All businesses are coming to grips with what COVID-19 means for them and how they are required to respond. The focus is on keeping the community safe. The strongest weapon we have to do that is not a mask, it is diligent hygiene and cleaning protocols. In the retail fuel industry this is especially important. As a nexus for customers, with multiple “high-touch” points delivering a community sensitive and critical service, we need to have a clear focus on managing the potential risks to our staff and the community. This special HR Highlight will focus on the extra steps required to address these high touch points and provide resources and guidance on communicating protocols to customers and staff.
COVID-19 in the Workplace
ACAPMA has explored the business implications of COVID-19 in the HR Highlight: Managing COVID-19 Risk in the Workplace here https://acapmag.com.au/2020/03/hr-highlight-managing-covid19-risk-in-the-workplace/. This practical review of the virus and its implications on management of staff, as well as a practical focused Q & A on staff management is a live resource that is being updated daily in the face of the rapidly changing situation. It is a great place to start to learn about the requirements and approaches to management of staff in this crisis.
COVID-19 in Retail
This HR Highlight is a more narrowly focused look at the special protocols that should be implemented now in retail businesses and how these should be communicated to customers and staff.
Hygiene, Cleaning and Communicating
It remains true that the best defence against the spread of COVID-19 is good hygiene (regular hand washing with soap, avoiding touching face and coughing and sneezing into tissues/elbow). It is also true however, that the virus can live in the moisture droplets from coughs and sneezes on surfaces for potentially days, so it is imperative that surfaces that are touched regularly, particularly by multiple people, are cleaned and sanitized more frequently in the present situation.
Fuel Retail Businesses should consider regular (for example hourly) cleaning and disinfecting of high touch areas such as;
- Fuel nozzles and handles
- Fridge door handles
- Coffee machine buttons
- Beverage dispenser buttons
- Self serve tongs/spoons
- Bathroom door handles, buttons and taps
- Customer hand wash sinks and towel dispensers
This regular cleaning and sanitising should be recorded in the sites cleaning record or site diary.
Fuel Retail Businesses should also provide sanitiser, or access to handwashing facilities for customers to use after filling up.
ACAPMA has produced resources to assist retail fuel businesses in communicating these requirements to staff and to customers and links to the staff and customer poster resources are included below.
As covered here; https://acapmag.com.au/2020/03/hr-highlight-managing-covid19-risk-in-the-workplace/, there is a growing expectation from staff that they will be allowed to wear masks at work. It is ACAPMAs clear advice that any staff who wish to wear masks should be allowed to, and that if there is a concern that mask wearing will “spook” customers, that communication to the customers is key to addressing this. The included poster resources below include both a Masks, and a No Masks option to be used as appropriate.
It is suggested that the staff poster resource be placed on the notice board and communicated to all staff, through the Site Diary or similar, and that task lists be modified to account for the additional cleaning tasks.
It is suggested that the customer poster resource (Mask or No Mask as appropriate) is placed on the bowsers, and at the counter for customers information.
Aggression, abuse and violence from customers is not on – it is unacceptable and un-Australian. See; https://acapmag.com.au/2020/04/aggression-is-not-on-managing-customer-aggression-onsite/ for more on how to handle this disappointing situation, including posters.
Practical Q & A
Question: What if I cant get a supply of hand sanitiser for customers to use?
Answer: You should consider how best to allow for customers washing their hands after filling up and then contact email@example.com and we will provide you with a modified version of the posters.
Question: Would a driveway attendant be useful?
Answer: Many sites are exploring tasking a staff member to do the pumping of fuel. This is a service that customers may appreciate, but there are considerations that need to be made, including processing of payment and the increased safety risk. These are manageable items and ACAPMA is happy to explore the implications with you contact firstname.lastname@example.org
Question: I have staff returning from overseas, what should I do?
Answer: This was the subject of a detailed article that is being updated daily see – https://acapmag.com.au/2020/03/hr-highlight-managing-covid19-risk-in-the-workplace/
Question: My staff want to wear masks and want me to provide them but I cannot buy any, stocks are out everywhere?
Answer: This is an unfortunate issues at the moment. The reality is that you can not produce masks that are not available. It is important to note that masks are a big part of making people feel better, but the proper hand washing, surface cleaning and hygiene (not touching face and coughing and sneezing safely) are the strongest weapons we have in the battle against disease. It is worthwhile reaching out to email@example.com and letting us know how many staff you have and your previous efforts at sourcing mask stock as this is a widespread issue and ACAPMA is working on a coordinated industry solution.
This is part of a larger and ongoing conversation, if you have practical concerns and questions, please email firstname.lastname@example.org and we will endeavour to address your questions directly, but also anonymously here, so that as an industry we can take some of the confusion out of the situation.
This is an evolving situation. ACAPMA reminds Members to keep up to date with the information, to reach out with any questions, and to try to avoid falling into the toilet paper hording mindset!
Posters for STAFF
POSTERS for CUSTOMERS
Elisha Radwanowski BCom (HRM&IR)
Executive Manager for Employment and Training