WHAT'S NEW - First Option launches e-tool to help navigate the complexities of workplace COVID-19 testing

First Option launches e-tool to help navigate the complexities of workplace COVID-19 testing

Figures suggest the latest Omicron wave is only now starting to slowly subside. To give an idea of the scale of the wave, the 6 months from October 2021 to February 2022 saw more than double the proportion of the population infected when compared with the 20 months between April 2020 and October 2021.

So how is this affecting productions? 

We’re already seeing the impact of this on productions and with the Production Restart Scheme closing to new applicants in a few days we all need to take care. Omicron is very good at finding people to infect, vaccinated or not.

We’ve surveyed over 100 productions (both clients and others) to see what the temperature is out there. 

Worryingly, 9% of productions said they were using testing to relax other mitigations such as masking, ventilation and distancing. Testing can’t do that – it only tells you what’s already happened. Given the fitness of Omicron and the decision to lift compulsory restrictions, it’s expected Omicron will infect everyone susceptible in the UK so masking etc is even more important now. 

We also found 71% of productions are bringing testing in-house rather than using ‘end-to-end’ testing providers. This can be a legal and operational minefield and we’ve developed a free e-tool to help you navigate it. 

We also found:

  • 29% of productions are using testing as an additional safeguard to complement physical measures;
  • 45% are using testing to enable close or intimate work (about half of those are on the PRS);
  • 16% are using testing as a return to work screen. 

On that last point, remember that now that workplaces can use a risk-based approach to managing COVID, if you’re testing people to come back to work then a positive test isn’t necessarily a showstopper depending on the circumstances and what your risk assessment says. 

If you are considering your testing options we’ve developed a free e-tool where you answer a few questions and it gives you your options. It will even send you a report with lots of additional information and advice.