Corporate Return to Work Strategy – Covid-19

Minimising and managing risks and potential future liability within the workplace

You are only as safe as your weakest link. Need to have strong system in place to detect, manage and prevent new cases.
It is also, as an employer, being able to demonstrate that you have taken all reasonable and sensible tests to protect the wellbeing of your employees. This needs to be clearly stated as a company policy and what actions you’re going to take.
This is all about risk reduction and risk minimisation, recognising that it is impossible to drive this down to zero. You have a duty to promote and protect the wellbeing of your employees attending work whilst also minimizing spread of the Covid-19 virus amongst the workforce.
This will require proactive identification of those who have been infected or those with potential to be infected and tracing contacts within the workplace. Rigorous and frequent testing with isolation of those infected or potential to be infected will be key here.

Practical in situ steps:

Potential methods of testing to minimise risk in the workplace:

Up to now there has been huge publicity surrounding the governments testing strategy to determine if someone currently has a Covid-19 infection. We have helped to deal with some of this demand by providing access to a clinically supported PCR back to lab test. Our PCR COVID-19 analysis is in line with PHE and NHS protocols.
In addition, there has been a huge focus on ‘antibody tests’ that will demonstrate if an individual has mounted an immune response to SARS-CoV-2- a sign that they have been infected. These tests will play a big role in assessing the level of seroprevalence in the community (the proportion of the population who have antibodies), responses to vaccines and potentially as part of a return to work strategy. This information will be key in understanding your risks.

Anti-body Testing Options:

There are broadly two different ‘antibody tests’ using different detection methods:
1. lateral-flow assay
2. ELISA.
1. A lateral flow assay can be done as a simple, rapid diagnostic, point-of-care test. It can be self-administered, and results obtained within 15 minutes. They provide a binary outcomepositive or negative – with no quantitative information. These are predominantly unreliable as a test due to wide variance on their accuracy and are NOT recommended to be used by PHE or UK Gov

2. ELISA- (enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay) based test involves a blood test with laboratory analysis. It can provide accurate quantitative information. An ELISA-based test will be more sensitive than a lateral flow assay due to the longer incubation times that are possible with the former. These tests can be quantifiable to provide more informative data to assist in assessing the status of an individual.

a. This allows more time for the antibody and antigen to meet. The concentration of antibodies in plasma is likely to be higher than in whole blood allowing for more sensitive detection.
b. The analysis of both IgA and IgM antibodies can be carried out to determine the ‘stage’ of a person’s infection or antibody levels at that time. (Subject to clinical interpretation)

To find out more please contact our team via telephone +44 (0) 800 1513244 or email us enquiries@screen4.org