace COVID-19 testing conducted by medical professionals. This ensures the most accurate results and the best safety practices too.
If an employee tests positive, act fast
Contact your employee
It’s your responsibility to inform an employee should they test positive for COVID-19.
Anyone who tests positive must immediately self-isolate for 10 days. All other members of their household also have to isolate for 14 days.
Contact at risk team members
Close contacts also have to isolate for 14 days. This might mean other members of your workforce have to be sent home from work right away.
All employers have a legal obligation to notify Public Health England (PHE) if someone within their workforce tests positive for COVID-19. PHE can then help you to develop an action plan if necessary.
Find out if your test provider will do this for you or if you need to know the procedure for yourself.
Don’t forget other measures
The government is strongly encouraging business owners to test their employees.
But they have stressed that employers still have to follow workplace COVID-19 guidance whether their employees test negative or positive.
It’s not a case of doing one or the other. In order to keep people safe, it’s important to take all necessary precautions and introduce regular COVID-19 testing too.
Contact Corona Test Centre today to find out more about our corporate testing procedure.