Social Distancing and Working in Fixed Teams
Government advice states the following:
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 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).
Working in Fixed Teams
For example a vet plus nurse/groom/student.
Where social distancing is impossible to maintain or guarantee, then working in small fixed teams (eg a vet / nurse or groom combination) could be considered. This also has the advantage of significantly reducing the risks of veterinary surgeons attempting to work with horses on their own (without a horse handler).
This may be helpful in situations where you need assistance but know that you will be unable to maintain 2 metres social distancing, eg for horse holding, trotting up, flexion tests, pre-purchase examinations, intravenous injections, etc.
A fixed two person team can be considered as a single epidemiological unit, so in the event of one or other of the team members developing Covid-19, only one other person will have been potentially exposed, and the other person can be asked to self-isolate / get tested.
When travelling to yards, teams should ideally travel in separate vehicles, however if this is not practical, travelling in the same vehicle is possible if precautions are observed, see our practical advice on travelling.
Fixed teams should also be utilised in hospitals where managing cases will frequently require several team members working closely together.