FAQs on Covid-19 Risk Assessments for your food business

Food businesses and risk assessments

Following writing my first blog on putting together a  risk assessment to help catering businesses to re open safely after Covid-19 business closures https://www.foodsafetylogic.co.uk/covid-19-risk-assessment-for-catering-businesses-explained/. I have been working with food businesses to help them get Covid 19 ready and would like to share some of what I have learnt along the way:

  •  food businesses want to get it right and make sure staff and customers are safe
  • some food business owners haven’t re opened their businesses as they don’t feel they have everything in place to keep staff and customers safe
  •  most food business owners have downloaded the government guidance but would like some extra help and learn from what other businesses are doing

Covid 19 Risk Assessment FAQs

Here are some FAQs which may could help food businesses to get Covid 19 secure and put their risk assessment together:

Can I check the temperature of customers entering my premises?

Yes, you can put in place what rules you see fit in your business, like temperature checks, and turn customers away if they don’t meet your criteria.  (BUT note that temperature checking could have limited value as anybody could be carrying the virus and people who are symptomatic will not necessarily have a high temperature)

What temperature should I wash restaurant linen at?

Restaurant linen should be washed at 60 degrees Centigrade or above to kill the virus,  and a clean cloth or napkin used each time.

Should my staff be wearing gloves when preparing or serving food?

It is best practice that staff wash their hands more frequently than usual rather than wearing gloves which can easily be contaminated.

Are face visors a good alternative to face coverings if  customer facing employees want to wear one?

Face visors are easier to put on and clean, they cover the eyes and are considered to be more comfortable. Also it is easier to understand what staff are saying so some food businesses are using visors as opposed to face coverings.

How can I keep my staff safe in a small kitchen?

Only have the number of staff in the kitchen who can socially distance at 1m+ if working back to back or 2m if facing each other. But if staff are members are of one household or bubble  social distancing will not be required. Also staff could work at a specific work station and avoid crossing paths with other team members.

How can I make toilet areas safe?

Put in place a queueing system using signage or decals on the floor and have staff in place to supervise queues or access to the toilet area. Clean the toilet area more often including toilet door handles, flush handles, taps etc. Put up signage to encourage customers to wash their hands for 20 seconds.

What chemicals should I be using to clean my food premises?

For Front of House areas a normal household disinfectant with a bleach base (+1000pmm available chlorine). A cleaner with +70% alcohol will also kill the virus . Food safe chemicals which comply with BSEN1276/13697 should be used to clean food areas and BS14476 viricidal cleaners can be used to clean any area and will effectively kill the virus.

Can I do a Sunday lunch Carvery?

Carvery’s can still be served BUT a member of staff should serve the food onto the customers plate to avoid contamination of service equipment. Ensure social distancing and queueing at 2m where possible is in place.  If possible a barrier screen put at the carvery service area or ask customers to step back from the counter and not to linger to help keep staff safe.

What does 1m+ mitigation actually mean?

1m+mitigation means customers/staff are at least 1m apart BUT other control measures must be in place. For example  back to back/side to side working for staff or seating for customers, screens/barriers in place for example where customers pay.

How can I comply with  NHS Track and Trace?

Record the date, time of arrival and departure and the name and phone number of the lead member of the party (or individuals) and number of  people in the group.

This information must be kept in for 21 days in a secure place and then destroyed. If you are taking online bookings then the majority of this information will already be recorded for Track and Trace purposes. https://www.gov.uk/guidance/maintaining-records-of-staff-customers-and-visitors-to-support-nhs-test-and-trace

Every day there are new questions asked about how food businesses can keep their staff and customers safe during Covid-19 and I will share more answers with you in my future blogs.

Free Risk Assessment Download

If you are struggling with putting your risk assessment together sign up and download my risk assessment template with sample Covid 19 controls https://mailchi.mp/9a6f452be75c/covid-19-risk-assessment

 

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