Can You Join In With Rapid Workplace Testing?

A Lateral flow test

8 February saw the announcement of a new government drive to increase workplace testing in sectors open during lockdown, to detect coronavirus in people who are not showing symptoms.

Government departments have also been tasked with ensuring targeted, rapid testing is set up in all key workplaces to ensure vital public and economic services can continue

Most smaller installation firms will not be eligible as the current criteria for joining the workplace testing programme for businesses with more than 50 employees - but the government is committed to making workplace testing a normal expectation.

Currently there are only 112 UK organisations across almost 500 sites that are doing government backed rapid testing. The extension down to small and medium size companies comes under the 'Build Back Better' - construction sites and trades are seen as key sectors as is manufacturing.


Get involved

More than 2.5 million tests have been distributed across the public and private sectors so far. An online portal has been launched to make it even easier for business in the private sector to get involved and find out more about offering rapid testing in the workplace.

All those who can work from home should continue to do so.


No symptoms

Around one in three people who have coronavirus have no symptoms and may be unknowingly spreading the virus. This expansion of testing will find more positive cases, keeping workers who cannot work from home unknowingly passing on the virus and protecting vital public services.

Health Secretary Matt Hancock said: “To save lives and protect the NHS, we have again asked for everyone to work from home. But we know that for some this is not possible, which is why the workplace rapid testing programme is so important.

“Employers should regularly test their staff. This drive across government to raise awareness and encourage more businesses to introduce rapid testing for employees is incredibly important. When you consider that around one in three people have the virus without symptoms and could potentially infect people without even knowing it, it becomes clear why focusing testing on those without symptoms is so essential.


 “I strongly urge businesses and employees across the country to take up this offer of rapid testing to help stop this virus spreading further.”

– Matt Hancock 

Health Secretary, Member of Parliament


Reopen the economy

Business Secretary Kwasi Kwarteng said: “We want to be able to reopen the economy and recover our way of life as soon as it is safe to do so, and large-scale workplace testing will complement our work in getting the British people vaccinated.”


Lateral flow tests

Lateral flow testing kits (which is what is on offer) detect cases with high levels of virus, making them effective in finding infectious individuals who are not showing any symptoms and are the most likely to transmit the disease.

NHS Test & Trace will support organisations to deliver scalable asymptomatic testing through provision of a digital solution, clinical protocol, supply of tests kits, guidance, training and framework for delivery.

Tests are currently being provided free to both public and private sector employers until at least 31 March.

Picture: A Lateral flow test.

Article written by Cathryn Ellis
10th February 2021


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