Companies get behind Covid testing in the workplace

Ashley Skelly, production director at Herrco Cosmetics in Halesworth with a Yes 2 Test sign

Ashley Skelly, production director at Herrco Cosmetics which has signed up to the Suffolk Resilience Forum's Yes 2 Test campaign - Credit: Suffolk County Council

Thousands of Suffolk employers are backing a bid to get their workers tested regularly for coronavirus, according to organisers of a new workplace testing campaign in the county.

Yes 2 Test was launched by the Suffolk Resilience Forum to encourage companies to commit to whole-staff lateral flow testing. The tests can take place either in workplaces or by encouraging staff to sign up for home testing kits.

Among firms already signed up are Southwold brewers Adnams, Woodbridge-based garden centre chain Notcutts, packaging firm Berry Global’s Beccles site and Halesworth-based Herrco Cosmetics.

Herrco says it has carried out more than 4,000 staff tests since its testing programme began in January. All 188 staff at the bespoke beauty and personal care products company are tested on site twice a week as are agency staff and all contractors who visit the site.

Since January, its testing regime has found three positive cases in staff members. These had no symptoms and had no idea they carried the virus. They were sent home immediately and asked to self-isolate for 10 days.

Herrco production boss Ashley Skelly said the company had received “very positive feedback” about its testing programme.

“Our staff feel reassured that they are working with colleagues knowing they have had a negative test result,” he said. “This gives them confidence to attend work knowing we have minimised risk and that the company has taken steps to keep people safe at work. Employees feel that the organisation cares about its staff, and all staff are happy to take the test.

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“Due to frequent testing, alongside additional measures, we have been able to continue operating our manufacturing business – this would not have been possible without having implemented our very successful on-site testing programme.”

Business owners can register at www.gov.uk for workplace testing for all staff, or sign up for Workplace Collect which enables staff to collect rapid test kits from work and take them home to carry out twice weekly tests. Home testing kits can be ordered online or collected from community testing sites, pharmacies and PCR testing sites at designated times.

Suffolk County Council’s mobile community teams are available to support workplaces with setting up testing on site. The teams also run Test & Collect engagement days at workplaces to help familiarise staff with how to test at home, report their tests and provide an initial supply of kits for staff to take home prior to delivery of the Government’s Workplace Collect orders. For information or to book a team email suffolkc19testing@suffolk.gov.uk

Suffolk business owners and managing directors are invited to sign-up to become ambassadors of Yes 2 Test and share their experiences of implementing whole-site testing or incorporating regular testing into their job requirements. For information about workplace testing in Suffolk visit here

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